Confessions of an Obnoxious Optimist…

Obnoxious you say? Well, I confess that I added that descriptor just for you dear reader, though I have to admit that even I sometimes find me a bit hard to be around. I mean, really? Nobody is that happy or that positive all the time. 

True enough. I have my moments. We all do. And what we see is not always what is.

I do, in fact, hit the floor most mornings with a twinkle in my eye, a song in my heart and smile on my face. I have learned to temper my exuberance to preserve harmony in my home. But that bubbling joie de vivre is truly a gift I cherish. Always there energizing me like a certain “bunny” that keeps going, going, going…and going.

This, of course makes it all the more spectacular when I hit a wall. When the moments crash together and I find myself drowning in a sea of regrets, what if’s and why’s. I am usually good at wearing my “happy mask” for most of the world to see. But those closest to me…the loves of my life see my horrible melt-downs. It must be a terrifyingly sad sight. At least that’s what I imagine. I feel responsible somehow. After a lifetime of being everyone’s cheerleader, now cheerless and stunned, I typically try to find a rock to crawl under, or tuck myself away for hours of restless sleep. 

The truth is I really do believe that things will work out for the best. I am generally a positive, upbeat person who loves life and is exceedingly grateful for its blessings. My happy-faced, positive tendencies are not an act and generally do not take a lot of effort on my part to pull off. But the honest truth also is that my brain is slightly out of whack. My happy levels of serotonin and dopamine bottom out sometimes and the weepiness begins and the world comes crashing in. Chronic depression is no ride in the park, and so I rely on chemistry to maintain the status quo.

A confession then, as promised in the title.  Making my optimism all the more obnoxious. Is my eternally up-beat persona a big fat lie? Nope. I repeat…nope!

For that, my dears, is what the fearful “pick yourself up by your own bootstraps” crowd wants you to believe. The “mental illness is a character flaw weakness and not a true medical condition” mumblers and “pray it away” exhorters will escort you to your rock and hold it up for you to crawl under if you let them. Because misery loves company. This is the real lie and we need to change this for all who suffer. I prefer not to be in the company of the miserable. And neither should you.

Being that happy optimist for me is a choice. The glass is half empty AND half full in my world. Yes both! The fact that the glass exists at all is reason to celebrate.  Even if I need a little boost now and then to maintain that lovely chemical brain soup sloshing around in my head. There is and should be no shame in that. It keeps it real for me. It helps me be me. And it’s called taking care of myself and being healthy.  And the truth is I’m not always obnoxious. But optimistic? I wear that label happily!

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