Happiness. It’s not for everyone.
We all wish we could be truly happy.
But for many of us, we only pretend to be.
Put on the happy face long enough and maybe you’ll feel happy inside? (Doesn’t work.)
Don’t worry. Be happy. (Not so much).
Happiness is not a choice for those of us with chronic illnesses.
Because of the illness (or perhaps the medications taken for it), our chemical brain messengers, known as neurotransmitters, may become deficient.
We need certain ‘ingredients’ (amino, acids, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, etc.) to make these neurotransmitters and if they are not available, we can end up feeling very flat or sometimes very tense or both.
Sometimes the mechanisms that transport those ingredients to our brain become impaired too.
When this happens, there is little chance of feeling happy. In these cases, you cannot “will” yourself to feel good.
The Emotional Back Burner
When our bodies are fighting illness, processes that the body deems less important are put on the back burner.
It’s an inherent survival technique.
When you are being chased by a tiger, your body shuts down digestion and ramps up your heart rate.
The same thing occurs when we are fighting a disease, our body’s efforts are focused on survival not on controlling our emotions.
As well, fatigue is a common symptom of most chronic illness. It’s mighty hard to feel happy and exuberant when you are exhausted all the time.
Many People Don’t Even Know they are Sick
That’s right, they don’t EVEN KNOW THEY ARE SICK.
They feel lousy, depressed, nervous, apathetic or anxious. Never suspecting that there might be something wrong physiologically causing those feelings.
The number of people with undiagnosed autoimmune diseases, for example, is astounding.
Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune thyroid illness, is commonly misdiagnosed as just a thyroid condition, not an autoimmune disease, and therefore not treated properly. Depression or anxiety are frequent symptoms of Hashimoto’s.
These types of sicknesses baffle healthcare practitioners regularly.
In many cases, practitioners don’t know what is causing their patient’s symptoms. To complicate things, symptoms of these types of chronic diseases may be different from one person to the next.
Pain may be the predominant symptom for a patient with Lyme whereas ‘air hunger’ is the symptom for another.
Doctors resort to treating the symptoms rather than the disease.
As well they should help their patients by easing their suffering.
Sadly, the diagnostic tools available today for these types of illnesses are not always reliable, but they are improving.
Tests for Lyme disease are a case in point.
The test that the Centers for Disease Control recommends for the detection of Lyme, the Western Blot test, gives false negative results many times.
Patients walk away thinking they don’t have the disease when all the signs and symptoms are there.
Thankfully, tests are improving daily for the detection of Lyme disease and many others.
When your Insides don’t Match your Outsides
If you, or someone you care about, feels like they have to put on a happy face for the outside world, it’s time to dig deep to find out why.
Anxiety and Depression are symptoms, not a diagnosis.
Don’t stop until you have an answer.
I can almost guarantee you will have to step outside of the conventional medical world to do it.
Look for an Integrative Medicine doctor or a Functional Medicine practitioner in your area. Do your homework to be sure that you thoroughly vet those healthcare resources before putting your health in their hands.
Educate yourself. Research your symptoms yourself.
Google can be a double-edged sword. It can help you find possible avenues to pursue, it can overwhelm and frustrate you, or it can scare you to death.
But Google is a starting point to find experts and information you can trust.
In the Meantime, here’s what you can do
While we all want a pill to make it go away, recovery from most of these types of chronic illnesses is slow, complex and can take many different paths.
I was grateful for the MRI that my neurologist ordered that showed that I didn’t have a brain tumor. I was grateful for the chiropractor who ordered a test for Mycotoxins with positive results for toxic mold. And the Doctor of Osteopathic medicine who ordered a provoked heavy metal test showing high levels of lead. And the countless other doctors and tests I took.
Lifestyle changes can make a big difference in your symptoms, your rate of recovery/disease management and especially in your emotional happiness.
Don’t let your lifestyle contribute to your disease.
If your body is focusing on fighting a disorder, it’s not wise to dump chemical toxins in it or on it.
I discussed what works for me in this article.
Here’s a recap of what you can do:
- Eat what’s good for your body. Heal your gut, heal your brain, says Dr. Amy Nett.
- Exercise (if you can). Even one hour per week can make a difference with depression.
- Get rid of the toxic stuff in your life. My site contains tons of recipes to DIY your own household cleaning, skincare and hair care products. And how to research ready-made products at ewg.org and order them from Thrive Market at a discount.
- Get some sunlight.
- Balance vitamin and mineral deficiencies. You can take a lab test to assess your micronutrient levels.
- Do an amino acid trial to find what works for you. Discover which amino acids help balance your emotions and the proper dosage for you.
I know it is truly overwhelming to think about making all those types of changes in your life.
You don’t have to do it all at once. Work on one aspect at a time. Pick the easiest to start with.
It will take determination and grit to make lasting lifestyle changes. That can be especially difficult when you are already feeling crummy.
Enlist the help and support of family and friends and certainly your healthcare practitioner.
Happiness is not a choice? You can choose to find out what is underlying your negative emotions.
If you need help, reach out to us. Mind Blowing Wellness is here to help you get to the root of your moods.
If you would like more great tips for healthy living, sign up for my blog posts to be sent to your email, just once per week.
Joli Tripp and Mind Blowing Wellness are not medical doctors nor licensed medical professionals. No comment or recommendation should be construed as being a medical diagnosis. If you suffer from a medical or pathological condition, you should consult an appropriate healthcare provider.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
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