On Happiness

Happiness is always what we strive for. In a world full of so many pressures we try to take time out for ourselves- to reconnect to ourselves, to do what we enjoy and to try to enable us to be happier versions of what we currently are. We are constantly subject to marketing for holidays, clothes, yoga classes and journals all designed to make us ‘happy’ and to battle the blues of everyday life.

As a sufferer of depression and anxiety, as well as further difficulties I encounter arising from symptoms of BPD and PTSD, happiness seems like the ultimate end goal. It is the ideal state which is completely the opposite of what I am feeling. So if I’m feeling tremendously sad, should I be dreaming about a life where I am constantly tremendously happy?

BPD makes me feel extremes of emotions which is heightened by my anxiety, yet my depression has a dulling effect. I can feel overwhelmingly happy, and it is so strong it makes me feel like I am on fire inside. It is addictive but it never lasts. I’m worried about feeling positive things strongly because I don’t know if I could handle it when whatever is causing the happiness goes away. Which it inevitably will, because my depression convinces me so. This also means that when I experience nerves or sadness, it is debilitating and I struggle to function on all sorts of levels. I can’t think clearly or rationally, I can’t see positivity in any situation and when it is at its worst I can’t move or communicate.

As it is so entwined in my mental functioning, especially during my mental health recovery, I have been giving a lot of thought to happiness. I’ve been thinking about times I’ve been happy, and how to bring more happiness into my life. I came to a huge realisation in that happiness doesn’t have to be all consuming and extreme. If that is the happiness you are constantly striving for, you’ll never appreciate the moments in life which are truly incredible.

Ive had some extremely happy moments in my life recently. I got a new job, I went on incredible adventures to Spain and Amsterdam, and recently saw Aladdin on the stage. There have been moments where I’ve felt incredibly happy and it’s important to remember these. But life also brings difficulties and pressures that make it impossible to feel such overwhelming joy at all times.

Happiness should be a constant hum in a difficult and confusing world. It is a state of content. It is enjoying a good book, stepping outside for a walk when you are wrapped up, and warming up with a cup of cocoa and your slippers after such a walk. It is realising you are enough, and loved, and have something to offer in this big world. It is looking after yourself and looking after others if you can.

Happiness is cake on a rainy day, ice cream on a sunny day and a cup of tea for anything in between. Fresh flowers on your windowsill, realising your friend has the same interest as you or packing to go on a trip. Happiness is very achievable- and I have to remember this. It doesn’t have to be explosive- but it can be and it feels wonderful when it is! It also doesn’t mean that I’m failing if I’m not feeling happy. It means I can perhaps look forward to those little things in life that do provide happiness. And most importantly, I can bring those moments to myself. It is fabulous to share happiness with someone else, but to truly be able to share it with someone I must be able to understand and experience what happiness is for me.

Some days it will be easier than others, and I do hope I will experience that explosive happiness on occasions. But I want to escape this idea that I must constantly strive for opportunities for overwhelming happiness, to escape the blues of everyday life. I hope I can continue to enjoy all of the little things that make up my constant hum of happiness, and I want my everyday life to be anything but bluesy.

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