Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Real Life Stories: Falisha

I tell myself, "I am in charge here, and I choose to be happy."

Hello, everyone and happy April, can you believe we're here already? I love this time of year, and am overjoyed that it's finally here. I am also very excited to share this week's Real Life Story with you.

The back story on this one:
Falisha has been a friend of mine since seventh grade. You know, since the awkward throes of hormonal angst. We went through junior high and high school together, we cheerleaded together our sophomore year of high school, and then moved to college together and shared a room. We have gone through all of the garbage of growing up together, and been there through our bad relationships, our mistakes, our triumphs, our weddings to good men, and having children (hers, I have none). She is always there no matter how much time passes between our last meeting. Even if I haven't seen her for a while, she'll still feed my cats and water my plants when I'm on vacation. She is an excellent mom, and has excellent kids. She is one of the best people I know and that's saying a lot because I have known her for almost twenty years!

I'm so excited you get to know part of her, too.

TJB: Hey girl! I'm so excited to interview you today. Let's get started with the questions, shall we? What does it mean to you to have joy? 
Falisha: To me, having joy means finding happiness in the things around me, and in the things I do each day. To me being joyful is an attitude, a perspective. 

TJB: So, with that being said, what things actually bring you joy? 
Falisha: There are so many things that bring me joy. My children, my faith, the beautiful things in nature, hobbies, and spending time with my husband. 

TJB: Describe in detail a time or event in your life where you dealt with a mountain that seemed impossible to climb. 
Falisha: After I had my third baby I experienced post-partum depression. It lasted for about two years. I knew I should be happy, I wanted to be happy, but I just did not feel happy. I felt tired, stressed, completely overwhelmed, and all alone. 

I lived this way month after month. I did not feel happy, so I was always subconsciously looking for reasons for my unhappy feelings to be justified. This took me into deeper depression. I realized I had a real problem when I laughed at something funny, and my daughters, aged 5 and 3, looked at me like something was wrong with me. When was the last time I had laughed out loud? I could not remember. In that moment I knew something had to change.

I love being a mom. During my growing up years, and into college, I always knew that any career I ever sought after would always take a back seat to motherhood. It has always been what I wanted to do with my life. So why was I not enjoying it? Why did I go to bed feeling like a failure every night? I felt a tremendous amount of guilt because I knew I should be happy, but I wasn’t. 

TJB: That sounds really difficult. I'm sure a lot of mothers can relate. How did you make it through? 
Falisha: Once I realized I had a real problem, I got the help I needed. I found energy therapy very effective in helping me deal with my depression. Each morning I woke up a few minutes before my kids so that I could have time to myself. During this time I prayed, meditated, or exercised. 

This was a problem that I could take care of. I dealt with it head on. I got the help I needed, and made a conscious decision. I was not going to live my life this way any longer. I wanted my children to see me laugh every day. So, I looked for things to laugh about. 

TJB: It sounds like you chose happiness as a way through it, but it also can be difficult to do that.   What things did you do to bring happiness into your depression? 
Falisha: Yes, I did choose happiness. It was my goal. I wanted to be happy in my role of being a mother, and to enjoy the precious moments that I have with my children while they are little. Each morning when I woke up I made a decision to be happy. On the days that were hard, I had to try extra hard to overcome my tendency to get frustrated and discouraged. 

TJB: What did you learn from all that? 
Falisha: I learned a lot! The most important things I learned is that it is okay to get help when you need it. Depression is a really hard thing to deal with. I learned to look at it for what it is. It is an illness. I also learned that I can be effective in dealing with my problems if I go about it in a positive way. Complaining and wallowing only make things worse. 

TJB: How do you choose joy now, if you do? 
Falisha: I make sure I do one thing I enjoy each day. I play the piano, or take some pictures, or go on a run, etc. I also make sure that I am not too busy to take a few minutes to play dolls, color, or read an extra story with my kids. 

Sometimes I feel depression creeping up on me again. I have learned to recognize it for what it is, and I choose not to let it take over. I tell myself "I am in charge here, and I choose to be happy."

TJB: I love that. That's such a positive mantra to include in our daily lives. "I am in charge here, and I choose to be happy." I think I'll start including that in my life. Thank you so much for sharing your Real Life Story with us! You are an incredible person, and I'm so grateful to say we've been friends for almost twenty years. 

I want to take a minute to address depression. While choosing joy to get through depression can help, if any of you (the readers of this blog) are struggling with it and can't seem to get a handle on it, make sure to seek out help. Therapists, psychiatrists, doctors, medicines can help you if you are really struggling. Sometimes it's more than a temporary issue, sometimes it's a life-long thing. Sometimes, even if it's temporary, it's more than you can handle. That's ok. That doesn't mean you are weak. It means you are strong and ready to fight for your happiness and health. Choosing joy will help you in the day to day struggles, but there is nothing, and I mean NOTHING wrong with you if you need extra help. I love that Falisha pointed that out in her story. She learned that it was ok to get help and not try to battle it on her own when it became more than she could handle. Sometimes choosing joy means being willing to admit you need another's helping hand. 

++ If you have any comments or questions for me or Falisha, please share them below. 

Join the conversation!

  1. I love the "I am in charge here" mantra. I know I try to teach my kids that they are in charge of how they emotionally react to things, and I am no different.

    1. So true, it's such a good way to go through life. So many people think that control just isn't something you have over how you feel, and sometimes you can't completely fix it, but you are in charge for the most part.

  2. I really like this series! My pregnancy was actually pretty depressing for me, I lost a friend to suicide (which I know was because of depression) and felt miserable the whole time. Luckily with the birth of my first child came more joy than I could have imagined! I also had a leg up by getting my placenta encapsulated. It helped so much when I started to get the blues and I wish more mommies knew how much it helps!

    1. Ok, I read about the placenta encapsulation, and I'm so curious! Was it gross? Because I didn't even know you could do that!

  3. I love reading these posts! It takes a lot to share about struggles. PPD is rough. I've never been pregnant so I haven't dealt with it, but I do deal with anxiety and depression in my early day life. It really is about making the choice to be happy and find joy. There's nothing wrong with getting help! Sometimes that's the first step to really choosing joy. I know it has been for me.

    1. I couldn't agree more. I've suffered from anxiety off and on, and depression and it never looked up until I got a therapist.

  4. What a lovely interview.. very inspirational, thanks for sharing

  5. This is an inspiring story. It sounds like the battle was long, but worth it. I'm so happy Felisha found joy and way to move through depression, so she could be an even better mother than before. It is inspiring to all mothers and human beings, because we all have moments where we feel alone and depressed. Thanks for sharing this amazing conversation.

  6. This was very inspirational! :)

  7. I struggle so badly with choosing joy. But I love the idea of doing one thing each day that makes me happy! Even if it's small, I have to be selfish at least once per day ;)
    xo, Caitlin
    And Possibly Dinosaurs


Thanks for stopping by The Joy Blog! I hope you like what you have seen so far. Feel free to share your thoughts or questions in the comments. I try to respond to almost every single comment.

Latest Instagrams

© THE JOY BLOG. Design by FCD.