Happiness is a choice.

11 Dec 2016

'Happiness is a choice'. I read that recently. 'If you have a roof over your head and food on your table you are richer than you think'.

I have those things. I have my own car; my own home; a beautiful, loving, affectionate cat to keep me company; some close friends and family members I can depend upon; my health (mainly); a decent job; I'm financially independent. I could go on listing things I have that confirm I am RICH! Rich, beyond my wildest dreams!

I've also spent the last week in a blur of panic attacks, tears, anxiety, and depression.

Am I a spoilt, needy, diva-esque individual who's never happy with her lot? Are my expectations so high that no matter what I have or who I'm with, it's never enough? I can answer that without a moment's hesitation. No.

I'm the kind of person whose heart lifts as she feels the sun on her skin; who feels every breath of wind; admires the loop-de-loops of leaves as they're whisked from the trees. I marvel at the world around me; I appreciate so much. We are engulfed in a myriad of incredible creations that I genuinely do acknowledge every day.

So why aren't I happy? Why isn't unwavering contentment coursing through my veins? Why aren't these things enough?

'Happiness is a choice'. Why can't I choose to be happy? I choose what to wear, what to eat. I choose all kinds of things. Why can't I choose something that will significantly improve my quality of life?

It's not that simple, that's why. Not if the teeth of depression have sunk themselves into you, like dogs dragging you down as you try to escape a gloomy alleyway over a chain link fence. There are a couple on the other side too, so you can't even use one last burst of energy to throw yourself over the top and escape. Nope. You're going nowhere. The good things in your life? They're waaaay over there. You can see them, smell them, hear them, but they're out of reach.

I have two options. I can give in, let the dogs pull me to the ground and maul me to death. Or I can teeter as near to the top of that fence as I can get, hold on for dear life, and wait. Wait for the dogs to get bored and wander off to torment something else so I can haul myself over and collapse on the other side.

If only it took minutes like in the films. I could be up there for hours, days, weeks, maybe months? All I have faith in is time. Time will pass, whether I am here or not. I force myself to hang on, wait it out, refuse to give up. Eventually, the dogs will tire. The depression will loosen its grip. The chemicals in my brain will level out.

That's why I can't simply 'choose' happiness. If I could choose the right balance of chemicals in my brain, I would do it in a heartbeat. But I can't. All I can choose is ways to cope until the dogs leave me alone.


A Moodscope member.

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