I hate the constant stream of positivity that emanates from the vacuous Facebook posts like the one above. Trust me, if it were that easy to “be happy” more of us would do it. The advice to quit your job or simply remove the negative people among other platitudes is not only first class horseshit, it is patronising in the extreme.
At this time of year there is added pressure to be happy, to get involved with the festivities and be a little bundle of joy. Well I hate to break it to the little elves that Christmas and New Year are both horrible times for people like me who live on the dark end of the mood spectrum.
A report out today from “The Blimming Obvious School of Thought” informs us that “domestic violence, alcoholism, depression and anxiety conditions, alienated youth, exam-mania” can cause people to be unhappy. You’d be as well adding in the death of your beloved pet Fluffykins to the mix as useful as it is. While I always welcome any evidence that shines a light on the need for more open conversations and calls for funding in the area of mental healthy, I feel more patronised by this type of report than anything else.
While most people see Christmas and New Year as a time for celebration and kids, I see it as a stark reminder of empty chairs round the table, lost memories of being happy and optimism for the future. These are more difficult as each year passes. I live in a mind-frame now that has forgotten he feeling of being a kid and enjoying the magic of Christmas – and no “It’s a Wonderful Life” won’t even hit the reset button before you mention it.
As I get older the ice seems to be moving over me and freezing emotions and positive memories leaving me feeling empty. When once they were days of joy they are now grey and empty. I love my kids and to see them happy is great but I’m still deeply unhappy at this time of year.
I used to enjoy New Year – it heralded a fresh start, new page to write on, but having wished away the last three years of misery this will just be another consigned to the “shite” pile with low expectations for 2017. Every year since 2013 has been tough and I kept thinking that there was a light (however dim) at the turn of the year. Not anymore. You can only take so many kickings before you resign yourself to your lot.
Do I want to be happy? I don’t even know anymore. Part of me has actually forgotten what it is to be truly happy as I can find issue, fault and problems in almost any situation. Regardless of the opportunities life gives me I seem to fuck them up or pick at them until they unravel. And I hate myself for it. Others hate me for it too. I know I hurt those around me with my attitude and outlook on life, but I struggle to see the world in another way – or certainly quick enough to stop me from blurting out the bile I do.
Christmas and New Year see that forced fun that I really struggle with. Maybe drink used to disguise or help me get through them, but as a teetotaler I can’t help but bring the mood of the room down. Probably the reason why there are so few invitations for me at this time of year. Also I’m at other people’s celebrations with the band and have lost my enthusiasm for being the one celebrating and instead enjoy the performance part instead. It means I’m not forcing myself to make small talk or be the only sober one at the table.
And that is the main problem. While others can move away from me, I am stuck with this voice in my head that points out cynical views, sarcastic remarks and angry tones. People don’t want to be around it – but neither do I. The solution? I don’t know what that could be or how to achieve it. At the moment it just feels like getting out of bed and hoping I make it through each day to return to bed again. That’s not on any Happiness Index, but is the reality for many people like me.