Thursday, 19 May 2011

The thing with being happy

The thing with being happy is that you want everyone else to be happy to - so you try to help them to be, and you do nice things to make their day a little easier, a little nicer, a little happier. Generally happy people attract happy people and happy lives - each kind of feeds off the other creating a happy little bubble.

The problem with UNhappy is that the same thing happens - unhappy people attract unhappy people, unhappy lives; unhappiness breeds unhappiness. Depression breeds depression. Misery feeds upon itself and a house where one person is desperately unhappy is effected until everyone is down. 

If you are the happy person and walk into a room where someone is fully embroiled in misery it's very hard to pull that person up to your level of happy - however, sliding down to their level of UNhappy is kind of easy.

That's how depression survives. That's how it kills things and infects every aspect of your life. 

When you're depressed you expect people to dislike you and not want to spend their time with you - and because you expect that you - whether you know it or not - get kind of poisonous to be around. You are grumpy and vicious around people and they try to pull you out of it - but you hold fast to that dark place and send out your cloud until it hangs, grey, over your friend too. Is it any surprise they don't want to be there? It isn't because they dislike you, it isn't because they don't want to help - it's that you aren't letting them; not only that, you're going out of your way to sabotage all the nice things they do and say to try to perk you up. 

I know that I've been very guilty of this recently - either putting a downer on days with friends or just not bothering to see them at all because I've been kind of convinced they don't REALLY want to see me, because they don't REALLY like me - so when I have seen them I've been grim, so they've not enjoyed it - thus I've been making my own mental state into a universal truth. Miserable people with big anger issues are not party people. 

I'm still working on coming out of the other side and I've got some amazing friends and family who are standing by my side chatting to me through it all - I know a lot of people in the same boat, or who were in the same boat. I have a lot of things in my head that I can't seem to shake off but that I know will feel better soon, and starting to talk about them when they pop up helps.

What also helps is the number of people who've contacted me since my first post about PND on here saying that they've felt the same or that they feel the same now. Seeing how many people are effected, and fighting it on their own, makes me want to do something about it. I just don't know what. It helps me to feel like a better human being too - if so many people are struggling it's not that I'm a failure, it's that this really isn't as easy as you think.

I saw an article in a magazine a couple of weeks ago (possibly Take a Break - one like that if not that specific one) and it asked parents if they were happier since they'd had their children - somewhere around 80% said no, they were less happy. That their children bring them more joy than they ever thought possible, but that the added pressures, worries and stress are what they feel most of the time over and above the joy.

What a scary, sad figure.

So what's going wrong? Is it down to the different support networks we have now, is it down to unrealistic expectations? Is it the pressure to be all things - working woman, superMum, all round good egg? Is it simply that we've forgotten how to ask for help? I don't know - but I know that PND is a big problem that effects far more women than the figures say - a lot more women are battling it in secret, dark places in their minds and trying to show a "Stepford Wives" face in public.

To all women - mothers or not - I want to say STOP - just stop - take a deep breath, hold your head up and say "Sometimes, life is hard, some days, I struggle, some hours I cry - and that's ok" because if we can't say it, we can't move on - and if we can't move on, where will we all end up?

Today I didn't find it hard. Today was a good day. I hope tomorrow is too.