3 min read

What is happiness?

What makes me happy?
To be honest, I don't know. It's a question I've been asked a number of times and rarely know the answer to. What's happiness even? When you've lived with depression as long as I have, it's kind of hard to figure out what a regular stream of happiness looks like. I remember when I first started dealing with depression and I'd be hyperactive one day and up and about and downright sad the next day. I guess those bouts wore me down over time to the point where the hyperactive days stopped coming and I just stopped caring.

I remember how bad my depressive episodes used to get at my first job. That was around the time I started dealing with suicidal thoughts. I'd be walking on the road and they'd come calling. I never felt that I'd be good enough to leave the job I hated until I eventually did. I thought that would help. Maybe these sad thoughts would stop but I think they intensified. Me having to deal with long commutes and a job that  differed from what I wanted my career path to look like didn't help at all. Getting home by 1:27AM from a job you hate really gets you thinking, usually not happy thoughts. I think this was when I went back to starving myself for days for kicks, maybe some form of excitement, I don't know.

I eventually got a job at a company I'd been dreaming of going to. I was ecstatic about it. I'd tried a couple of times in the past and failed but here I was, finally. I thought I'd stop dealing with these dark thoughts that have plagued me for years, but who would have thought that I'd deal with a depressive episode in under a month of joining. I'd run to a place that I thought they wouldn't find me but there they were, waiting patiently.

Work progressed okay enough for the next year and a half. Episodes were always there and I got through each one. When the next major one hit, I didn't see it coming. It made me feel like nothing mattered, made me wonder what the point of living was. I'd get up from bed each day with this darkness around me, that stayed with me until I went to bed at night. I couldn't tell my friends about it. I mean, it's not like they could do anything. Didn't tell my therapist either since all the sessions we'd had couldn't prevent it. Each day, I entertained the idea about killing myself more, till I eventually decided to tell my therapist about it. I got told that my depression levels were close to being clinical which would have  required medication but I didn't get any. Just had to power through this like I had with the rest.

I did start to feel a bit better the following year. My family had been a huge stressor and I'd just found a house to move to. I was back in a relationship and things seemed to be going fine until I got laid off and then the pandemic hit. I had to spend the foreseeable future with my family again which didn't do so well for my mental health. I got lost in books and Netflix, to help me cope, combined with the job interviews that I had to do. I was in and out of episodes during that period, capped with an existential crisis that pushed me back into therapy towards the end of 2021. I pulled through that too and kept moving on.

I got a job that paid me a lot better but also compounded stress. Working weekends soon became a thing and adding house hunting to the mix did nothing to alleviate what I was going through. I constantly feel like I am in a state of exhaustion that I can't come out from. I've had anxiety attacks, a number depressive episodes, each slowly sapping whatever energy I have left. I can't remember when last it was that I didn't feel this way. Heck, have I ever felt happiness for a long period since when I got into secondary school? Who knows. I guess this is just one of the things I'll have to power through again. Hope I have enough strength left in me to do so.