This question haunts me more than any other. I chase happiness like some people chase money, objects, or whatever they really, really desire. Happiness is an elusive concept to understand and attain even if you don’t have any mental issues to speak of but even then I think you can still be anxious and happy.
Being anxious and happy is a hell of a high wire act to pull off. But the reason I believe you can suffer with anxiety in the depths of your soul and still come out on the other side is because the things that make you unhappy, at least with respect to anxiety, are explainable and actionable.
Whaa? Well what makes you unhappy about anxiety? Depression, anxiety (fear) symptoms), apathy, self pity and a couple of other things but those are the majors. Even if you feel anxious continuously for long periods of time I believe you can achieve some inner happiness, relative happiness not so much.
First, for the sake of a well liked reader, yes you can certainly be full blown anxious for months. When I first developed my anxiety disorder I was "sick" with anxiety for 6 months - no bs. I had a constant sense of anxiety dread, tingles, and utter fear for the entire 6 months, but even then I was able to develop a sense of inner happiness overtime.
Relative happiness is the kind you get when you buy something, say shoes or a motorcycle or whatever. It is temporary and subject to the whims of external change. Whereas inner happiness is yours no matter what, like all those fabulous bits of information you learned in school that you can’t use anywhere else, but yours they are.
I’m talking about inner peace and happiness. Now, admittedly you can be a Buddhist monk and never get there, but you can if you try. The fact that you can try should be, I hope, a signal that you can do more to be happy than you’re doing right now.
What makes you really happy inside? Do that. Don’t make everything about anxiety and fear. That doesn’t mean that anxiety won’t jump up uninvited and pounce on your well being, but you also don’t have to stay down. When I said that the major problems of anxiety are actionable I meant that you can take meds, excercise, think positively, get therapy, listen to music, dance, take long drives, whatever works but take action.
Once you begin to DO stuff and stop just analyzing your inner turmoil you will feel happier more of the time. Maybe I’m delusional, but whenever anxiety and depression get the better of me I just wait for it to pass, because it always does. I always say to myself, "maybe tomorrow, or next week, but I’ll bounce back".
Life is so short and then you die. Which in and of itself is another issue, but that’s all the reason in the world to be happy. You are alive and should rejoice in that fact. You know life in a dungeon might not be worth it in the long run, but you on the other hand are sitting somewhere with an internet connection, not a hole in the ground I assume.
Literally look at the brighter side and realize that the world is not as bad as our inner sadness and fear would suggest. I despair like the next person, but I always air on the side of optimism.
I wrote this because the other day I despaired and felt devastating sadness and took the proverbial look around. I then said screw that I’m going to play with my son and borrow some of his I don’t give a crap cause I’m 3 years old juice. Love it.
Are you feeling down right now? I’ll let you borrow my "happy" song.