Mental health is a big topic in today's climate. Never before has anxiety and depression been at such the forefront of the news. There is something to be said about the increase in both these things in recent years, especially in the third-world teen population.
Today, I am voicing a claim that I see virtually no one else making: you're not happy because you don't truly want to be.
Now, let's get something out of the way. I'm not saying that dealing with depression is just a matter of "cheering up" or "smiling more". In seventh grade, I got awarded "best smile" by my peers.
The thing is, I wasn't happy at all.
I had recently moved to the United States from France and had a hard time dealing with my identity, real friendships, and soon, a pretty severe lack of sleep. I wasn't happy, but I knew how to smile. I also knew how to make others happy, but that's not a good combo. I ended up falling into depression soon after, which lasted for a couple of years after that.
What I'll be talking about is two-fold. First, of the malicious comfort that comes with depression. Second, that you're not actually ready to truly always be happy.
I've seen teenagers get diagnosed with depression and make it a part of their identity. I've seen kids taking antidepressants thinking that that's the only thing they'll ever know. Now, I don't have anything against medication. Sometimes, that's actually what someone needs to help them get back on their feet. However, virtually every teenager deals with intense sadness at some point or another. Labels have power, and putting the label "depressed" on a teen can be extremely harmful. Instead of letting them know what they're feeling can be dealt with and isn't permanent, it makes them feel as if it's become part of their identity, part of who they are.
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Now, some of you may have frowned reading this last paragraph. "It's not as easy as just 'dealing with it'" you might think. I understand. I used to have the same reaction. Although depression is brutal, it can keep a person by giving them a messed up sense of uniqueness. It tells you that no one will ever understand what you're going through, and no one ever will. That what you're feeling is unique, and that no one can save you from it. It's a malicious comfort that can keep someone depressed longer.
I know because it kept me there for a while.
Breaking out of depression requires effort, real effort. For some people, that might mean seeking therapy and taking medications, as well as adopting some drastic life changes. For others, it might simply mean getting off social media and taking care of themselves for a while.
This brings me to my next point. You don't actually want to always, truly be happy. Think about it. If you mom, dad, or siblings died today, would you want to be happy when you got the phone call? If you learned that your significant other was cheating on you for an entire year, would you want to be happy the instant you learn about it? Do you want to work towards being able to not feel any sadness or anger during any of these scenarios? No, of course not. You might want to be able to be happy in the long run, but not to be laughing in the face of the death of a loved one.
What you want is happiness on demand. And that is, in my opinion, an incorrect view of what happiness really is.
We see vlogs of people going on vacation in the Bahamas, talking about doing what makes you happy and living your best life. We see successful artists or entrepreneurs talking about doing what makes you happy. We see what "being happy" means when everyone expects one to be happy. But we never talk about what happiness means during our darkest times.
I'll tell you what worked for me. First, I had to stop thinking I was unique. Sure, depression is different for everyone, but it's also really not. There are more than seven billion humans currently living on this earth, and billions more that have lived and are now dead. There are thousands and thousands of people who've been through what I've been through, and even more who've been through worst.
Among those people, some were wiser that I will ever be. So I started reading, as well as listening. I slowly stopped thinking that my state was permanent, and decided to accept that I had to take some of the blame for my condition. I'm not saying that it was quick, but that, no matter how long it took, that it worked.
Think of this article what you will. My point is, you're not ready to be always, truly happy. No one is. But you can at least start. Get out of the comfort of depression. Chances are, you're not that unique. And if you truly want help, then...
That's a good thing.