Gasp! What? You’re not happy today?
Well, fear not, because there is an abundance of happiness advice readily available in this day and age of social media. There are articles, like “12 Things Happy Moms Don’t do”, and ” 7 Habits of Happy People”, and plenty of quotes to inspire you.
“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” -Aristotle
“You can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will. ” -L.M Montgomery
“Most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” -Abraham Lincoln
So, you see? Feeling happy is under your control. Just be a little more positive, and you’ll feel fine in no time. Right?
You stare at the ceiling, feeling numb. Thoughts that seem miles away float haphazardly around your mind.
I’ve got to get up.
The kitchen is a disaster.
The kids are still in their pyjamas, what kind of mother am I?
Come on! Get up!
“happiness depends upon ourselves”
Well, I guess I am choosing to be unhappy. I am a negative, pathetic person.
I just want to sleep.
Get up, you lazy piece of garbage!
No, no. I’m not garbage.
I’m a good mom.
I can do this.
I’m so tired.
I need some Tylenol. My head hurts.
Happiness depends on you! What’s the matter with you?
You roll over, lie face down and notice your carpet needs vacuuming. This thought pulls at the ever tightening knot in your stomach. A pang of dread mixed with fear turns your hands to ice cubes, and gives you the motivation to stand up. The clock reads 10:00a.m.
If you can manage to be heading to the park by 10:30 a.m, it might not be too hot yet. You and the girls might still have fun. Your parenting might still fall within acceptable range, if you make it out the door by 10:30 a.m.
You bribe the girls with gummy vitamins to get their pjs off as fast as they can, and frantically clean the kitchen.
By 10:27 am you’ve cleaned, dressed kids and ushered them to the front door. As your older daughter struggles with her sandals, you realize you’ve forgotten the sunscreen. Racing to fetch it from the washroom, you catch a glimpse of the clock. 10:31 a.m. You run back to your girls, throw all the shoes they’ve messed up back on the shoe mat, slather on the sunscreen a bit too thickly, and bite back the urge to yell as you tell your children to walk out the door. You brush aside a nagging thought that you are being insane, and hurry the girls to their stroller. Then, it’s the buckles. They get you every time. Your head spins, and it’s almost like you can’t see enough to do them up efficiently. You pull and nudge and struggle, and wonder why this seems like the hardest thing in the world to do.
Finally, you’re off. You sweat as you push the stroller uphill. The heat of the sun on your face irritates you, even though you normally love sunbathing. You stop and pick flowers for your girls. Yesterday, seeing the look of joy on their sweet faces as they examined, sniffed and got excited over simple, pretty flowers was deeply satisfying to you. Today, it feels like going through the motions.
Yesterday, you saw a cardinal perched just above you in a fragrant, blooming cherry tree. You were moved by the beauty of nature as you pointed him out to your amazed little girls.
Today, you hear one singing in the distance, but you just don’t have the energy to look for him. The sweat on the back of your neck makes you itchy, and irritated. You want this park excursion to be over. You feel uncomfortable, anxious, and in the background, guilty.
Yesterday though, things were different. Yesterday you laughed and chased your daughters around the park. Today, you’ll be counting the minutes until it is time to leave. You can try with all of your might to get the magic back from yesterday, but it’s gone. For now. The best you can do is hope it will return tomorrow.
Even in the depths of despair that is depression, I think it is possible to find hope. Choosing to be happy though? I really do not believe it’s that simple. And really, that is OKAY. The message that it’s okay is a message that those with mental illness desperately need to hear. It’s okay. It’s not your fault. Have hope, and tomorrow might just be the most beautiful day ever.
“He who has experienced the deepest sorrow is best able to experience extreme happiness.” Alexandre Dumas
Thanks for reading!