For anyone who felt sh****d on by my previous post. 😛
Some lively discussion and questions sprang from my recent post, Always Acting. And it led me to want to expound and explore a few things:
It’s okay to be happy.
In case it sounded as though I’m against happiness, let me clarify.
I am not against happiness. If you are genuinely happy, radiate that sunshine! 🙂 Why would you hide it? Generally speaking, pretending not to be happy when you are would be, well, just weird.
Happiness can be contagious (as can joy). If you’ve got it, share it! By all means.
What I was examining in my post was the tendency in some (probably many or most) of us to feign happiness or pretend all is well when we’re just not feeling it, because we feel socially obligated to do so, or we’re afraid of the social and emotional consequences of not seeming happy.
Joy and happiness are two different things. Whether it’s possible to be happy in the midst of great suffering is debatable, but joy can be a cherished companion in hardship, and it has been for me. And sometimes, this joy can cause me to laugh or smile even in pain. Expressing our joy in the middle of adversity is not “being fake”.
Happiness and joy are not wrong. They only become unhealthy when you feel you must project the appearance of these things when you don’t actually feel or have them.
I have some truly amazing friends.
For my friends who may have read my previous post:
Much of my laughter and many smiles throughout my life have been sincere. I haven’t always been faking it. I have shared and enjoyed – and I remember – many sweet and beautiful moments with family and friends. And recalling such moments has helped me through some very dark times. I have these memories all because of the rock stars who have chosen to be a part of my life and to share with me the priceless gift of their time.
To my friends with whom I’ve spent considerable time over the last several years of my life: I love you, and you are more precious and dear to me than you’ll ever know. Thank you for being there for me in the sun and the rain. I hope you didn’t feel bashed, beaten down, or unappreciated by any part of my previous post or the comments (in which I delved deeper into my life and experiences).
There aren’t adequate words to express how grateful I am to have you in my life, or just how much I appreciate the individual and amazing people that you are.
There are times (e.g. when you’re first getting to know someone) in which it may be advisable not to go “too deep too quickly”.
On this point, I guess I’m a little weird in that I wouldn’t mind someone sharing their deepest fears, personal struggles, or suicidal thoughts with me at our first meeting. Let’s stop beating around the bush already, man! We’ve been talking for two minutes! But I understand that this doesn’t work for everyone.
At the same time, if you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, your needs and concerns shouldn’t wait or be brushed under the rug.
Don’t wait to get closer to an acquaintance/friend. If you are entertaining suicidal thoughts even a little, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline now at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to someone who understands. ❤
I don’t begrudge anyone else their positivity! 🙂
Even when I’m struggling with depression, I want to see my friends be happy. In fact, that’s one reason I’ve often acted so much. I don’t want to bring others down. Depressed people often make an extra effort to make the people around them feel valued and loved, and to make sure they enjoy life, because they know what it’s like to feel alone and sad.
And one point I wanted to add, inspired from the previous discussion:
Drugs and therapy can’t replace our need for real relationships and friendships.
You can faithfully take “medicine” or supplements, and receive therapy. And these things may help. But without fellowship – and the opportunity to love and be loved by others – you’ll never completely heal.
We’re wired to connect with people. To be plugged in. To know and be known.
To love another is medicine.
To be loved by another is medicine.
Laughter is medicine.
Physical touch (hugs, holding hands, a pat on the back) is medicine.
This is not to say that treatment cannot be helpful. I take vitamin B6 and zinc for my pyroluria (which can play a role in depression), and have seen my emotional and mental state improve significantly with this treatment. However, if I am separated from my close friends for very long, my health (both mental and physical) starts to decline.
This is why it’s so important for us to reach out to others who may be hurting, and to be honest about our own pain, whether that pain is physical or mental, short-lived or chronic. A doctor may be able to guide us through a rocky season, but clinical treatment can never replace our need for the therapy of friendship and love.
If there’s no one else in your life with whom you feel you can connect, chat with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope this clarified a few things and added some more depth to the previous conversation. 🙂