“Number one is the loneliest number you will ever do” - Harry Nillson, legendary singer/songwriter
By Gabriela Roflikova
Gabriela Roflikova lives in Ottawa. She shares eight principles she has discovered that have made her life a better, more enjoyable experience.
“It all starts with believing… anything is possible” - Gabriela Roflikova
I discovered 8 factors that changed my life for the better in an unexpected way. So, while “number one is the loneliest” in the classic words of Harry Nillson and Three Dog Night in 1969, to me, number eight is the happiest.
Tomorrow I might cross the street, a car might hit me and, I might die. Today, I am alive. That’s an enormous reason for me to be happy each and every day even when I am going through hard times.
I have encountered many challenges in my life, people have hurt me emotionally and physically, I have sunk into deep depressions, changing jobs frequently, staying alone at home for months, hiding from everyone, in tears, until one day ….
I said to myself “I don’t want to live like this anymore”. I have two choices: 1) suicide or 2) live. Here I am, so I chose to live and, more than that, to search for a solution on how to make my life better.
For me, this search paid off. And I want to share what I learned with anyone who reads this essay. 8 factors saved my life and made me happier.
1) Gratitude: I am grateful. I live a very simple life, don’t make much money, but every day I say, “thank you” to the universe even for the smallest things I can have.
Since I started showing gratitude, I now experience countless little miracles. A lot of my health problems have disappeared, I find answers to my problems.
2) Faith: I believe that anything is possible. Even after a cloudy, rainy, or stormy day, sunshine always comes again. Life’s trouble spots are temporary. Every challenge is a new journey I can learn and grow from.
A doctor told me I would never be able to get pregnant but I believed I could.
A miracle happened. My daughter was born. But born deaf.
I believed there must be a way for her to hear. We put her through
surgery to receive a cochlear implant. Now she hears and speaks like we do.
3) Intuition: This is my best and most trustworthy friend. By listening to my gut feeling I generally make the right decision. For example, I desperately needed a job and I found one, Then, I had peculiar feelings about taking it. So I didn’t. A few days later, I saw an ad in the paper for a job posting, and I went in for an interview and happily worked there for years.
4) Astrology: I’ve learned the most important parts of astrology throughout the past 15 years, which have helped me in my every day life. Through astrology, I have leaned to avoid unnecessary stress in my life. I have discovered that certain days are better for me then others. Astrology is a very useful and helpful guide for me.
5) Positivity: Positivity is an important part of maintaining happiness. I see the good in everything and everyone. I believe that everything happens for a reason and it will always turn out to be positive in the end.
6) Courage: Aside from things out of your control, how you live is in your hands. If I am not treated well, I now find the courage to speak up and stand up for myself in a polite yet determined way. Moving to Canada with my 3-year-old daughter scared me because I didn’t speak English and everything would be new for me; but I found the courage to go anyway. I felt that I needed to go. Today, I am happy I moved to Canada especially because my daughter can hear and speak now. This isn’t something that could have been possible for her if we stayed in the Czech Republic.
7) Balance and Moderation: It’s important to create balance in your every day life. By making time for everything and everyone who is important to me, including myself, I prevent and avoid many problems.
I live one day at a time, go with the flow, but at the same time I make subtle plans for the future. If I am discontent with my work, I quit or work fewer hours and find another part time job that will decrease tension in my life.
Too much tension will eventually create problems in your life. Extremes of any kind are detrimental. Moderation is the answer.
8) Acceptance: Accept who you are and how you look, because everyone is unique and special in some way. Accept what you can’t change, yet accept that you have the ability to make positive changes for yourself and others.
Accept your mistakes, learn form them, and move on. We can’t change the past, but we can create a better future. Accept that no one is perfect and we all still have so much to learn.
Accept the pain you feel, cry long and hard if you need to – take the sorrow out of your body, but after that re-emerge and start fresh – go look for happiness, don’t give up, it’s there waiting for you!
Make the right choices so that you don’t have to live with the consequences.
Don’t hate or blame others for what they did to you because they are still in
the learning process and justice finds us all – so never wish for revenge.
Make the effort and inner peace and happiness will find you.
By Cindy Morneault
My name is Cindy and I live in Montreal, Quebec. I am a spiritual care professional and am currently working with seniors in the community. I am a definite extrovert and love to laugh and enjoy the company of good friends.
I am a 54-year-old woman who has lived with depression since I was a young girl. I was lucky enough to find a good psychiatrist, Allan Fielding, who has been treating me since 1996. I am pleased to say that at this point in my life my disease is well controlled and I live a very active fulfilling life.
Along the way I worked in a public institution for 17 years, five of those as a manager, and was periodically absent from work due to my depression. Depressions is a combination of many factors - biological, psychological, social, spiritual and environmental. With the help of medication, good therapy and a supportive network, I have arrived at the place I am today.
I know that I have dealt with depression since a young age but was unaware of it until I got married and suffered side effects from birth control. Subsequently, I began to cycle in and out of depressions until it was officially diagnosed when I was 36. At that time, Dr. Fielding helped me understand that what was happening to me. And it was not all my fault.
Until then, I truly believed that my depression was a major character flaw and if I was only a stronger person I could overcome it. Dr. Fielding explained to me that the brain is the most complicated organ in the body and that it continues to form into our late teens or early twenties…..only then is all of the wiring of this awesome organ complete.
Just imagine all of the misconnections that could possibly happen given our individual circumstances, traumas, diets, and so on. This knowledge was power for me and I learned to take my meds as routinely as a diabetic in need of insulin. But meds can’t do it all. I had to look at the beliefs I had grown up with; beliefs about myself and the world around me.
With the help of a good therapist I entered a journey of self-discovery towards unconditional self-acceptance. I no long try to be the best at anything but rather strive to be ‘good enough’. I have always been a very responsible person and still am, however I now know that I am only responsible for what I do and how I contribute. I am not responsible for everything.
I have learned to recognize when a situation, person, idea or event is toxic for me and how to distance myself. These changes have not come easily but as a result of much pain and grief. As mentioned, I am blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful community of friends and colleagues and truly take one day at a time.
And I have learned a lot about taking my medication. Once when I felt really well – I would never be depressed again - I weaned off the meds gradually, only to be disappointed when I literally crashed 6 weeks later. It took me two years to regain my stability and I finally learned the lesson that this disease has a biological as well as a psychological component.
I won’t try that again.
I used to be embarrassed that this was my affliction but I’ve learned that the embarrassment is a result of misunderstanding and misconceptions within our society. I now share my story when I can in the hopes of helping even one more person to find their way through the long dark tunnel until they find their light.
For those of you who are over fifty, you may remember the old child’s song, “There’s a hole in my Bucket”. I’ve come to believe that this song was the author’s way to try and describe the feeling of depression. I still hope and pray that I will never have to experience a depressive episode again but after every episode I learn more and more about the condition and myself.
And I know this. Time is a great healer. And sometime I just have to ride it out. My heart goes out to all of you who suffer with any form of depression. All I can say is hang in there and believe me when I say…..there IS a light at the end of your tunnel.