For a while now, I've been dealing with depression.
I've found myself longing for perpetual happiness, yet fearing it at the same time.
Wondering if I would ever feel it. Scared that if I did, it would eventually leave me.
All too often, whenever I felt an inkling of happiness or excitement, for whatever reason a part of my brain would immediately squish it down. I would say to myself, "Why are you smiling? You're not happy," which for the most part was true, but what I didn't realize was that I didn't have to be UNhappy all the time.
I had somehow drilled it into my head that because my soul wasn't joyous, those brief moments of happiness weren't real. Weren't valid. Weren't permanent. That they didn't matter because once they were gone I would be left the same. Empty, tired broken, numb. I wasn't really happy.
Aside from this, I had generally been making a conscious effort in my life to get better, to love life again, to be less depressed. I wanted to beat it. I was trying get better, yet I kept on rejecting happiness because I thought "One day, I'll truly feel happiness but I'm not happy right now." I pushed it away for fear that it wouldn't stay.
These fears did nothing for me—unsurprisingly. Doubting didn't make me feel any better. In hindsight, it all stunted my growth; I was digging myself into a deeper grave. I was making myself feel worse than I needed to. I don't blame myself though, it's only human nature to amend our behavioural patterns; once you feel pain you don't want to get hurt again in the same way.
Bad experiences put us on the defence. They make us adapt. Some of my bad experiences included abandonment issues from my father leaving at a young age, getting bullied at one of my schools, and living with an alcoholic step father right after I left that school.
After all of this I became more reserved, less bubbly, more secluded (this, I believe, was a direct coping mechanism I used when I was being bullied), less myself and more depressed. Constantly riddled with a residual sadness. Sometimes numb, sometimes just empty. Tired.
So after months upon months of this, and my unhelpful habit of shooing away happiness, I started to ask myself what the harm would be if I allowed myself to feel happiness. If I stopped swimming against the tide and started flowing with it.
I was denying myself actual happiness for a warped perception of what I thought joy should look like.
It doesn't have to be a battle.
For those of us who have suffered a lot in our lives, pessimism is a byproduct that is very likely to occur. In fact, if you are constantly suffering you may even—justifiably—perceive it as realism. After time and time again of pain, you start to believe that the good times won't last, because so far you've been treated like life's biggest joke. So why would it stop now?
But I urge you to take a leap. And be. Let the moment and the emotions wash over you and don't chase it away.
Granted, it's easier said than done, and whatever deep psychological trauma you may have will have to be fixed with more than just a positive attitude. But aside from this, let it be.
The more happiness you accept, the more happiness you will receive.
By accepting that it may pass, knowing that it's okay for one's happiness to leave, then maybe in that, the happy moments will occur more.
I'm not sure where this happiness comes from exactly. Perhaps it comes from the ease that your spirit feels when you don't worry about what comes next.