Awhile ago I decided it was time to go off a med that was prescribed shortly after my overdose and brain injury. After all, I reasoned, the only way to know if I still needed it was to dial the dose down and see how I did. So, I dropped my dose weekly until I couldn’t drop it any more. To my amazement, the lower the dose, the more the world filled with living color. I felt alive again instead of horribly dulled. Feelings of joy and silly happiness filled my heart. Additionally, my opinions became stronger and more focused than they had any other time during the past 4 years. It was an incredible experience to say the least. After learning how to live with my brain injury and the limitations it has caused me, it felt like I was being given a reprieve from my sometimes still painful life sentence of living differently than I would choose.
Interestingly enough, my family was experiencing the impact of my med change much differently than me. Instead of joy and happiness, they experienced an overbearing, intense and, at times aggressive version of me. The flood of feelings that made me feel alive weren’t nearly as measured as I thought and, very unintentionally, were hurting those I love the most.
Being Happy is of the Highest Value Right?
As Phillip and the kids began to give me feedback I felt very disconnected with what they were saying. I didn’t see things like they did. What they described felt foreign and out of whack with my new-found joy. Gently and consistently though, each shared how my newly regained emotional pliability was negatively impacting them. As they did, I couldn’t help but remember my very wise doctor who told me right after I was overdosed that I would be very wise to listen to those who love me. Why? Because my brain no longer works like it once did which causes me to misinterpret or even miscommunicate when things fall out of sync and out of balance.
I knew I needed to hear my families concerns and weigh each with depth and seriousness. Still, as I did, I must admit that there was a place deep inside of me that constantly said if you go back on the medication, you will never experience happiness like this again.
Now, in a world that constantly tells us to just do what makes us happy, the sacrifice of some happiness for the benefit of others (even family) seems rather upside down doesn’t it? That is such a sad thought if you take a moment to really think about it. After all, being happy is of the highest value right? Or is it?
The truth is while happiness is certainly something we all want it cannot and should not usurp the happiness and well-being of those around us. We must have servants hearts and mindset. We must be thinking of what brings others joy as well as ourselves. After listening to my family it was clear that the right choice was choosing their happiness and well-being. This was a situation where doing what made me happy was utterly wrong and harmful to everyone around me. So I called my doctor and asked for a new prescription. That night I took my first pill. The next morning a lot of the vibrant happiness diminished and by that evening I knew I was forever closing the chapter of my life in living color.
Now, it would be easy to that this post is a pity party. Not even close. Though I have grieved the loss of a more passionate life, I have found God’s gentle peace in watching my family thrive again. I’ve found a quiet joy in the simplicity of my injured brain being balanced. I’ve found hope knowing my kids feel safe, and assured. I’ve found rest in knowing that my sacrifice has produced good fruit in my family. Most of all, I am confident that through this experience my children have developed a depth of understanding that life is not always about the quest for happiness — but life is rather about choosing how to love well and sacrifice when needed for the benefit of those that surround you.
This silly brain of mine needs a lot of help. It makes me utterly weak. I have discovered however that by “…believing much more in His love than my weaknesses…(Mother Teresa)” the door for me to find peace and experience his love only grows. There is no place emotionally than here that I would rather be.