What is happiness? And how do I get it? I’ve been told happiness is something you need to “find” but I’ve never been told where to look.
As someone who has struggled with depression, finding happiness seems just as impossible as going to Hogwarts. Actually, I used to think the two shared a very similar characteristic. They were both fictitious. Now that I understand what happiness is, I realize that is not the case. That being said, getting my letter to Hogwarts would most definitely make me happy, but I digress.
Growing up my parents listened to a lot of Joni Mitchell, and her famous line, “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone”, is something I often think about in relation to happiness. You don’t really realize you’re happy until your not. I guess if your search for happiness starts at a low, then you can truly appreciate the high.
My personal search for happiness starts in a Tim Hortons line up, and ends with a medium french vanilla. No, but I wish.. It really does start at Tim’s though. I was standing in the lineup waiting for the worker to take my order when the woman behind me gets irritated and moves closer to me. I’ll never understand why people think that crowding the person in front of you will make a line move faster, because it won’t. It doesn’t matter if you’re standing on my shoulders, you still have to wait your turn! (Side note: The majority of my anxiety comes from invasion of my personal space.) So, I start to get anxious and my hands get cold and shake. All I can focus on is how close she is to me and how I can feel her breath on the back of my neck. I start to get really warm, then dizzy, then my peripherals blur. I
sprint quickly walk, (I don’t run.) to the bathroom where i barge into a stall and end up with my face in the toilet.
You’re probably wondering what this story has to do with my search for happiness, seeing it’s not very happy. It was this event that lead me to my doctors office, which was where I found out that I had anxiety and depression. Now you’re thinking, “Oh! This is the low”, but no. Unfortunately it is not..
During this doctors appointment my doctor suggested I go see a therapist, so I booked an appointment. I did not want to go. I was scared I would go and the therapist would call me “crazy” and lock me up. Well, I did go and thankfully, the therapist didn’t lock me up. She did however tell me that my depression couldn’t be fixed and that I should just take meds to try and keep it at bay. This was the low. I felt like I was broken. I was chemically missing something inside. A medical professional told me I wouldn’t get better. I was devastated. I felt like I had been kicked while I was down, then pushed into the ocean without a lifejacket. I had no idea what to do, and didn’t know how to deal with the things that were happening in my mind. Thats when the insomnia took shape. I’d always had trouble sleeping, but now I wasn’t sleeping at all. I was constantly tired, and I felt like I needed an IV of coffee to keep me going.
It slowly started to get better. I eventually found another therapist, who was much more optimistic, and my roommate was amazing. She was perfectly okay with me tinkering with my latest DIY project at all hours of the night, and was always up for 1am mini pizzas. Staying busy was the first step on my way to happiness. I would keep busy by working more, and reading more, and doing crafts, and crafts, and crafts, and crafts… I got quite into crafts. It fair to say that everything I could possibly cover in burlap or twine, was covered. My room now looks like a cabin. But when I finished a project, or a book, or got a bigger paycheque, I felt like I accomplished something. That made me happy.
Since then I realized that happiness isn’t something you can find in one place. It may have taken me falling down the rabbit hole to discover this but it was worth it. Now even on the days that start with spilled coffee and rainy skies, I can find something good. I guess the thing to remember is, there are little pieces of happiness spread out through your life, you just need to open your eyes and find them.