Why we can't experience joy

I get up in the morning.  Feed the dog.  Feed the bird.  Go to work.  I force myself to do things: have dinner with friends.  See a movie.  I am not happy. I'm walking through life like I'm in a trance.
Reading the post on DS, I see other people going through various stages of what I'm experiencing.  Some are months out, some are years out.  None of us are experiencing joy.  Why is that? I wondered.    Is joy so elusive that once your spouse is gone you're doomed to go the rest of your life in sadness?  Is there no end to this?
I refuse to accept this.   I refuse to accept that every second of my life will be spent feeling this  way.  I've know alot of us feel this way because we keep asking older members how it will feel when we reach their month.  We're always hopeful that they will tell us that we'll feel better.  But then we hear from people who are years out and they're still suffering.  They're not experiencing joy and the question for me became why?  Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the reason we're not experiencing joy is because we don't know it.  In other words, at some point in this journey, joy comes back and we ignore it.  Because joy for us is defined as having our spouse back.  So insert the name of your spouse when you think of the word joy. 
Over the past months, I keep asking myself when will I be happy again.  When will my life reach this "new normal" people are talking about?   Well, I think I know the answer.  Unless I change my definition of joy, I will never be happy again.  I'll be doomed to just walk through life.  And at the end of it, I'll have regrets.  Big ones.  So the only way I can experience joy is to take charge of my life.  I've got to stop just walking through the days and weeks to come and actually do something to change my definition of joy. 
I've come to the conclusion that one of my problems is that I expect the "new normal" to define itself.  I expect it to just happen.  Actually, it's the reverse.  I've got to define it.  I've got to decide who this new person is.  And I've got to define what joy is.  It's no longer my husband. And it's not going to define itself on it's own.  As long as I define joy as my husband, then I doomed to sadness.  
So it's a task for me because it requires me to be an active participant in life, not the passive one I have been since this horrible thing happens. 
 
 
 

Replies

deleted_user
deleted_user

Great goal and very insightful conclusion.

I experience joy. I have my moments of joy or happiness or fun or laughter when things trigger it. It\'s my default mood that has been dialed down that is changed - instead of being basically content most of the time as I always was, I\'m basically several degrees gloomier than that. But the world still offers its moments and I can still feel joy during some of them.

I\'m thinking that this site compels us to focus on our loss and our feelings about it. I\'ve come to realize that there\'s a whole lot more to me and to my life than the loss of my husband, although that\'s by far the biggest emotional and psychological thing that I\'m dealing with right now that eclipses everything else. But there are other things, too, that I am trying hard to gather together and help lead me into my new life, one which I never wanted, am not yet ready for, but have no choice but to move into.
deleted_user
deleted_user

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deleted_user
deleted_user

Very intuitive and intuitive posting. I had wondered about the total lack of joy in my life. Hope you can find a meaningful \"new normal\". It would give some hope to all of us. I am so afraid misery is what I have come to accept as my life now. I really hope there is another path.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Your post really hit home with me. Since Rob passed I feel like the walking dead. Sometimes I even feel invisibile. I can come to realize that I will not be able to be happy right now or ever if I continue to act as though my life will be the same except that Rob is not here. No that can\'t be my new normal because I will be nothing like I was with Rob, my world has changed, my obligations, the way I spent my time, every detail of my lilfe. I cant just keep walking that same path acting as if. I know it won\'t be too soon but I think it will require reinventing myself. Doing other things, living a little different. Maybe therapy will help, 2nd. visit tomorrow. Great post, you sound like you got your head on straight even if it\'s only the thought at this point, it is there. Hug, Donna
deleted_user
deleted_user

Joy does come back, albeit a little at a time. It depends I guess what your definition of joy is? I see joy in the first robin of the spring season, I see joy in a baby\'s face looking at their first ice cream cone. Seeing joy and experiencing it is of course 2 different things. After a year, I can find joy in the simplest things and I know that I am going towards real joy in my life. Hang in there, it will come back to you. Cindy xxoo
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hi
Thanks for the joy education. The funny part today at work one of the patient keep repeating the word Joy. I now I read you entry on joy. My life has not had much joy since Al has past I dont know when the joy will come back but it s good word to think about
Malia
deleted_user
deleted_user

Food for thought........am trying...........wonder how much sand is required to make a beautiful pearl.............I got the sand part right....lol
Lorita
deleted_user
deleted_user

I think your post is very insightful and I agree with everything you have written. I think if and when joy ever reenters my life it too will be different. Not the \"wind in your hair\" \"take my breath away\" joy and happiness I felt with Jim but a different more subdued version. I don\'t think I will enjoy it as much........