The first five years of my life were happy because I was at home reading my books, doing my own thing, y’know? Then I started prison (school) and my constant state of happy changed to happy that came in moments, none of which happened there. Since then, life has been hard work with a huge amount of effort going into every single day. The world has farted in my face more times than I’ve had inappropriate thoughts about Nick Rhodes and for the last five years it’s been more about existing than living, thanks to my anxiety disorder. You become wary of life itself. Exhausted. Burnt out. Unhappy.
When you suffer with anxiety or depression, it’s hard to thrive. Moments of happiness (if any) are fleeting and hysterical laughter can change into a snotfest of sobbery within a matter of seconds. You can look at something beautiful and be, meh, or you can moved beyond all comprehension. NOTHING is balanced and it shits your family right up cos they think you’re madder than a box of frogs, innit.
You watch the news and see the face of a six year old boy smiling back at you. He has no hair and there are tubes up his nose. He’s dying. Despite everything he smiles THE most wonderful smile and you feel guilty because you’re alive. This child is grabbing every single second of his life and making it count while you’ve spent another afternoon horizontal on your bed having done sod all but binge watch box sets of Life on Mars.
Yes, I’m talking about me.
There is NO shame in having a mental illness. Nobody is ashamed of any other illness so why be ashamed of anxiety or depression? It’s an illness just the same but just as we take steps to get better if we have the flu (or whatever) we have to take steps to improve our mental well-being, innit?
With my ongoing therapy, it’s becoming clear to me that I can’t change the world or the people in it. However, I can change how I react to things they say or do.
I can change how I think.
So, new motto is…
There are so many thoughts and memories that make me unhappy. Like limpets on rocks, they are an absolute bugger to prise off. But you know what? I am done with being unhappy because of other people. I want to be unhappy on my own terms, not theirs. So eff ’em, eff em even more and then eff em again. I’m not the problem. I never was the problem. THEY are the problem.
They are no longer MY problem.
*breathes in for four seconds and out for eight* *smiles serenely*
My heart wants to be happy. How do I know? Well, our bodies thrive with happiness but wither with sadness. This is scientific stuff. So doesn’t it make sense to try and find our happy? Hopefully before we die?
My children make me happy.
OH makes me happy.
Books make me happy.
Music makes me happy.
My psychotic lurcher makes me happy.
My friends (online and off) make me happy.
Those who love me, make me happy.
They make breathing in and out worth the effort.
What makes YOU happy?
There are things we can do to combat anxiety and depression and bring ourselves a bit of happy. Yes, I know how hard it is to see the light when your world is so dark but trust me, it’s there.
Exercising ~ Even a short walk will get the endorphins flowing. You will always feel better for it.
Mindfulness ~ Bringing yourself into the present by noticing the world around you instead of focusing on how shit you feel.
Do Something New ~ Trying out something different, like photography. Anything that takes you out of yourself, even it’s for five minutes.
Goals ~ Having something to aim for in each day, even if it’s to get that ruddy great pile of ironing done.
Therapy ~ Go unleash your shit onto somebody who gets paid to listen. Fill your boots. Use ALL their tissues.
Sense of Purpose ~ We all have a place in this world. We all need a sense of purpose to give our lives meaning. Find your purpose, you glorious being, you.
Focus on the Good Bits ~ Life can be EPICALLY CRAP but try and focus on the better bits, no matter how small. I call them, ‘my lights’. Grab those lights and hold them tightly and when the darkness threatens to overwhelm you they will shine all the more brighter, just like stars.
We may not have had any choice in being here. After all, we are the result of our parents having ‘sexy times’ and we were the best swimmers, but seeing as we ARE here, we might as well try and make the best of our time because in the great scheme of things, it’s very brief. Like, blink and you’re dead – brief.
No matter how sad you feel, happiness can ALWAYS be found.
A wise old wizard once said: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
I’m with you, Dumblydore.