Using potentiometer joystick to simulate pushbutton switch

Hello, first post and arduino newb here!

I am working on a project that will activate a relay using a joystick. The relay is connected to a seperate battery powered LED light.

The problem I am running into is

  1. With the current code, I can activate the relay if I push the joystick all the way to the end of the X axis-- but-- when the joystick is released, the relay deactivates, turning OFF the LED (LED needs to stay ON for my purpose).
    How do I get the relay to stay activated unless the joystick is pushed again to the end of the X axis range? Somehow, I need to record the number of times the joystick is pushed in the X axis (2x to turn on relay (LED) and 2x (again) to turn it OFF).

Basically, how do I tell the arduino that if joystick is pushed to the right 2x (within x seconds (5)) activate pin 13 (output to relay) and 2x again to turn off pin 13?

Here is the code I was using. Thanks for the help!

/*
  State change detection (edge detection)

  Often, you don't need to know the state of a digital input all the time, but
  you just need to know when the input changes from one state to another.
  For example, you want to know when a button goes from OFF to ON. This is called
  state change detection, or edge detection.

  This example shows how to detect when a button or button changes from off to on
  and on to off.

  The circuit:
  - pushbutton attached to pin 2 from +5V
  - 10 kilohm resistor attached to pin 2 from ground
  - LED attached from pin 13 to ground through 220 ohm resistor (or use the
    built-in LED on most Arduino boards)

  created  27 Sep 2005
  modified 30 Aug 2011
  by Tom Igoe

  This example code is in the public domain.

  https://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/BuiltInExamples/StateChangeDetection
*/

// this constant won't change:
const int  buttonPin = 2;    // the pin that the pushbutton is attached to
const int ledPin = 13;       // the pin that the LED is attached to

// Variables will change:
int buttonPushCounter = 0;   // counter for the number of button presses
int buttonState = 0;         // current state of the button
int lastButtonState = 0;     // previous state of the button

void setup() {
  // initialize the button pin as a input:
  pinMode(buttonPin, INPUT);
  // initialize the LED as an output:
  pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT);
  // initialize serial communication:
  Serial.begin(9600);
}


void loop() {
  // read the pushbutton input pin:
  buttonState = digitalRead(buttonPin);

  // compare the buttonState to its previous state
  if (buttonState != lastButtonState) {
    // if the state has changed, increment the counter
    if (buttonState == HIGH) {
      // if the current state is HIGH then the button went from off to on:
      buttonPushCounter++;
      Serial.println("on");
      Serial.print("number of button pushes: ");
      Serial.println(buttonPushCounter);
    } else {
      // if the current state is LOW then the button went from on to off:
      Serial.println("off");
    }
    // Delay a little bit to avoid bouncing
    delay(50);
  }
  // save the current state as the last state, for next time through the loop
  lastButtonState = buttonState;


  // turns on the LED every four button pushes by checking the modulo of the
  // button push counter. the modulo function gives you the remainder of the
  // division of two numbers:

  //modified
  //if (buttonPushCounter % 4 == 0) {
  // digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH);
  // } else {
  //  digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW);
  // }

}

Throw away that debounce code for a digital input. You are better off with the StateChangeDetection example. Assume the analog "button" is pressed while analogRead() of the axis returns a value higher than some threshold. On every state change toggle a bool variable and activate the relay accordingly.

Thanks for the input- this gives me a clearer starting point! I'll need to read up on bool variables.