I sat in my Psychiatrists office a few months ago giving an update about how my medications were impacting my symptoms and mood. She asked me I feel as happy as I did when I first began taking Pristiq.. that was a huge “HELL NO”. She explained that since I was so depleted, my brain compensating with the medication and I experienced somewhat of a euphoria. So naturally, me being me, I asked for this all the time. Like “C’mon, how can we make euphoria be an all the time thing?” After we both laughed she explained that it isn’t really a natural or normal feeling. What I am wanting can’t (and shouldn’t?!) be attained all the time. Obviously this was a bum for me because I have never felt more alive, more in love with life and had more clarity than in February 2018, when I began Pristiq.
I find interesting that I am not only trying to get rid of depression, anxiety, panic but I am also trying to feel elated. I don’t see why this isn’t talked about more by more of the mental health community. Feeling “normal” is how I feel now but I feel a little flat-lined. Of course, I feel less depressed, less anxious and more able to breathe without panic but..I want to feel amazing. Maybe what I am chasing is an unnatural feeling but these medications definitely leave me wanting more bliss.
I have since changed medication due to a big price increase with Pristiq. I now take Effexor XR. I do have insurance and I have tried changing pharmacies to get a cheaper price but it just is what it is! Psychiatric medication is expensive but obviously so worth it.
There are totally times that I have experienced euphoria and genuine happiness outside of effects of medication they are just few and far between. I talked about what happiness looks like to me on Instagram a few days ago:
“For me, it was when I slept over at Meg’s (scoutandscript) house and in the morning she asked me what type of coffee I wanted. Then she drug two chairs outside, wrapped us both up in two huge blankets and we chatted about the best engagement stories we could think of. No, we aren’t lesbians, though I’ve vaguely presented the idea to her. That day, all of my brain chemicals were on fire and in the best possible way. It’s moments like these that I wish happened everyday.”Follow me on Instagram!
My daughter’s laughter creates a similar feeling. When I look over at her and she is genuinely belly laughing, it brings me back to the first time I ever saw her laugh. Her laughter is everything to me. Knowing that I have built a happy, healthy and stable home that truly values humor in all things makes me completely content. The first time she laughed was when she was a few months old and I was picking her up from part time day care, she laughed so hard as the teacher handed her to me. I teared up then and I am tearing up now just thinking about it. I’m an emotional woman-flower but we…knew this.
Last weekend, I watched Brene Brown’s new Netflix special, Call to Courage, and she spoke about her daughter taking a mental photograph in times where she felt genuine happiness. For her, this was when her mother and her were in a boat in the middle of a lake. I found this deeply beautiful. After watching this, I decided to make a list of ways I can incorporate “euphoria” and semi-euphoric feelings and experiences into my everyday life. So here it goes..
Go the f*** outside
Sure, you’ve probably had loads of family and friends tell you that the cure to ALL of your mental health concerns is to just go outside more. I have heard it many times as well. Going outside is certainly not a cure but I do think cooping yourself up all day indoors does not contribute to healing. There is also sufficient evidence to suggest that a lack of Vitamin D can contribute to depression.
My faves benefits: being outside fights anxiety and depression, inflammation and fatigue! The sun also gives me freckles all over my face and body which I truly love.
Create genuine connection
To be quite honest, I am just fed the fuck up of relationships that are content with trivial conversation and the lack of genuine connection. If you cannot talk through emotions, express your feelings and work through problems we are definitely NOT a match for friendship or otherwise romantic pursuits. Genuine connection and the feeling of “being seen” is the type of shit that makes my brain chemicals race. I realize that friendships and relationships cannot be constant connection and there are periods of rest and lackluster moments but I think we should be striving to be seen and to see.
Creating genuine connections requires great vulnerability. Vulnerability is truly difficult when done correctly but it is worth it in what you gain. You cannot have genuine connection with your friendships or your romantic interests without being able to talk about the difficult and uncomfortable topics and taking risks.
Vulnerability looks like…
Saying “I really like you” first to a compatible partner
Setting expectations of what I want from a partner upfront
Having difficult conversations with my family about how they have hurt me
Admitting to myself where I have room for improvement within my life
Willingness to “go there” in therapy
Sex is a complicated subject for a lot of women but nonetheless, sex can be wonderful and beautiful but you must be willing to be vulnerable. Sometimes sex can be quite literally and figuratively messy, complicated and confusing which hinders the genuine connected-ness of it. Sex can be completely euphoric and you have to be willing to put the work in to make it this way. Have you ever asked yourself any of the questions below?
Are you having enough sex?
Are you doing it right?
Are you pleasuring yourself enough?
Is your partner enjoying themselves?
Is your partner making sure your needs are met?
Do you not want sex?
Do you want too much sex?
Are your body image issues preventing you from enjoying sex?
Are you uninterested due to medication?
Is your trauma preventing you from engaging fully?
I have at some point in my life asked myself all of these questions. I hope to get to a point in my life and in my own healing that sex is just..sex. I don’t want to think about past trauma, I don’t want to think that sex is all my partner wants from me, I want to get to a place where I am asking for a what I want all the time and it feels completely euphoric. Practice makes perfect 🙂
It isn’t surprising that humor is a top value for me. I love to laugh, I love to make people laugh and I love to find humor in experiences that aren’t typically associated with humor. To me, most everything can be funny. I find aspects of my own mental illness to be funny *shoulder shrug*. I for sure use self deprecating humor within therapy and my therapist points this out quite often.
While I think humor can be used in unhealthy ways, I think humor can be used as a place where you find genuine happiness. Humor is something that is hard to explain. It is hard to explain why you found something hilarious but I bet you could tell me of a time where you and a friend laughed at the exact same time at the same thing but couldn’t put your finger on WHY it was so funny.
I incorporate humor into my life by watching Stand Up on Netflix, by making my friends laugh, reading funny books and by writing about my own personal funny experiences. I encourage you to find humor in everyday life and laugh a little more, especially at yourself.
Attempting to incorporate more euphoria in my life is an ongoing mission. Now that I am aware of what I want it makes it much easier to chase. Happiness may look completely different for you. Your euphoric experiences might be the exact opposite of mine. Let me know what makes you feel euphoric in the comments!
Did I mention I’m writing a book? Eek! Check out my Instagram where I am updating all my followers on the blog to book process 🙂