Anyone who knows me would likely describe me as a happy person. People always ask me if I ever get mad or sad. I've had hard times in my life, as anyone else has, and some of those times I've been seriously depressed. I wouldn't show it, but I knew I was. I didn't know how to choose happiness. This was a secret I kept for a long time.
I realized that the reason why I didn't know how to choose happiness was because happiness isn't a choice. When you think of depression, you don't just choose to be depressed. You don't just choose to be happy. These feelings just happen uncontrollably.
I remember how alone I felt during these times. Everyone always thought I was happy and okay, but inside I was truly empty. I didn't want anyone to feel bad for me so I kept my feelings inside. I had horrible thoughts about myself and about my life. I didn't understand why I just couldn't be genuinely happy. I would get frustrated with myself. I wanted someone to simply ask me, "Are you okay?" but when I did get asked that question, I would just respond with, “I'm fine.” One thought that ran through my mind was, “ No one will really believe me that I'm this sad. After all, I'm the happiest person anyone knows.” It was a constant battle with myself. I'd go day by day pretending to be happy so others wouldn't notice. I did this so others wouldn't ask me how I was.
I pretended so no one would find out that I wasn't this “always happy” person. I didn't want others to look at me differently. I know that by being happy, I made others feel better; I gave them hope. I didn't want that to go away because I love making others feel better. I also realize that being real with others could also make them not feel so alone.
This is something that has happened throughout my life on and off. Whenever I'm in a dark place, I try to think about happiness. This concept seems so unreal when you're in a bad place in your life. When I started to look at happiness in a different light, it became a little easier for me to get out of these bad situations. Of course, I still have these moments in my life, but I've definitely have improved over time on how to handle them.
I finally realized that happiness is not a choice, but I could choose not to give up on happiness. I can't just snap my fingers and choose not to be depressed. However, I do have the option to not give up on happiness. I may have had dark times in my life, but I had always refused to give up on my happiness. I now know that when I'm going through a hard time, I can eventually reach a point where I'll be genuinely happy again no matter how long a bad time will last. Whenever I get thrown into a bad situation, I try to tell myself not to give up on happiness.
If you're struggling in life right now, I'm not going to tell you to “choose happiness,” because I know that you can't just choose to be unhappy. On the other hand, I will say don't give up on happiness. I know it's hard, but it's worth it when you finally reach that point. I don't know where I would be if I just gave up on my happiness in dark situations.