*this letter is part of a collection for Suicide Awareness Month. I am not a licensed psychiatrist and none of the advice, recommendations, or resources shared in my response should be considered as a substitute for therapeutic or medical treatment performed by a licensed practitioner.
I wish I could find happiness in this world and I don’t know if I ever will.
Does happiness exist?
Dear Does Happiness Exist?
I was just thinking about happiness the other day. Over the course of a week I kept seeing the same message: “Happiness is a choice.”
And I wondered: is it, really?
Because in my personal experience, it hasn’t been. If I could choose to be happy then I would. My brain won’t let me. No matter how hard I try to *be happy* it doesn’t seem to work for me like it does for other people.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are so many things and people in my life that give me joy. But the in-between moments are when I sink and just kind of feel...nothing. And also everything. If you are reading this and nodding along, I’m going to let you in on a big secret: I am almost afraid to lose that feeling of nothing and everything. Mostly, because I don’t want to ignore my sadness. I want for my sadness to feel acknowledged.
Here is another secret: I am almost positive that happiness does exist and I’m pretty sure it’s in the form of anti-depressants. I am currently searching for the perfect fit, and I have hope that I will find it soon. According to science, what I have (and maybe what you have, too) is called a chemical imbalance. In short: my body can’t create enough of the happiness juice for me to be happy all by myself. It’s a totally normal, human thing!
Being sad for a long period of time is also a totally normal, human thing. Being both sad and happy at the same time is also a completely human thing.
(I watch the movie Inside Out on a monthly basis, just to remind myself that my joy and my sorrow can co-exist, and that sometimes sadness is the only path toward happiness. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend seeking it out.)
Don’t believe the toxic positivity fed to you online, or by people close to you: sometimes you physically are incapable of choosing to be happy, and that’s OK. Also, you are under no obligation to be happy or feign happiness to make others comfortable. And another thing, don't believe the voice in your head telling you that you won't ever find happiness. It may take awhile and a combination of many things—from pursuing your interests to having fulfilling relationships with everyone around you, yourself included.
I am sorry you are in this place of doubt. You are a brilliant human being and you deserve happiness. It will be a journey and a struggle and a hellish fight to find your happiness, but when you do find it, it will be that much more wonderful. Do not lose hope.
Rooting for you,