Looney Tunes. Hands down my favorite cartoons ever. Without question. The antics never get old to me and it takes me back to a place where I felt good. This old place is based in my childhood, watching Saturday morning cartoons. No matter what other cartoons were on before, I was really there for when Bugs Bunny and all his friends and foes came on. Floating through my mind right now is the phrase uttered many times throughout the many episodes, “Did you ever have the feeling you was being watched?”. This was said after you see the eye balls in a picture following Bugs or you see eye balls peering out of the shadows watching Bugs try and sleep or whatever the scenario. Everything ends with Bugs figuring it out and then completely foiling every plan the thing watching him had. Epic.
Let’s spin the question a bit differently to fit our mental health journey we are on. “Do you ever have the feeling you are searching for something?”.
This is a question I have been thinking about and have thought about a lot. There are times where it feels like something is missing in my life. Something that feels like it is on the tip of my tongue or just out of my grasp. Just far enough away I can’t see what it is and it continues to elude me, but I know it’s there as I can feel it. It really gets into the nagging-feeling realm. I will do my best to explain this feeling and what I think it means.
What could it be? How does it tie into my mental health? Is there really even something out there eluding me or is it just my brain being up to its old tricks? Three solid questions in my book.
What could it be? Well, I am not sure. I do feel like it is something good. Something that could either change my life or give it a much needed boost. My guess is a lot of us, whether we are dealing with mental health issues or not, wrestle with this question. I think it is all part of getting older. Maybe recognizing our mortality and the fact we aren’t as invincible as we maybe once thought of ourselves. The one thing I keep going back to is the thing I’m searching for is some form of “bliss” or a happy feeling I once had and I don’t feel it like I used to.
Bliss to me ties into our experiences of everything in our lives. I think bliss ties into a childhood feeling we are all searching to get back to or experience again in some fashion. I’m getting older. No denying it. New experiences in life are still there, but there are fewer and fewer of them. Something may perceive itself as new, but I’ve experienced it in some fashion before so the “shine” isn’t quite there.
As I think more about it, I feel like the bliss I am searching for is a magical feeling of wow-this-is-really-cool type of feeling. This is the perfect place type of feeling. This magical feeling ties directly back to how we experience things for the first time as a child or how we experience repeated things through the simplistic mind of being a child. No responsibilities, just learning about life. I feel, at least for me, this type of feeling stretched even through high school. Again, very little responsibility.
The first time going to Disney World or any other time going as a child…there is magic in the air as you see this place through the eyes of a child. You see less of the crowds and all of the other annoying stuff and you are able to transport yourself into this magical world and take it all in in awe. It leaves a lasting imprint on your mind. You have a feeling you don’t want to lose and you want more of it. I remember going home and playing “Disney World”. Now this part of playing was focused around the trams and the monorails, as both of these things made a huge impression on me, but I could play at home remembering the experience, and travel right back to the magical blissful feeling I had while being there.
The first time seeing the ocean. A truly magical blissful feeling. Growing up in the midwest around cornfields led me to, when I saw the ocean for the first time, having a feeling that felt blissfully magical. The sound of the waves crashing on the beach. The appearance of the waves as they got closer to shore and began to curl over before crashing down into the water and then washing up onto the beach. The sound of the birds. The sand under my feet. Just an amazing feeling. Today I love the ocean, but I don’t get the same feeling I once did when I was a kid. The ocean is an impressive display of power that I respect and I am in awe of, but I don’t get the same feeling today as I did when I was a kid.
Playing the many sports we would play throughout the neighborhood with my friends. I really enjoyed this. Hitting the ball or making a basket was awesome when you were playing against and with friends. My imagination was good at transporting me into pretending I was in the MLB or the NBA. These moments, growing up with my friends, are some of my most favorite memories and they made me feel good. Again, it provided me with a sense of bliss.
Walking into Busch Stadium, to watch the St. Louis Cardinals play baseball, for the first time especially, but every time I walked into the stadium there was something about the sight of the field and the smells of the stadium. It all spoke of and felt magical and I would have a feeling of bliss.
Basically, all of these feelings and memories take me back to a place where I felt really good. I really enjoyed the magical feeling these different experiences and many others provided me with. As I get older, I have this craving to feel and experience life as I did as a child. I don’t necessarily want to go back to my childhood, but I want to experience life now with the same magical blissful feeling that I once did.
How does this tie back into our mental health? Well, I think we are craving being in a better place mentally than where we are at sometimes. I think, when we are locked into battle with our minds, we think and also overthink many aspects. We become consumed with wanting to feel better and sometimes we begin to search for something that is not there anymore. And this desire can take a toll on us. We begin to start searching for something we can never have again. At least, we cannot have it in the same form we once did. A great magical experience is awesome. The magic created when we experience something for the first time is a great feeling, but our minds are not in the same place as when we were kids. We then become consumed with trying to find this feeling no matter what. We try and find it even when we know the exact feeling isn’t there.
I know I have been consumed by it. Why should I feel so bad? Why can’t I feel exactly the opposite of the extreme I am feeling now.? Why can’t I shift these horrible self-eroding thoughts into the old magically blissful feeling I remember as a kid?
We can’t, but we become so consumed with feeling better that we go back to the form of better we remember most in our minds. For me, it’s the blissful feeling I had experiencing life as a kid. It is what I remember. When I am locked into the darkness of depression, I become blinded to the good things that have happened most recently in my life. They take a back seat, so the only thing I can remember is the feelings I had as a kid when it comes to feeling good. And I become consumed with trying to grasp this magical feeling I once had.
So I reach out and try and grasp something, anything. I reach out for something I have trouble seeing, but I reach out because of the feeling of something being there is so strong that I can’t think of doing anything else. I picture the feeling of this blissful magic and I want it, but I’m never going to be able to grab it because this level of experience is gone.
Maybe I should say this level of experience isn’t really gone, but it has changed. We experience things differently in life then we used to. We have experienced so much up to this point our new experiences take on a different feeling. It becomes hard to see when you are locked into the darkness of depression.
Happiness isn’t lost when we grow up. Happiness changes. Our experiences change. We change too, but it becomes hard to see when we are down in our holes. It is there though. We may feel lost, but happiness is there. A new feeling of bliss is there. We just have to have a better idea of what it is we are seeking.
Seeking the blissful feeling you once had as a child is not the idea anymore. I totally get why I want it again, because it was awesome, but I have to allow myself to seek a more realistic form of bliss or happiness.
Our minds are great at tricking us. Our minds, especially when we are locked inside of them and feeling at our worst, will tell us anything. Our minds will trick us into thinking the only way we can be happy again is by reaching out for something that isn’t there. We really need to be reaching out for what IS there.
Before you fell into a depression, what made you happy before? What did you like to do? What experiences, in the now, made you happy. Watching your kids play a sport? Working in the garden? Traveling? Picking up a guitar and learning how to play it?
We have so many things right in front of us, but our mind will not allow us to see what is really right in front of us. Part of our mind’s games it plays on us, involves seeking aspects of happiness that just aren’t there anymore. It will hide what you currently enjoy and make you crave what you once enjoyed during a time of your life when life was simpler. This feeling makes me feel like I’m losing my mind sometimes, but I continue to seek it no matter if it is a real thing or not.
Maybe that is just it. Our minds trick us into wanting life to go back to when it was much more simple. A life with very little responsibilities sounds amazing! Who doesn’t agree with that? But that is not where we are in this life. We have to push back on our mind and remember the awesome things we have now right in front of us.
We can’t go back to the kid way of life. We now have too many responsibilities. They are a part of life as we get older. We can get back to what makes us feel happy now. We can block out all the doubt we have and all of the negativity we keep telling ourselves. When we do this, however you get there, we can then experience happiness as it is now. And it is great now. It’s different, but it still is great. That old blissful feeling is there to be found, but it has morphed into what we need now. It can be hard to find as it can be hard to see when we are in the thick of it all, but it is there.
This is the feeling we need to be searching for. This is the feeling we need to be grasping for. We always love to think about the doing the biggest jumps or steps in life, but seeking for the happiness right in front of us is all about those all important baby steps. Searching for the grandiose jump in our lives sure is tempting, but it isn’t realistic.
Searching for our present day happiness is realistic and it is out there. You may not be able to see it now, but it is there. I was down deep in my hole. I really thought for a while I would never experience happiness again. I’ve searched for what wasn’t there anymore. I searched for the grandiose jump and the return to the magical blissful feeling of my childhood. I had to work hard at climbing out of my hole, and through the hard work, I was better able to focus on what I need now and not what I once had that hasn’t really been possible to recapture for a lot of years now. I have been able to grasp what my happiness is now and it is a good thing. It’s different from what my mind tries to tell me to search for from time to time, but it is there.
Recognizing that the happiness is there has lead to a new sense of bliss. An altered state of bliss that I can be comfortable with. I will always wonder about getting back to the childhood magical bliss I once had, but I also have gotten to a point in my journey that I can recognize what I need now and I can allow myself to be good where I am with what I have right in front of me.
Maybe it’s all really a mid-life crisis type of thing…😉.
It’s OK to remember the magic and the blissful feelings of childhood. It is OK to dream, but we also need to allow ourselves to know our limits regarding trying to get back to a time of our lives that is over. Go out and find what makes you tick. Remember what makes you tick when you are feeling the darkness taking over. A feeling of happiness is still there and it will return. It is OK to search for this feeling. A new feeling of bliss is there and waiting for you to experience what it has to offer to your life in the now.
You got this! I got this! We got this! You are not alone in your journey. Let’s keep walking this journey together.
Have a great day!
A website I started. This blog and a podcast, amongst some other stuff, live here. Check it out!
Jason Kehl’s Basement Of Jams: Rocking Mental Health
Feel free to jump over to Facebook and join the group I’ve started. It is a place where everyone can contribute to strengthening each others mental health and a place to lift each other up:
Jason Kehl’s Basement Of Jams: Rocking Mental Health
I’ve also started a podcast in hopes that my desire to spread mental health awareness can reach more people.
Jason Kehl’s Basement Of Jams: Rocking Mental Health
Also on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Amazon Music, and Pandora
Please check it out and feel free to share it as well.