Monday, March 5, 2012

Don't worry! Be happy!

Voltaire quote | source
Hard to argue with that, isn't it? It sounds like such good "mindfulness" advice. (And happiness is good for your health.) But anyone who has struggled with clinical depression can tell you that being happy is not always something one can simply choose to be.

Believe me, if it were a simple matter of choosing (always) to be happy, I'd be ALL OVER THAT!

I suppose that, by choosing to reach out when I need help, take meds as appropriate, I am, in a sense deciding to be happy. But the quote implies that people with mental illness choose to be that way.

Then there's this kind of thing.

It implies that depression is caused by obsessing on past hurts, to which the pat response is, "Get over it." Over the years, I've come to wonder if it isn't sometimes the other way around; it's hard to let go of our past when all we feel is pain, self-loathing and despair. It is human tendency to look for causes, so looking to our past is a way of trying to untangle the knot of depression.

Having said all of that, I will reiterate one of my favourite Bible quotes:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8
Although it also points to mental discipline, it doesn't point the finger at the sufferer, or even suggest that it is a cure for depression.

1 comment:

  1. Like everything in life, I suppose, we get some choices and some things are imposed on us. We can affect our level of happiness within the constraints of our environment. I suppose prisoners in Auschwitz had a tough time "just being happy," just as clinically depressed people have challenges. But once we accept the things we cannot change, we can choose to make choices that will build up ourselves and those we love.


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