Don't Try To Buy Happiness, It Won't Work

Don't Try To Buy Happiness, It Won't Work

Material things aren't worth much compared to life.

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Ever since I was in high school, I didn't have things I can accomplish. I didn't have friends nor did I have a support system. SO I always envied those who had friends who could back you up and fight for you no matter what.

Instead, I always tried to care less by going shopping. That was my favorite form of therapy. Indeed I felt better wearing the fabulous outfit I bought and yes, I was excited to try on the new makeup. Over the years, instead of sulking or writing out my feelings, I would go shopping and wonder what I wanted. It was never what I needed.

I recently stopped doing retail therapy, mainly because I do not want to end up broke before I even have a job. Instead, I like to walk Downtown Cleveland and people watch. Walking alone sounds lonely to most people but for me, it's very comforting. Sometimes, I walk in silence through the cold air and imagine myself being hugged by an invisible force.

Breathing in the cold air makes me feel warm because I can feel it. I know most people cannot. Going out and increasing my skills and knowledge just by talking to people makes me feel useful and smart.

I am tired of waiting on the sidelines. I want to be the center of attention in my life. I would rather ask myself what I need today to fulfill my happiness. Do I really need to watch five episodes on Netflix? Do I really want to go to a cafe and be friendly to people and wave? What do I want to do today? What am I grateful for today? These are the questions I ask myself whenever I'm hard on myself.

It would be easier to pick up the phone and invite a friend out but I need to learn how to be by myself. What happens if you're not friends with them anymore and you depended on their friendship? What happens then?

I am an only child and I have learned to be fiercely independent but I know I can be clingy too. I have learned to not be as clingy and just want love. But, I would rather show myself some love first.

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What Losing Someone To Suicide Really Feels Like.

In Loving Memory of Andrew Allen Boykin (1997-2015)

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A word that describes what it feels like to lose someone to suicide? That doesn't exist. It's actually a whole jumbled up pool of emotions. Almost unbearable comes to mind, but that still doesn't quite cover it. You never think it'll happen to someone you know, much less a family member.

Let me start off by telling you about my experience. I was up late one night studying for a big nursing test I had the next morning. My phone started ringing, and I automatically assumed it was my boyfriend who knew I would still be up at midnight. It wasn't, though. It was my mother, who usually goes to bed before 10 every night. I knew something bad had happened.

"Mama, what's wrong?" I could hear her crying already. "Baby, Andrew shot himself," my mother then told me. I flooded her with questions. Where? Is he okay? Why was he playing around with a gun this late? What happened? She then said, "No, baby, he killed himself."

Disbelief

Disbelief was my first reaction. No, that couldn't be true. Not my Andrew. Not my 17-year-old, crazy, silly, cousin Andrew. Not the kid who eats sour Skittles while we walk through Walmart and then throws away the pack before we get to the register. Not the kid who, while we all lay in the floor in Grandma's living room, is constantly cracking jokes and telling us stories about how he's a real ladies' man. This can't be real. I'm gonna go home and it is all just gonna be a mix-up.

Confusion

It wasn't, though. I sat in the home of my grandparents, with the rest of my family, confused. We tried to go over what could have caused him to do it. Was it a girl? Did we do something wrong? He acted normal. Nothing seemed off, but I guess nobody will ever truly know.

Anger

For a minute there I was mad. How could he do this? Did he not know what this would do to everyone? So many people loved him. I just couldn't understand, but I wasn't Andrew. How could I understand?

Regret

Regret was my next feeling. Why didn't I do more? What could I have done? How did I not notice he was hurting so bad? There wasn't anyone who knew, though. For the longest time, I told myself that I should have texted him more or just made sure he knew I loved him. In the end, I always realize that there wasn't anything I could have done and that he knew I loved him.

Pain

The funeral was almost insufferable. A church filled with people who loved Andrew. People that would never get to see him or hear his laugh again. The casket was closed and the whole time all I could think about was how I just wanted to hold his hand one last time. My brother, who spent almost every weekend with Andrew since they were little, didn't even want to go inside. They were only a year and a half apart. At one point he just fell to the ground in tears. This kind of pain is the heart-breaking kind. The pain of picking a 15-year-old off the ground when he hurts so bad he can't even go on anymore.


Heartache

This led to heartache. I thought so much about how his life was way too short. He would never get to graduate high school or go to college. He would never get his first grown-up job. He'd never get married or have children. Dwelling on these thoughts did some major damage to my heart. We missed him. We wanted him back, but we could never go back to how things were.

Numbness

For a while after, I could honestly say I was numb. It had hurt so much I think my body shut down for a little while. That disbelief would pop up again and I would forget it was real. I'd try to block out the reminders but that doesn't really work. Every time I see sour Skittles I think about him, or wear this certain pair of earrings he'd always try to get me to give him.

Longing

This past week marked a whole year since he passed away. What am I feeling now? Still all of these things plus a little more. Longing is a good word. I miss him every day and wish so much that he was still here with us. I'll see little reminders of him and smile or laugh. We had so many good memories, and I could never forget those or him. That's what I cling to now. That was my Andrew.


In Loving Memory of Andrew Allen Boykin (1997-2015)

"If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever."


If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

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Stop Posting About Mental Health Unless You're Prepared To Actually Talk About It

Go beyond sharing hotlines and start the important conversations.

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In this era of social media, anything that's important, along with things that aren't important, can become a movement. This is powerful, in theory, but what's it really doing?

It's great that you're sharing the suicide prevention hotline phone numbers because it's important that those are readily available.

But anyone who's actually considered suicide will tell you that, in their contemplative states of fatally harming themselves, the last thought on their mind is, "I want to call a complete stranger and have them talk me off the ledge."

That state of mind is well beyond one that wants to seek help of any kind.

People who are seriously considering taking their own life, or even people who are seriously considering harming themselves, are not going to want to call a complete stranger in this time of crisis.

They probably don't want to call their friends or family, either. They feel alone, and that voice in their head that is urging them to cause that damage is not going to remind them of the people in their life that would miss them, the people in their life that love them.

So, if sharing the hotline numbers, while not the worst idea in the book, isn't necessarily helping those who really need it, what can you do?

Reach out.

Is your friend missing more class than normal? Do they look exaggeratedly tired every time you see them?

Are they acting out of character? Have you noticed them eating more or eating less?

Reach out.

Did they just get out of a relationship? Is their semesters' workload significantly heavier than normal?

Is the floor of their bedroom hidden underneath dirty clothes and worksheets and pizza boxes? Do they just seem... off?

Reach out!

Your friend could just be tired or stressed out, or maybe they're completely fine. But, maybe they're not.

Reaching out to a friend with a simple, "Hey, I just wanted to remind you that I care about you and I'm here for you if you need it," is not going to do someone any harm. Chances are, they'll appreciate it, even if they're doing well.

It is up to us, even as the social media mogul generation we are living in continues to thrive, to go beyond the superficiality of sharing suicide prevention posts and to start checking in on the people we know and love.

I also invite you, next time you want to share that Facebook post about mental health issues to instead think about the people in your life that maybe aren't doing well. Share that post if you want, but send your friend, sister, cousin or whomever a short message to check in on them.

Stop sharing posts if you're not willing to actually do something in the lives of those who need help.

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