100 Happy Days

So, Steam is down for routine maintenance so I’m left with nothing to do so decided to write a post I’ve been thinking about for a very long time.

 If you are my facebook friend, or you follow me on instagram you may remember that I took part in the 100 Happy Days challenge earlier this year. It’s something I found to be incredibly helpful and grounding, if anything. However it’s come to my attention that many people view this to be “shallow” from what I’ve seen on facebook and from what people have said to me.

The people behind this mainly are those who claim anxiety and depression as shields to hide behind. That may seem incredibly harsh of me to word it like that, but having been in that mindset I know it all too well. A joke offends you because it’s about mental health and you have a mental health issue. Someone who doesn’t have much experience with your specific illness so they must be “ignorant” of the entire mental health spectrum. The 100 Happy Days challenge is “shallow” because it’s claiming that you can just choose to be happy when that’s not the case regarding depression (amongst other illnesses). 

Things like the 100 Happy Days challenge, or the “3 positive things a day status” that lasts a week and you nominate people to do it are not a “Screw you, we’ve found the cure to depression”. They are a way of reminding yourself about the positive things in life and the things that you have that are good in your life.

Also, these things are not solely for people with mental health problems. These are things that have been developed in general to encourage positivity in life when all too often here in the UK – and I’m sure many other “first world” countries – lack. Someone asks you how you are and if you’re doing well you say “Well, I’m not bad.” 

Having a look back at my 100 happy days challenge, some of them were incredibly basic things. My bed, for example, when I wasn’t feeling very well. Having coffee with a friend. Things that are very often taken for granted as being part of our daily routines to the point we forget just how blessed we are. 

Depression is hideous. It’s black and it’s pain and it’s numbness all at the same time and it does not make sense. However, this challenge and many like it are not trying to belittle what you feel or the intensity in which you feel it. 

Story time, because we all know I love telling stories. With my depression has come memory loss. I don’t think I could tell you a single thing I did in the year 2012 bar the fact I went on holiday to the USA. 2012 was a black year for me. It was when I gave myself the scars that are permanently on my body. It was the year I had decided on several occasions that life was not worth living anymore and it was the year I told my mother that she was selfish for having me because I didn’t ask to be born into this world and I was needlessly suffering because of that. I had given up completely and it was the worst thing I think I’ve ever experienced, and if you know some of my back story that’ll give you an indication of how bad this was. However, I wish I’d had something like 100 Happy Days to focus on in 2012. Because I got so wrapped up in my own pain and suffering that I was convinced nobody had felt like I had in the history of ever and that I had nothing good going for me. I was ill and I was stubborn and I wouldn’t listen to anyone. I wish I’d had something that forced me to look into every single day and find something good about it. Even if it had been 100 different pictures of my bed. I’m not saying that would have cured my depression, far from it. It may have however lead me sooner to my epiphany that I needed serious help before it actually happened considering it happened lying in a hospital bed in A&E explaining to a doctor that yes I did want to kill myself but at the same time I really did not want to kill myself and I needed help.

And you know, maybe it wouldn’t have helped. I’ll never know. But I know for one thing that it is not shallow or selfish to want to find happiness in your life. You can’t magically flick a switch and be like “hey, I’m going to be happy today” but in the same way you can’t sit in the dark your whole life acting like because you can’t see the issue means it doesn’t exist. 

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