I’ve been less than my best self the last few months. Frequently I’ve been told my name – my given name that is – Joy – is appropriate for the energy I put into the world. There has been less joy and more sadness in this Joy than in many years. And then … then I realized something more was going on. 

I’ve never been shy about writing about mental health. I’m published in a book about my struggles with Postpartum Depression. I started writing for public consumption in the middle of dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Mental health awareness is important to me. Being open about mental health makes many uncomfortable. I choose to operate from the perspective of if one person who needs to hear
“you’re not alone” reads this and feels even the smallest twinge of peace, it’s worth any pushback I get.  

A few weeks ago I recognized that my reactions and emotions were a tad – well – more than a tad – out of my norm. Consistently and intensely outside of how I typically react, even when stressed. This behavior had been occurring every day for weeks. I know myself well enough to accept that I do react, I wear my heart on my sleeve and my emotions on my face. I also know how and when to grab those emotions and display or outwardly experience them at acceptable times. And when to keep them to myself as is appropriate for an adult. 
 
I wasn’t being myself. 

So I called my doctor. I’m working with someone. I hope to find my smile sooner than later and am already doing better than I was. Dealing with chronic headaches and migraines makes me more sensitive to the stressors in my life and environment. Perfume makes me cringe but lately has sent me into full-blown migraine status. I live in my sunglasses inside and out because it makes my head hurt just a little less some days.

Today I hope to spread a little cheer. I’m feeling hopeful and a bit more like myself. I know brighter days are coming. In this season of busy and crazy schedules, hectic evenings with kids needing to be in different places at the same time, and prepping for/recovering from holiday plans – just remember to breath. 

Take a step back if you need to. See the bigger pictures.

And spread a little cheer. It’ll go a long ways. 

If you need help, seek it. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24/7. Call 1-800-273-8255 to speak with someone.