i'm home. and happy.

Over the years, I've written about my struggles with depression, an eating disorder and all the traps that came with living an ocean away from  home. When I was in that place, Kuwait specifically, there were some incredibly murky days. Days I never wrote about because the thoughts were too scary and private to put into words...but days where I almost gave up. I was so lost and exhausted with fighting to want to be alive. Although the words never crossed my lips, my husband seemed to know instinctively. And he carried me.

Then three weeks ago, I came home...back to the United States. And I am so happy. So happy that sometimes I just cry because I'm inspired or fulfilled...experiencing those emotions again always surprises me, since there were days I thought they were gone for good.

But all this happiness has left me thinking about the time I almost gave up. I remember being so ashamed that I wasn't living up to every inspirational quote that told me I was just a smile away from a good day. Or a well-intended but less-than-helpful reminder that someone else has it worse. Or a new article or book preaching that we all choose happiness. (Really? I tried to choose it. A lot. It lasted about two hours.)

I'm just going to say it: screw that. Because at some point, many of us walk through dark waters that are deep and murky enough that we might drown. We're just barely keeping our head above water and BEING! HAPPY! is such a far away thought--maybe not even a hope anymore. When the waves are battering you from every side, they can't be calmed by your choosing for them to stop. The only thing keeping us from slipping under are friends or family members holding our hands and telling us that ceasing to paddle is just NOT an option.

To anyone who is in that murky place: please don't feel ashamed...just keep paddling. Cry out for help and cross your heart you'll keep fighting. And when you can't paddle anymore, let someone else carry you. I know it's hard to believe, but there's a gorgeous shoreline in your future. Don't cheat yourself out of it...you want to get to shore, I promise.

Because when you do, it's pretty freaking amazing.


  1. This is so perfect - I am so glad to hear you are in such a good place.

    I am tucking this post away for when I need it; I've been there before, and I know just reading this in those dark moments will help me feel less alone.

    Rock on.

  2. so true! i am a generally positive, yet very realistic, person. For the most part, little gets me down but when it does, I just let it happen. Things always get better. Glad you're home and happy :).

  3. You have a wonderful way of expressing yourself. I'm glad you are happy and I'm glad you didn't give up. I'm sharing this with a friend who can use your words right now. Thank you for always being so honest even when it's hard and "not pretty."

  4. Yup. Thank you Bethany. I'm so happy for you!

  5. I'm so happy that you made it to shore. I've been struggling to stay afloat lately too, but you're right- the fight is so worth what's waiting for you on the other side.

    Can't wait to hear about your adventures back home!

  6. I'm happy that you are happy :-)

  7. Thank you for sharing. I'm so glad you are finding peace, being inspired and happy once more. Life can be tough at times anywhere, but it really can be hard here in the sandpit. Getting out for you sounds like a blessing for you. Write more, when you are inspired to share. X

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  9. Your happiness is contagious, sister! I am so glad you are in a better place- I can't imagine what you went through, but you are one of my favorite people and you deserve this happiness. Keep holding tight to it- it's worth the cramped hands.

    1. btw, it's Kate- don't know why I can't sign in under Didn't I Tell You That, but whatevs!

  10. You know, every time I said you were brave for moving away from all friends and family, to a country where women are not treated as equals and there is no alcohol (which is the 5th ring of hell for me), you always brushed if off and said "I'm not handling it as well as I should/ others do".

    I think you have finally come to terms with the fact you were in a country you are just not meant to be in, and IT'S OK TO NOT LIKE IT. It's ok to be miserable in a place you don't fit in. You don't always have to put on a happy face, Pollyanna. Hell, two weeks in I would have packed my bags and told the mister I'd see him in 50 weeks.

    It was a sucky year, go ahead admit it. But you are stronger for it. Now own that, because you can say you survived.

    Welcome home lady.

  11. I have followed your journey since your engagement and I think you are one brave lady. Hopefully you can restore to normality a bit now! I hope Lucky is okay too!
    Lots of love and glitter x

  12. this is beautiful. so happy that you have found happiness again and that you kept fighting, even when it seemed impossible.
    and, as always, your honesty is such an inspiring thing to read.

  13. It's so good to hear your journey has lead you back home. Sometimes we feel hesitent to share the dark days, but it's those dark days that makes the happy days all the more worth it!! So excited to see your new place!!

  14. YAAAYAYAYAYAYYY!! You're happy again, yaaayyyy!! I've been loving your Instagram pictures...it's so obvious things are so much better for you out there, that's wonderful! Be PROUD of having come through a difficult time, you were incredibly brave and strong! And enjoy the heck out of an awesome Cali summer - wish I was there with ya! :)

  15. So so glad that you wrote this. I love positivity as much as the next blogger and I would love to believe that I can choose to be happy all. the. time. but somedays I wake up and something is off. I feel it physically in me and as much as I choose and choose again, that little physical manifestation of my fight with anxiety remains. But I keep going because I have a job and a husband and a family that all need me. I get up and go because I've long believed that I just have to. Somedays, victory is just like you said, continuing to paddle or calling out for help. Not every day will be our best day ever and that should be okay.

  16. Good to hear from you again, and SO good to hear that you're happy :) There's nothing wrong with being unable to cope with depression--it happens to the best of us. I've found that sometimes, you just have to kind of let it happen, remind yourself that it isn't permanent, and wait for it to pass. Of course, having supportive friends and family make the waiting much, much easier!

  17. Words of wisdom that I needed at the moment. Thanks so much! :)

  18. You are such a beautiful woman with such a beautiful soul - and it is so good to read these words. Not just because you're back and happy and inspired again but because that murky place is terrifying, and it is always good to know that there are those who understand it - weirdly that is sometimes more comforting than those who insist you will come out on the other side just fine - it can be more uplifting to know you're not alone - that can make the first steps toward the light again so much easier. People forget to say that part though - that the murkiness exists. So thank you for saying it, and for saying it so eloquently. <3

  19. Yes. Just... Yes.

    So glad that you are home and happy to hear that you are doing well!! :)

  20. wow such an inspirational post! i think so many times people think that living overseas is all travels pictures and gorgeous sunsets when that's not always the truth. being overseas and away from everything familiar can be so incredibly difficult sometimes and i'm so glad that you were brave enough to write about it!

  21. This was wonderfully said, Bethany....I've dealt with depression myself, and as much as I wanted them to, inspirational quotes never helped. They just made me feel worse because I couldn't bring myself to believe them.
    I'm glad that things are better now, though. That you're home, and happy :)
    <3 Kiersten

  22. I am so glad you are in a better place (mentally and physically.) Thanks for sharing your journey - it inspires the rest of us to keep going.

  23. This is exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you for sharing your struggles so the rest of us don't feel so alone. Also, I am so freaking happy you're home in the US, which is weird considering I don't "know" you, ya know? But seriously, thanks for this post and cheers to the journey to happiness. :)

  24. So good to read this as it is very important for people to not feel ashamed of feeling a particular way. People must not think that what they feel or are going through is less than, or not as important as someone else's pain. We, each of us, carry what we can, but sharing the load is always a good step to getting it sorted and better.

    Molly @ The Move to America

  25. This hits home for me. Really hard because thats a journey that I have experienced. With the disorder and depression and other things in the US. I wanted to give up, but kept fighting. Now that I'm home back in Europe, its like you said its like meeting the shore and finding it was worth the fight because life is now so content. Thank you for sharing.

    Bonnie Rose - www.bonnieroseblog.co.uk

  26. such beautiful honesty !!!
    something we don't see enough of anymore, especially in blog land. thank you !!

  27. I was so excited to see a new post from you! I've been waiting to hear about how the transition back to the States has been for you, and am so excited to hear that you are so happy.

    I think the fact that you tried out this new, literally foreign experience, is the most important part. Makes me think of one of my favorite quotes from Friday Night Lights, from Coach Taylor - "I said you need to strive to better than everyone else. I didn't say you needed to be better than everyone else. But you gotta try. That's what character is. It's in the try."

  28. This...this is perfect. From someone just crawling out on the other side, blinking in the newfound light, these words are everything. Thank you.

  29. that is so great you feeling better! the murky days are hard but we just have to keep on going!

  30. Thank you for this post because I struggle with this almost every day. Happiness comes naturally for so many people, but not me. It sucks. It's almost like I'm trapped in some never-ending funk. I SHOULD be happy because I'm not working and traveling around all the time, but that almost makes it worse.

    I'm glad you've found what makes you happy!

  31. So glad to find your blog again! My computer was stolen and I'm trying to recreate all my favorites. Welcome back to the US!

  32. We all CHOOSE to be happy?? No, I'm with you. Screw that!! I've been in those dark days (I blogged about them, lightly, until I took down those posts recently, for various reasons), and I TRIED to be happy and just simply failed. So glad you're back home and happy there. Massive hugs.

  33. It's been awhile since you've posted...hope all is well :)

    miss hearing about your exciting adventures!

  34. Hey Bethany!

    I noticed you haven't posted in a while and hope it's because you are too busy catching up on lost time with friends and family. Thanks for previously making the blogosphere a prettier, more eloquent place~


  35. I'm nearly 65. Nearly every year of 64, I've been depressed at some time...most of the time---(some years worse than others.) Nothing, nobody, no doctor, no pill offered seems to help.
    I guess you know that faking it til you make doesn't work--not for long---because then you know you're a fake! Who wants to be a fake!I? just feel I am a failure to my God, to my family---to myself.
    Thanks for being a brave girl!
    "Choose happiness!?" If only! Everytime I seem try to be able to pull myself up, a bigger wave pulls me under. All those little "happy" quips don't help.
    I am so glad you've found happiness---a way to cope. Somehow, it gives me some hope.

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