Thursday, June 23, 2011

On being happy

Have you ever met someone who loves to be depressed? Bear with me here while I explain. I used to frequent Livejournal a lot (don't judge) and I noticed a pattern with my fellow "writers" (a term I use loosely). Many of them were depressed, anxious, in terrible relationships, on many different medications. I tried to help them, comfort them, give them suggestions, but so often my advice fell on deaf ears. They didn't have time to see a therapist, they didn't have the money, no drugs worked for them so they didn't want to try something else.

Don't get me wrong. I know that there are many people who struggle with many different medications (my best friend being one of them) before settling on one that works for them. I understand not having health insurance, so being unable to see a therapist or a doctor. What I don't understand, however, is how people seem to enjoy being depressed.

I sometimes think of depression like a bad relationship. Many people who grew up in an abusive home will, in turn, either be abusive themselves as an adult, or continually return to an abusive relationship. For these people, that's all they know, but they are so wrong. Depression is the same way. If it's all you know, why take the risk to change it? And yet...there is something about being depressed. There's attention in having "issues". There will always be someone there to stroke your ego, tell you things will be OK, that you are an amazing person. Always someone who seems to care about you. Coming out of your depression you will lose this, and many people, whether they realize it or not, don't want to let go of this.

How very sad for them! Don't they realize what is out there for them? Life can be so much better. The day the Prozac started working for me was one I will never forget. It was like a veil was lifted and I could finally feel and be happy. Until that moment, I hadn't realized how unhappy I really was feeling. Sometimes you don't realize how bad you feel until you actually start to feel better.

I remember one time visiting with my psychiatrist when we were trying a new medication. I sat there and teared up while talking about Christmas...a month later. He looked right at me and told me the medication wasn't working, because I shouldn't feel like that. I could feel better and I had no idea. Up until then I assumed the medication was working, and that was how I was supposed to feel.

Humans are not meant to be unhappy. We are social creatures and, as such, should enjoy our lives and each other. Sometimes our bodies need a little help chemically, but that's acceptable. What isn't acceptable is just taking your depression in stride when you could feel so much better. It takes a lot of work to be one of those people who likes feeling bad. I know, because back in high school I was one. But it takes a lot less work to enjoy your life and feel. Which one sounds more appealing to you?

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