I Want to Be Happy; It’s Not My Fault I Can’t Be Happy
I want to be happy. It’s been a long time since I, genuinely, have been. Yes, the bipolar medications do their job and keep me alive; and yes, I’m less depressed than when the bipolar medications weren’t working, but, still, I’m not happy. And while some people seem to think differently, I really, really want to be happy. It’s not my fault I can’t be happy.
I Remember Happiness; That’s Why I Want to Be Happy
I do remember happiness. Happiness is actually a complicated thing that most people have no idea that they’re even feeling. I have a strong memory of being happy and that’s how I know I want to be happy. It was when my friend told me she was pregnant and I actually felt happy for her. When I told her I was happy for her, I didn’t just philosophically mean it, but I actually felt the happiness. It was magical. Again, most people would not recognize this magic, but I certainly do. People only truly see their happiness after they’ve had a period when it’s gone. Luckily, most people do not have those periods for any length of time.
People Think It’s My Fault I’m Not Happy
The thing is, I think sometimes people think I don’t want to be happy and that not being happy is somehow my fault. People always think that just thinking can change their mood. These are the types of comments that indicate people think it’s my fault I’m not happy:
- Oh, just turn that frown upside down.
- Just reframe the issue.
- Look on the bright side.
- Start a gratitude journal.
I know I want to be happy, but these comments suggest that really I don’t. These comments suggest it’s a simple thing to just “be happy” and anyone can do it. I agree. Anyone with a neurotypical brain can do it. But that’s not me.
It’s Not My Fault I Can’t Be Happy
What I really want people to know is that I want to be happy and I have done everything possible to try to make that happen. The fact I can’t be happy isn’t my fault. It’s not that I haven’t been to therapy – I have, for, like, a decade. It’s not that I haven’t tried different treatments – I have, more than I can count. It’s not that I haven’t tried the above ideas – I tried things like that over and over. Nothing works. If it were simply a matter of really wanting to be happy, I would have been happy from the start. If it were simply a matter of “reframing” things, I would be happy. Believe me, I look on the bright side everyday but that does nothing to fix my brain.
I think people don’t want to conceptualize a world where one, physically, can’t be happy. It ruins their little fantasy that their emotions are really theirs to control. These people are wrong, of course.
I guess there are some people out there who wallow in unhappiness. I don’t know any, I’m not one of them but I suppose they exist. But my belief is that everyone want to be happy. Everyone. Simple, little trite suggestions people got from Oprah are insulting, quite frankly. What it says is I’m doing the wrong things or are simply not trying hard enough. These things aren’t true. I want, from the bottom of my soul to be happy – I just can’t be.
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About Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.