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Who am I and why can't I be happy ?

(31 Posts)
Blethermouse Sat 23-Jul-11 20:58:46

Hello all.
I don't feel depressed or mentally ill and don't think my GP would be of any help with feels just like I am a little lost.
I have three children, growing up fast. I saw some small children at the beach today and realised I won't be having any more. Although I genuinely love small children, there is more to this than getting older and knowing I won't have any more babies.. It's as if having small children was something to hide behind and shielded me from not knowing who I really am.
Also colouring my mood are the sad losses I have suffered over time... deaths, miscarriages, disappointments in my marriage, children becoming seriously sick.
In short, the human condition and melancholy.. but how to progress and grow with this instead of feeling low or stuck with it.
I'd like to think everyone feels like this sometimes and hope some of you can just recognise what I mean so I can feel less alone.
Which books/ philosophy/ religious approach could offer some guidance ?

Blethermouse Sat 23-Jul-11 21:51:31


jasper Sat 23-Jul-11 22:06:40

wow. Great post. Wish I had some answers

Blethermouse Sat 23-Jul-11 22:30:29

thankyou too! Asking questions is the easy part.
When I feel like this I sometimes start to move on from it by planning to improve myself, my effect on the people i know and try to correct any injustices I see.
It doesn't always work but gives me hope.
They say courage is overcoming fear, rather than not having any fear..

jasper Sat 23-Jul-11 22:46:21

Interesting. I'm in my late 40s and have more or less always felt this way. ( I also have 3 primartyschool aged children)
But it gets worse as I get older/slower/less fit, and those around me age and even die.
I too do self improvement stuff , both physical and "spiritual"(not sure if that is the correct word)

I did find The Road less Travelled (M Scott Peck?) pretty resonant and reasonably uplifting, but that was a while back

EggyAllenPoe Sat 23-Jul-11 22:52:11

'the art of happiness' the Dalai Lama.

'the life of Pi' also.

and 'The little world of Don Camillo' not because it is philosophial, but because it is lovely. Giovanni Guareschi.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 23-Jul-11 23:11:21

Try Message From Forever by Marlo Morgan. You can probably pick up a used copy really cheaply on Amazon.

Blethermouse Sun 24-Jul-11 09:47:11

jasper my sense of who I am has got clearer with age in that I realise how unlike me most people are if that makes sense. I feel things very intensely, and when that is a loss [or imperfection] I experience a lot of discomfort with the yesterday. Maybe I can try to have the feelings and then move on.
Eggy have"The life of Pi" here somewhere unread will try it on your recommendation. "The Art of Happiness" will try to get thanks.
Dione Have not heard of that will try to find it thanks.

saythatagain Sun 24-Jul-11 09:53:40

I understand what you are saying and draw comparisons to myself...where you have mentioned intense feelings and feeling not like anyone else.
I find myself continually quizzing myself - why, why, why?
What is it about me that can't accept the here and now for what it is? Sorry, if I'm not getting you entirely - but I shall be watching this thread with interest.

Solo Sun 24-Jul-11 10:01:32

I feel the same way Blether and I find it crippling at times, especially when I feel lonely ~ which I try not to do these days. I think I just brush it off. I also talk to my Dad who passed away almost 2 years ago; he'd have understood me.
I'm late 40's and have 2 Dc's, one is almost a teen, the other about to start at reception...I always wanted to have 3 children, but I know I'm lucky that I have two...I know that I may not see my Grandchildren and that brings on sadness in my heart. I do try to see what I do have rather than what I didn't get, but it's very hard to do.
I have The Road Less Travelled, but haven't read it yet. It was suggested to me by someone on MN about 18 months ago I think...I must read it.
I will be watching your thread for any other good ideas smile

You definitely aren't alone Blether smile

Blethermouse Sun 24-Jul-11 12:33:29

saythat ..I'm glad you can relate it makes me feel more normal. I have to balance between finding the answer to the meaning of life and yet not dwelling on things or feeling stuck. I am happier when I gather my experience up and move forward with it rather than just thinking...and so not to let the thinking turn into overthinking. For me it helps to have objectives and plans, and one good thing about getting older is that I have more confidence in my judgement and am more likely to follow the life plan I feel is worthwhile... however unusual it is.
Solo you hit the nail on the head re feeling lonely...that is how I felt last night and is key to those episodes of sadness . It's hard to get a balance. Thanks for your input and am so glad am not the only one who feels like this. I wonder if the always wanting more children for me is to do with loneliness.
I'm glad I started this thread and value all of your ideas and insights, thanks

saythatagain Sun 24-Jul-11 13:28:20

Yes, loneliness. For me, I always feel on the outside and sometimes I quite like that but it would be a pleasant and interesting change to see if, what I would consider to be more 'on and, dare I say normal', is like. I wonder if life would be different? I know it boils down to character and personalities, of which we are born with and I also know that we all have the opportunity to change....well, most people could I suppose, but that alludes me! Darn my inability to stop thinking so much and, as you have mentioned op, the intensity and weirdness it brings with it!

Blethermouse Sun 24-Jul-11 14:08:32

We all have difficulties but people who are very confident or less worried about their effects on other people or less worried about pleasing others just go for it.
I want to increase my confidence without losing my ethos about how to improve things. or how to live my life.
So it becomes not about me, but what I want to do, not about what other people think more about, more about what I believe in.
Bit what do I want to do?
Right, mainly
Eradicate violence
Live with integrity & compassion
Find my voice
Stick up for anyone who can't stick up for themselves.

FML25 Mon 25-Jul-11 11:28:36

I suspect everyone comes with their own default cheerfulness setting; particular circumstances cause it to vary but then it goes back to the default setting. Changing the default setting would be like changing an extremely deeply ingrained habit: a tall order, tho not necessarily impossible.

It is possible to be happy in appalling, or fairly appalling circumstances: see Margaret Forster on her sister in law in Precious Lives.

One remedy for lack of confidence, from which I too suffer, is a real acceptance of the fact that one can never fully know what effect one is having, one just has to do one's utmost and not worry. Also the Zoroastrian- derived view that the world is always on a knife edge between constructiveness and destructiveness, and one must do one's bit for constructiveness no matter what one feels about it.

I also recommend the Alternatives to Violence Project, for everyone:

Blethermouse Mon 25-Jul-11 20:38:45

interesting perspective FML
I am naturally happy and was a very happy child and young person..very easy going, tho I like things to be perfect and find it hard to accept loss and very negative life events....although I get over them eventually they each leave a little scar on my sunny nature.

LaurieFairyCake Mon 25-Jul-11 20:49:48

Everyone needs :

1. A purpose (for themselves, NOT children) - voluntary work can be brilliant for self esteem and stuff in the local community can be seriously fulfilling

2. Boundaries - an ability to respect oneself and say no to others, to be able to keep others 'crap' outside them

3. A routine - mental distress creeps in when there is a lack of routine - that's why so many find holidays hard

4. Stimulation - intellectual, sexual, exercise

5. Curiosity - a desire to want to keep knowing, about people, themselves, the outer world

6. Intimacy - relationships - not necessarily a partner but friends family and most importantly a good relationship with self

For books id recommend a light one 'everything I've ever done that worked' by lesley garner and a deeper one 'way of being' by Carl Rovers.

almostgrownup Thu 28-Jul-11 23:44:32

The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. Loads of good things in this book about living in the present moment.

And I would add solitude to LaurieFC's list.

graceandbeauty Fri 29-Jul-11 16:22:01

Interesting thread. I can relate to it a lot.

I have just bought "The How of Happiness" by Sonja Lyubormisky. The results of her research claim that it's actually only 10% of our total happiness level which is affected by external circumstances (relationships, money, health etc). The book contains practical strategies which are supposed to improve our happiness level by up to 40%. I haven't read what they are yet!

MargotQuaker Fri 29-Jul-11 16:39:56

Micah wrote, What doth the LORD require of thee but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God? I "spin" this as "to shun bias and to prize kindness and to keep remembering how much I don't know". I interpret the world the whole time and the chances are I'm interpreting wrong hence the need to remember how much I don't know. [I'm the same person as FML25 by the way, just thought I shd choose a more explicit nickname.]

MargotQuaker Fri 29-Jul-11 16:40:53

Sorry, those strikethrough's should not be there, I did not know the effects of putting double dashes both sides.

worldgonecrazy Fri 29-Jul-11 16:47:25

You might find this book helpful A Quiet Mind

It is based around a Christian ethos, but in a perspective that is accesible to people who are of many different faiths and spiritualities.

barbet1904 Tue 02-Aug-11 09:47:28

Hi. I can sympathise with you as I was in the same position. I can only describe it as feeling something was missing from my life. I didn't know what else life had for me and was this all there was. Who am I!!!
I started going to church and became a member of the Methodist church last year. It has changed my life completely. Life is now about who I am.
I read the most fantastic book called Captivating by john &stasi Eldridge which takes us back through our hurts to our true self. To the heart we had before it got broken and beaten by years of hurt and neglect from other people. I fell in love with the book, the reasons, and most of all I realised god loved my and could easily fill that hole. My life has opened up and I can see where I am going, and the best bit, I am no longer angry, lonely or sad. Please consider giving it a look. It WILL change your life. Good luck and god bless

Blethermouse Mon 15-Aug-11 22:59:12

Interesting ..I have religious leanings but don't like the impersonal nature of C of E but find evangelical style too much. Was christened Presbyterian so methodism could be worth exploring.

lowercase Tue 16-Aug-11 00:50:45

when i feel like this, i try to get out of self...

think of someone i can help / worse off than me, and do something to aid them.

it never fails!

gettingeasier Wed 17-Aug-11 15:04:49

I felt like you around 4 years ago OP , I felt I had everything materially and emotionally so why was I unhappy ?

I sought help in hypnosis and psychotherapy and was so lucky to see someone who changed my life

It set me on a path of becoming a more spiritual person, being able to live in the moment and appreciate what I have rather than look for what I didnt have

It was a long journey requiring lots of input from me and some hard paths to walk but I am a different person , happy and at peace.

As an aside my h left me and our 2 dc 18 months ago and the way I have been able to help them through , handle all the practicalities and remain dignified and positive is entirely down to the "new" me

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