You asked a profound question - how do I feel joy...I agree with elisha, every person's experience of what joy is like is personal. I, too, have high expectations of myself (and others) and when they are not met, I see my joy flying out the window. but I've had lots of therapy, and I learned something that I thought was profound - so after years of therapy, anti-depressants galore, tons of self-help books, Dr. Phil AND Dr. Laura...and now currently dealing with my duaghter in therapy....this is what I DO know...
Joy is a decision, happiness is a decision, love is a decision. The only person you have control over is YOU and though I will NEVER negate any kind of chemical imbalance (they ARE REAL)...beyond that, you get to choose...
My daughter came home from school yesterday and she was depressed, and bored, said she didn't feel like doing anything, she didn't want to watch tv, no music, no chores or helping out with dinner...nothing, she was depressed and bored and that was that...school let out early yesterday, so about oh, maybe 5 hours later, I have my two sons in my room - wanting to know what was wrong with their sister, she was crabby, yelling, whining, complaining, telling them all she has no life...on and on it goes...she comes up to see me because I ask for her...she's bored, right? Help me fold the sheets? NO...and I had to chuckle. She just started therapy (I have a thread about her and our dealings), she and her therapist haven't' gotten into the deeper issues yet and she's 12 and waiting another week might as well be a year for all she feels...and I told her, Diana (her therapist) doesn't have the answers for you, and she isn't going to tell ME what to do to make YOU feel bettter, YOU have to figure that out for yourself. For everything that happens, you get to take a moment and decide how this is going to affect the next moment (forget the rest of the day,we go moment by moment in this house), and you get to do it a million times a day if that's what it takes.
So I would say, Vallie, is that you choose joy, you try and act joyful (look it up in the dictionary, no kidding) and slowly work your way into it. It takes time. I lost my joy before Christmas, and for as much as I love Jesus (and I DO) I could not find my joy. I got to my therapists office for our last appt, he was going after another job, and I told him all that had sucked the life out of my holidays and that you can't buy joy so now I have returns and no joy.
Well, he told me pretty much what I just wrote, and I was a bit insensed with the look it up in the dictionary thing (I mean, how dare he?).
but what I realized after it really hit me that I was never going to sit in his office again because it was closed, and I cried my heart out, is that I have worked hard for 6 years, I put everything I had into getting passed this depression and though I still relapse, that's what life is. Some people have better coping skills than others, they grew up differently or are wired differently and they can deal better than others,but everything we can experience is called living, and in living, we feel, and we get to choose what we feel and in how it is going to affect us.
Now, just for the record, I by no means want to put the 6 years of hard work I did into these little sentences, but in truth, it comes down to this. WE CHOOSE Sometimes it is going to be easier than others, but we still get to choose
and I don't mean to oversimplify either, because I know what it feels like to lose your joy - but I also know that profound feeling when you recognize that you have got THAT much power over yourself.
I hope I am making sense without sounding like a know it all, I'm not, I lost my joy more than once, I've been on many different meds through the years, and so much stuff that there were very dark days/weeks/months... but this is what I know NOW and maybe hearing /reading what I experienced might help you...might give you a direction in some books to read, something different to talk about with a therapist (if you have one, I would highly recommend it) and even with your meds (if you are on them, again, highly recommend, they got me through the dark days).
I hope this helps a little bit...
"Even though I'm walking through the valley of the shadow - I will hold tight to the Hand of Him who's love will see me through... And when all hope is gone and I've been wounded in the battle...He is all the strength that I will ever need, He will carry me..."
dx lupus, FMS - 2004
sjogrens - 2005
RLS, Anxiety, Migraines, Allergies, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, IBS
meds - Plaquenil, Zelnorm, Klonopin, Seroquel, Zomig, Ultram, Zyrtec, Flexeril