Thanks to @nylontoast for letting me use this INCREDIBLE artwork.
Disclaimer: depression is an illness. I know this; I’ve been in the grips of it, and when you’re that deep and that hollow, it’s very difficult to get out. Maybe you need medication, or therapy, or time and support, or a mix of all of that. Whatever you need, you go ahead and you do it. This blog is taking another angle, and it might help you too, but it might not, and that’s okay. This blog is looking at general unhappiness, rather than clinical depression. Okay, we on the same page? Good.
It should also go without saying that these are my opinions and experiences – but here I am, saying it.
I firmly believe that we can be in charge of our own happiness in that instance. It’s well known that humans are prone to putting themselves in shit situations and thinking it’s the only option. I know I’ve done it in the past. I can honestly say that I’ve only felt truly happy as a person for about 18 months. But I soon realised that (aside from the bipolar and the anxiety), I was making myself miserable. I undertook a life audit. I changed a lot.
What Makes Us Unhappy?
I took a step back and, one by one, analysed the things that made me miserable. Here’s a handful of what I found:
Work – I hated my job. I thought I hated the commute, but I do that same commute now and it’s no skin off my nose. I was working long hours in a thankless job for no money. I was lucky enough to find something else, where I could flex my creativity and my talents and really feel like I was making a difference. It’s a trap a lot of people fall in to – and for some there isn’t another option, which is always shitty. Your job is the place you spend the most of your time, so of course it impacts what you’re doing. If it is making you miserable, look for something else. You do not have to put up with people who think they’re better than you; you do not have to make money for people who do not respect you; you do not have to waste 40 hours a week on something that bores you; you do not have to settle because it’s easy. You deserve better. Figure out what you want to be doing, and make a plan for how you’re going to achieve it. Sometimes even just having the plan there can help. Even if you’re not a career person, and you don’t want to be rising through the ranks, and you just want to make money and go home – it’s so important to be working somewhere that isn’t actively detrimental to your mental health.
Money – Live within your means. You do not need expensive things to be happy. More often than not, if you’re buying lots of stuff you can’t afford it’s because a. you’re trying to fix something else by throwing money at it or b. you’re trying to impress other people. Neither one of these things will make you happy.
Toxic Relationships – If someone causes you more upset than happiness, cut them out. It’s that simple. If they’re bad for your health or your self-esteem, fuck ’em. Friends, boyfriends, even family – whatever. They are not worth it. You are important, and you are your priority. If you don’t put you first, no-one else will. In a relationship with someone who makes you chase them? BYE FELICIA. Feel like you need to change yourself to fit in with people? TOODLE AND ALSO OO. You don’t need them. When I realised I’d rather have no-one than be surrounded by assholes, my friendship circle suddenly whittled down to pure motherfucking solid gold. Seriously, my friends are the absolute shit. I cannot stress this enough.
Don’t stick with someone because you’re frightened to be alone. You’re fucking brilliant, you’re all you need. It’s a cliche but god damn is it true.
Confidence – This is a bit of a chicken and egg situation, and it’s a tricky one to navigate. I’ve spoken before about how I discovered self-love and body confidence, and how much it changed my life, and I can not overstate it. Take stock of what you love about yourself: your personality, your looks, your talents. Do things that make you feel empowered – for me this is performing and wearing tight clothes on a body I used to hide. Learn to say ‘fuck off’ to the asshole in your head that tells you you’re not good enough. You are not here for long; life is short as shit, so don’t waste any time on hating yourself. It’s not worth it.
If you died tomorrow, would regret not having the ‘perfect beach body’ or would you regret never sunbathing naked? Would you regret eating the calories of a biscoffi krispy kreme, or would you think about all the times you drank good wine with good people and be so happy that you got to experience that genuine connection? At the end of the day, what randoms think of you is not important. You do you.
You Do You – This is my BIGGEST rule. First of all, there is no cookie-cutter person that lives happily ever after. It doesn’t exist. You might think you need to have the perfect relationship, and go on perfect holidays, and live like the family on a christmas card – and hey, some people do have that and it’s great. But you can be a fucking weirdo and be happy. You can be single and be happy. You can be poor and happy, rich and happy, fat and happy, thin and happy, hair and happy, bald and happy, have 25 cats and be happy (I highly advise that one actually). As long as you’re doing it for YOU.
“You can’t mismatch prints!” – you think it looks good? Fucking mismatch those prints. “Chokers don’t suit you!” – DISAGREE. “OMG I could never go two months without shaving.” – K don’t then, tf does it have to do with me? “Feminists aren’t stay at home mu-” let me stop you right fucking there, we’re all feminists and we can do what we like, move along. Guess what – what other people think does not dictate what will make you happy. What society says you should do is not necessarily indicative of what you should do. You know you better than anyone else knows you so please just DO YOU. Big into throat singing? BELT IT. Want to paint hairy nude dudes? GRAB A GOD DAMN BRUSH YOU BEAUTIFUL WEIRDO. Can you imagine how much more interesting the world would be if everyone just went with their gut?
As long as you aren’t hurting anyone else, you damn well do you.
Be Passionate – While we’re on doing you – do it with love. Find something that gives you life and do it. Paint, write, sing, build, dance, programme, clean, organise events, go travelling, watch every film, learn a language – find the thing you love and do it. Because otherwise, what are you wasting your time doing? As I already mentioned – your time is RUNNING OUT, fucking use it.
What makes you happy?