Happiness is a choice, a difficult one

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In my first year in college, I was sent to our dorm’s resident guidance counselor.  That’s another word for a “psychologist”… basically, a shrink.  And yes, there are all sorts of stigma attached to seeing a shrink, but I was glad about it.  You see, I was clinically depressed.

A lot of people think that depression is something that can be easily cured — that you just need to snap out of it! But the truth is, it’s not a simple wound that can be mended with medicine or that heals with time.  It’s more like a state of being that doesn’t seem to simply leave you, even if you don’t want it in your life.  It comes and it goes.  And when it comes, it feels like everything has lost its meaning, and that you are at the center of that loss, as if it’s your fault and so you don’t deserve to have existed in the first place. You feel as though the whole world is a threat, that the cosmos conspires to take away the very people that you love, the very things that make you happy.

I remember thinking about suicide many times in high school. I wasn’t the stereotypical emo kid. I was one of the bright ones. I was a nerd, and I spent a lot of time poring over books in the library. And often, I was left alone. Perhaps it is that alone-ness, that feeling that people avoided you, that made me feel like I was wrong for this world, or for any world for that matter, that I was an accident. This didn’t deter me from forming relationships, though, some becoming more than just friendships. But all too often, the guys I had romantic attachments with didn’t quite know how to love me.. or at least to draw me out of my misery. Thus, despite being with people, I’d never felt so alone.

But these things in my past taught me a lot about living. Through the lenses of depression, I saw what happiness is. That it’s a personal choice. A difficult one. But one worth taking.

You see, I realized that if I stayed in the depths of my despair, I’ll just forever stay there. So I need to climb out of it every single time I fell. And I am mostly alone in the endeavor, that’s true. But there are always people reaching their hands out to me, wanting to help me out of the pit.

It all sounds so simple when I write it down. But really, it is an everyday struggle, especially for someone who has suffered from clinical depression. Right now, my goal is to become a positive force in the universe. I would like to make people feel that they are special, that they are important, that they are loved. I simply wouldn’t want anyone go through what I have been through… and what I still go through sometimes. But as much as this is a difficult choice, it could also be a very simple one. It is this: it’s dark down there, it’s time to climb out into the light, and here’s my hand, I can try to help you out, but you’d have to climb up, yourself.

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