A girl with too many thoughts...

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Is Happiness Really a Choice?

Recently, I've seen a lot of things on Twitter etc. saying that 'happiness is a choice' 'you must CHOOSE to be happy', and it got me thinking...

You see, I don't necessarily agree with these statements, is happiness really a choice? Surely if it was, we would all just choose to be happy, right? But we aren't all happy. Some of us suffer from mental health conditions such as depression. We want to be happy but something in our mind is just stopping us from achieving this, and instead we continuously feel low. Do you not think if we could CHOOSE for that feeling to go away, if we could CHOOSE to not suffer from depression, then we would without hesitation?

We aren't always in charge of how we feel, especially when it comes to mental health conditions. Trust me, if I was in charge of my feelings and emotions then I would most certainly choose not to feel anxious over the most irrelevant and irrational things. I would choose not to overthink every tiny detail, every interaction that I have with people. Surely if I could choose not to wake up one morning and feel like crying my eyes out for no apparent reason, then I would? Or if I could choose to feel confident instead of feeling inferior when comparing myself to others, there would be no question about it. But the reality is, I can't always choose how I feel.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding something here or possibly misinterpreting the message of these quotes. However, every time I come across something that says 'happiness is a choice', I instantly think to myself 'that's not always true'. Every time I am told 'I am in charge of my emotions', I think 'I wish I was!' (things would be a whole lot easier if I was!). Sometimes, it only ever feels like my emotions are in charge of me, rather than the other way around...

Surely it is phrases such as this that contribute to the stigma around mental illness. If we all go around telling people that they could be happy, if only they chose it - what does that say to the sufferer? Are we putting the blame on them? Are we telling them it is THEIR fault that they are unhappy, that THEY are the ones that CHOOSE to be ill? Do sayings like this initiate (or at least contribute) to feelings of guilt and shame amongst mental health sufferers? Or am I taking this far too personally and reading into it more than I should?

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