Stop Telling Me To 'Just Be Happy,' It Isn't That Easy

Please Stop Telling Me To 'Just Be Happy,' I'm Trying But It Isn't That Easy

At times, I do feel happiness and joy and then it goes away.

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"Can you just not be sad anymore?"

Sad and depressed are terms that are typically used interchangeably, but do they really mean the same thing? By Merriam-Webster, sad is defined as "affected with or expressive of grief or unhappiness" or "causing or associated with grief or unhappiness." Also defined by Merriam-Webster, depression is "a state of feeling sad." However, the second definition is more of what we associate with the term, telling of hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, and a tough time concentrating, but there is still the mention of sadness. I have never been clinically diagnosed with depression and maybe that's because I have an unhealthy coping mechanism of ignoring every problem I face and crossing my fingers that it goes away on its own, but I can say that I have felt everything that defines depression. Does it mean I am actually depressed? Maybe, maybe not.

On the other hand, I struggle to be happy for long periods of time. I struggle to feel anything. I dig deep within my soul and all I can come up with is empty. At the most, I get exhausted as the adjective that describes me. Too tired to take care of myself, too tired to clean or interact, too tired to even care about the smallest of things. My family sees me as lazy, my friends see me as unreliable. Sure, I do have good days where I have the ability to get up, clean my room, and go out into the world, socializing. I feel completely drained after it though. Empty. My days consist of wanting to go to sleep and eating because I constantly feel as if I am starving. Still empty.

I felt complete joy when my nephew was born, I was excited to spend Christmas and New Year's with my loved ones, but it disappeared quickly. I was a void again. I tried to hang out with my friends, but I was still robbed of my energy. I tested out new hobbies and even tried playing the Sims (which I always have fun with), I was easily bored and still met with nothing. If I feel something, it doesn't last long. One minute I could be jumping up and down at the thought of the new "Avengers" movie and the next I could care less. I have thought about taking my own life and constantly ask myself what is my purpose if I have any at all? I know I have people who love and care about me so why do I feel this way? "Why are you sad?" "Why are you lazy?" Do I need a reason to feel certain things? Does something tragic have to happen for someone to be depressed? Or is it all chemicals in your brain?

I can't explain it, I can't stop it. If I was given the choice, don't you think I would choose to be happy and stay that way? To not be empty? Don't you think I've tried? It's not that easy and I, unfortunately, don't have a switch in my body that I can flick on and off, determining my mental state and my emotions. No one does. I'm sorry that I'm like this, I'm sorry that I'm not fun anymore, I'm sorry I can't be there for people as I once was. If I'm not clinically diagnosed with depression or another mental health disorder, how about the people that actually are? How do you think they feel when you tell them to "just be happy." Imagine your leg has just been severed and someone tells you to stop feeling the pain. You can't, right? You need medicine and time to heal.

While I don't always agree with using medicine with mental health issues as people can become dependent on them, they can do the job for some. Going to therapy or at least talking to someone who understands is a great stride. You may not feel like it, but get out of bed and stretch. Try something you have never done before. Take baby steps. Rekindle the relationship with an old friend. You will not start to feel better once you take action for yourself. Breathe deep and know you are not the only one going through this. You will be genuinely happy again.

If you feel depressed or suicidal, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255. Please remember that people care about you and you do have a purpose in this life, even if you don't know what it is yet.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

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


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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You Can Get In 'Bad Moods' And Still Be A Positive Person

No, it's not contradictory. It's the truth.

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For 10 straight years of my life, starting in eighth grade, I was definitely not considered a happy-go-lucky girl. I was consistently at a comfortable level of happiness, sure, but was I jumping for joy for every part of my day without a complaint? Hell no, I had something to say about nearly everything with my eyes practically rolling out of my skull. Now? I am that happy presence in the room, and I have fallen in love with my new self. Is that weird? Maybe. Is it something so simple that absolutely anyone can achieve it? Absofuckinglutely.

What am I like now? Let me break it down for you, and then I want you to try to say that you have no interest in being this way in your own life, too. These are some of the smallest, yet miraculous changes I have ever applied to my life. My normally structured everyday life, my routines and my habits (good and bad).

Some of the easiest parts of your life are the hardest to break. If you understand that sentence to the depth that I'm trying to convey it, then your life is about to change.

I get up the first time I hear my alarm, every morning. I haven't pressed "snooze" in about six months. I get up at 5:02 am every single day, do you know how hard that is?! But do you know it's the easiest way to make for better days? Start your days better, and you'll see better days.

Get excited to light that morning candle because it's still dark out. A new outfit combination to keep things interesting, and feeling that hot water wake you up and release any tension in your body and bones from the night before. It's a new day, and it's up to you to make it a damn good one.

Right there, you're thinking "I can't be a positive person because sometimes I don't have a good day." Ummm, what? Robot? Is that you?

We all have bad days. Complete dog shit days, actually. Just because we are in the process or are these "newly born positive hippie fairy people", does not mean we can control the universe and what it does to us. The world will break your heart six times by Sunday and that's a damn fact. However, you can fall in love with seven of those days. Stay a step ahead of yourself. You won't regret it.

How do you handle the bad days? Simplicity here too.

Work on what you say and how you say it. I say hello to anyone I make eye contact with. Do you know how many people I pass running through meetings and a high school all day long? That's a lot of smiles. And when it comes to conversations, I never end one sentence on a negative note. Even when I'm complaining, I make sure to find a silver lining, regardless of its size, to end my sentence.

Find that little glimmer of hope and positivity, no matter how stereotypical it seems, and emphasize on it.

Make sure you complete that sentence.

Make sure people hear you.

And yes, sometimes things just really are that bad, and you can't find a good in why something happened when it did, the way it did, or why you're feeling the way you do about it. Guess what? Not an excuse. You can still find hope, but only if you're looking. "Hey, that was so shitty and I am taking it so hard and I really hate everything right now, but it could've been worse, and at least I never have to live today again."

Easy as Sunday morning, right?

You don't have to "STAY POSITIVE" to be a positive person. You just have to promise to always try your best to stay positive. That's literally all it takes. That's it.

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