For a long time I have always been a firm believer that our happiness is entirely in our own hands. And it is, to some extent. But as someone who went through a hard time and got out of it, I felt like I had a right to judge people who were perpetually down.
You see, when I was a teenager I was a bit...dramatic. Okay, to put it bluntly, I loved self-pity like most my age loved candy. I made no effort whatsoever to try and be happy or to appreciate all that I had, and so I sunk further and further down until it took over my whole life.
I don’t like who I was back then. I resent who I was back then and I have absolutely no patience with her. Now, when I feel down, I jump on it quickly, stamping it out with gratitude journals, relaxation tapes, writing in the sun, breathing exercises, walks and time with friends.
But I forget. I forget that I was handed those tools, I forget that I didn’t find them myself. That it took years of therapy for me to be the happy person I am today. Yes, I work at it, but whenever a sad cloud comes I know exactly what to do. Only because I’ve been there before, and gotten the help I needed. Not because I am working any harder than others at it.
But I didn’t think about it like that until yesterday. Instead I went around pompously patting myself on the back for being happy, and judging those who weren't.
I realised how wrong I was yesterday though, when someone I love; the strongest, most giving person I know who has never wasted a moment on self pity; told me that they were sad. And had been for a while.
And it shook me to my core. I wasn’t surprised; I mean I had guessed it, deep down in that dark place you try not to acknowledge. But I couldn’t comprehend it. It shattered all of my previous views and I realise just how wrong my old attitude had been.
Being depressed isn’t weak. It doesn’t mean you’re not working hard, or are just ‘feeling sorry for yourself’. It means that you’re human. And sometimes life is tough. And sometimes we can’t go through it alone. Most people aren’t given the tools that they need to get through sad times, they don’t come naturally. It’s not an instinctual thing to be able to control your emotions effortlessly, or even with a hell of an amount of work.
Sometimes we need help. We need someone else to show us what to do to pull ourselves out of it. And there is nothing wrong with that.
In fact, asking for that help? I think that it’s one of the bravest things that a person can do.