The Myth of “Happy”
I was sitting back the other day, listening to a friend lament about how unhappy and depressed she was. She wasn’t just unhappy, she was downright pissed off that everyone else seems to be happy – except for her. For hours she went on and on about her misery.
Finally I had to stop her and tell her the two fundamental truths about being “Happy”.
1. No one is happy 100% of the time. NO ONE. I have good days, I have bad days. I have “meh” days. We ALL do. You are not exclusive in your depression and unhappiness. You are not the only person on the planet who has experienced depression. It may feel like it, but it isn’t so. Anyone who claims to be happy 100% of the time is either lying to you (in effort to convince themselves or everyone around them) or they’re probably a dumb-ass. After all, ignorance is bliss. The only reason you don’t see how miserable the rest of us are is because we don’t run around lamenting about our misery to whoever will listen. We’ve learned to cope.
2. No one likes their job 100%. Think everyone, but you, is happy with their job? Think again. I have never met ANYONE who loves their job 100%. Yes, I love my job as a writer for the most part, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit there were parts of my job that I hated. For example – I hate formatting eBooks. While I generally love all my readers, there are a handful that drive me nuts. I hate sour grapes critics. I hate marketing. The moral of the story being that even in a job you love, there’s bound to be something you hate. The grass really isn’t greener on the other side.
Look, I’ve been clinically depressed before. I know depression. Been there, done that. Being depressed certainly didn’t make me want to whine about how awful life is to everyone who would listen. No – when I was clinically depressed I withdrew from society. I stopped hanging out with my friends. I had NO ambition or want to write or do those things I once loved. I certainly had no desire to hang out on social networking sites posting lament after lament to my wall about how depressed I was. I cried at the drop of a hat. I stayed home and didn’t want to leave the house. I slept all the time. I also knew enough to get help and saw a psychiatrist to help me learn coping skills to pull me out of that dangerous depression I was in. I think ANYONE who has lived on this planet more than a few decades has experienced REAL depression. This is not some exclusive pain that only “some” people suffer from.
So why do some of us appear happy all the time? Because some of us have better coping skills. We’ve learned to accept the things we cannot change and change the things we can. We’ve also learned that “This, too, shall pass.”
Unfortunately this is where the, “Learn to cope with it!” crowd is coming from. They’re not the hopelessly happy who have never been depressed a single day in their lives. No – they’re depression survivors who’ve learned to cope and who realize that like attracts like. If you’re a miserable, sorry sap — that’s what you’re going to attract to yourself. This is why if you have a chemical imbalance, seeing a professional, eating right, getting exercise, and getting medicated (if eating right and exercising doesn’t help balance you out) for your condition is so important. Every little bit helps. If you’re not even trying to help yourself and all you do is whine about how life isn’t fair and how miserable you are, you can’t expect everyone to be sympathetic.
In recap – No one – NO ONE – lives a life of pure joy and happiness 24/7. Managing life and the emotions of life is work. FOR ALL OF US. Some of us just manage it better than others. Then there are those people who need attention and sympathy and enjoy having an audience for their personal pain. Likewise there are others who enjoy being the audience. Either they get off on the suffering of others or it makes them feel better about their own miserable lives.
As for me, I don’t mind the theater on occasion, but I have no desire to live there (either on stage or in the audience). I’m like a mood ring – I take on the moods of those people I surround myself with. If I hang out with depressed, sorry saps 24/7 – I find myself getting depressed. “Birds of a feather…” So I apologize if I seem unsympathetic to the misery and drama of the downtrodden, but I can’t listen to it or watch it 24/7 without it adversely effecting me, and I love me too much to do that to myself.