The inspiration for today’s post comes from my blogging friend Mio who runs Mentally Ill in America, a space where he shares his lived experiences in a clear and present way that I love. I enjoyed one of his latest posts, “Why I Keep Getting Back in the Ring,” which was about what makes you get back in the ‘ring’ of living with mental illness (I hope I got that right, Mio!). I left a comment saying that one of the things that gets me out of the ring is that there’s a possibility of happiness and joy every morning, and it’s one of my main motivations every day. After further reflection, I’d like to expand a little more on the important role that joy plays in my life – even though I rarely experience it.Continue reading
Halloween and Bringing Joy to Others
Happy Halloween everybody! I could have used it being on a weekend, but I guess I’ll have to settle for waiting for next year. Spoilers on this post: Halloween is not actually my favorite holiday (heartbreaking, I know). But instead of explaining why I’m not all that into Halloween, I’d instead like to explain why it makes me happy to see all the people who are into Halloween.
Enjoying the Good
When I am feeling particularly depressed, sometimes I’ll think about the future. Nothing specific really, just general futuristic vibes as I try to envision myself being happy. I try to use it to cheer me up, to think to myself that somehow, some way, I can be happy one day. But it always revolves around me being somewhere or doing something. Oh if I lived there I’d definitely be happy I’d think. If I had that job there’s no way I wouldn’t be happy all the time. It’s a dangerous game that I play to try and cheer myself up, but the flawed logic has started to take a toll on me.
The truth is, I don’t know if I’d be happy then. I’ve done that many times in my life. I think that if I do a certain thing or am in a certain place, then that will lead to my happiness. And when I get to that place, as if on cue, I am met with a familiar pestilent feeling: I’m not happy. Not even close. And then I get depressed.
This cycle has continued and on in every stage of my life. Graduating high school, going to college, graduating from college, getting a job, even starting this blog. This will bring me happiness I think to myself. And when it doesn’t, honest to God I still get a little surprised.
Wait, you must be thinking. Maybe inner happiness is what you’re after. And yes, that is true. I have read hundreds of passages and quotes that justify that thought. I know that happiness can come from inside me and the little things I do. That’s when I realized that sometimes, it’s not really happiness I’m searching for; I just want to feel good about things. I want to feel good about graduating from college. I want to feel good about securing a full-time job. When I look to the future I’m not worried about not being happy; I’m worried that I won’t feel good.
The inability to enjoy things (which is called anhedonia) can be a symptom of depression, so I’m not shocked that I don’t feel good most of the time. But I also want to change that.
I want to know what makes people feel good about life. Not what brings you eternal happiness or joy, but things or moments that you can look back on and say hey, that was nice. I think part of what depression does is make your view cloudy, making it hard to see the good in your life. So I’m going to begin to look for the good, and I’d like you to help! Comment below with some things that make you feel good. I’m hoping to take this week to try and come up with a few of my own, and hopefully together we can create a list of what makes life good and beautiful. I hope you can help!