03 Mar Z is for € Zooming into the future with sparkling bright eyes
NB: the following is an extract from a great new book I'm very happy to support and recommend
The Happiness Quest by Lana Penrose
Z is for … Zooming into the future with sparkling bright eyes
After going through a divorce and moving countries three times, Lana Penrose returned to Australia and was diagnosed with major depression. She chose to fight for her happiness, star-rating her experiences along the way.
When I arrived home, I took a reflective stroll along the coast as the sea put on a spectacular display below. In the fading light, intense teal waves, half a kilometre in length, crashed upon the rocks and sprayed crystal beads high into the air, creating an unforgettable symphony.
Out of curiosity, I tried luring my mind towards the place that it had once been so accustomed to visiting – the back alley of my brain cluttered with tattoo parlours, red flashing lights, sirens, broken glass and cigarette butts. But here’s the interesting thing. Although my descent into misery had once come so naturally, I seemed unable to enter the spiral.
A friend had once told me that when he first went on antidepressants, he’d attempted to indulge the usual mental torture that had been so familiar to him too, but had discovered that he could no longer access it. It seemed similar to what I was experiencing now, only I was drug-free.
And as I watched waves collapse on the shore, I gained even greater insight into my life. I saw that I had entered this world to know myself and free my soul of unnecessary pain. I was not here to carry that pain around for the rest of my life and parade it around like a weeping battle wound. My job was to learn from all that had befallen me and pass that knowledge on before shedding this mortal coil. My job was to be the best I could be and contribute that energy to the collective conscious.
As sea spray misted the air, I reflected on the pressure placed upon people who didn’t feel right to get over it and get on with it, when it seemed so much wiser to allow them space to purge the offending feelings by doing whatever was necessary to set them free. For me, well, I felt exorcised and exhilarated because I’d been crazy enough to put myself in a position to do just that.
And now that my mind was clearer, I saw that my life was awesome. It had been all along, only I’d been wearing blinders and carrying around too much hurt. A dirty black dog had often eclipsed the sun and rag-dolled me half to death, but now that I’d manoeuvred myself into a better position, I felt like I could punch it in the snout and laugh at its clumsy retreat. Stupid depression!
I broke into a trot, my bare feet splashing the sea’s edge. While the world continued equating happiness to a big house, a fierce car, piles of cash and looking hot courtesy of fake hair, teeth, tan, boobs, nose, lips, eyelashes and fur, I began doubting the integrity of such ideas more than ever.
I’d once lived in opulence, in Greece, in fact, but could I really boast that it had made me any happier when I was fervently researching the craft of noose making? Happiness would forever and always be generated internally. I now knew that to be fact Life now felt like a game. I imagined choosing this incarnation as an adventurer from another realm. My handicaps were chosen from the start – I would be an extremely sensitive, emotional being who had to overcome a few obstacles in order to recognise the vastness of my soul and reach out to others. Fellow participants suffered rougher rides – physical afflictions, impossible upbringings, torturous circumstances, heavy abuse. They were the true warriors. But the challenge for all of us seemed to be to overcome adversity, break free of difficult cycles and celebrate whatever victories arose.
… And as so many had realised before me, I finally understood something truly significant. My life hadn’t changed, thus affecting my happiness. I had. …
An extract from The Happiness Quest: A depression survivor’s journey from misery to joy by Lana Penrose (Finch Publishing). This book is available in paperback and ebook nationwide. Lana Penrose is a four-times published, bestselling author, counsellor, beyondblue speaker and Lifeline crisis support volunteer. See Lana's website HERE for further details.