A few years ago, I was bought a ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ mug for Christmas, and it meant the world to me – not only because of who it was from, but because it was how they saw me – as a little ray of sunshine, someone who was always smiling and who let a little light into other people’s lives.
It’s true, I am a very upbeat person and I see the good in everything and everyone, sometimes to my detriment. I take the hard times on the chin and I try my best to grow through and learn from them. You will never hear me say ‘Why Me?’, it’s not in my vocabulary, and it’s only recently that I realised why – it’s because I am so used to going through hard times, facing things and people that hurt me and battling literally one thing after another that it has become the norm for me.
I saw a meme on the internet the other day that said:
Me: “I’m really happy at the moment”
Life: “Lol, just wait a second”
And it sums me up perfectly right now, but you know what? It’s a meme on the internet for a reason – because so many people can relate to it.
I haven’t always been ‘Little Miss Sunshine’, in fact for most of my life I was angry, bitter, insecure and hated pretty much everything. I thought it was my personality, I even made jokes (and a Facebook Page called ‘Rant’) to cover my appalling attitude towards the world, but it wasn’t my personality at all, it was a deep-rooted sadness that I didn’t know how to deal with.
When my depression hit, it hit hard. Years of living a secret life and putting on a front to the world that I was happy had finally taken its toll, and I simply just did not want to be here anymore. I didn’t know how to be here, I didn’t know how to live a life with a mind that wasn’t filled with darkness. It took a lot of time, a lot of therapy, a lot of pills and a lot of soul searching but I came out the other side and discovered a way of living that gave me hope for the future.
Positivity is a full-time job. You have to get up in the morning and choose to be happy and I tell you what guys, some days that choice is a really tough one to make.
When life is good and you’re in your flow, happiness comes naturally and when happiness comes naturally, life is good – that’s just how it works, but what about when you get thrown a curveball that hits you square in the face? Or worse, in the heart? Are you just supposed to ‘choose’ to hop out of bed like Tigger on acid and skip down the road singing Katrina & The Waves? NO, of course you’re not. Do you know why I choose happy? I choose happy because I know what rock bottom feels like. I know that if I give in to the darkness then the road back there is not so much a neat little path in the woods, but a sharp drop off a cliff back into despair.
If you have depression, or, like me have come out the other side then you know only too well the battle that goes on in your head every day – some days it’s like a game of thumb wars, but others it’s like World War 3 and only you know it’s happening. I really wish that I could tell you that it goes away completely, or that it’s like waving a magic wand and ‘poof’ no more bad thoughts but the truth is, it never does. It is always lurking and waiting to see if it can take hold when that next curveball comes your way. You can’t let it. You have to be stronger than it and that is by far the hardest thing in the world you will ever have to do, but you just have to.
I got thrown a curveball these past few weeks, and it was a big one. You know those Rounders balls you used to have at school? The ones that may as well have been made of concrete? Well, imagine that chucked at you from a tennis ball machine at approximately 400mph and hitting you right in the chest, and we’re along the right lines. I got floored.
I could have easily stayed down. I could have easily let it get the better of me. I could have given into that thought that skipped past for the briefest of seconds and given up, but I didn’t. I couldn’t, and I won’t.
Last week, in the midst of it all I was walking down the road literally sobbing my heart out – right out in public, and as I got onto my road, by some absolute miracle my mom drove past and saw me, pulled over and silently opened the door. I got in, sat down and the pain, worry and trauma that I’d been trying to keep inside just poured out of me. I cannot stress how important it is to speak to someone when you feel that way. It can very literally be life-saving. I share a lot about myself, and it’s not because I don’t know how to be mysterious, or that I’m so self-involved I think everything about my life is hot news, it’s simply that I’ve learned the importance of vocalising my feelings, getting them out and speaking up on them. My strength depends on it because even though my resilience is like the Chuck Norris of the characteristics world, even he could get taken down with a bullet to the head. Know what I’m saying?
Having my friends and family around me, or on the end of the phone has been absolutely essential the past few weeks, and honestly, my reaction to said concrete ball of hell has surprised me. A few years ago, if I had been in the same situation, I would have thought it was the end of the world, but when ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ stepped in, caught the ball and started playing kick-ups with it, no-one was more shocked than me!
I was talking to one of my friends about it and I very calmly said to him, “The Universe has my back, so this is what is meant to be. Yet another thing to make me stronger.” and you know what he said? He said, “Yeah I hear that, but The Universe needs to ease up a bit man”, and I burst into tears.
I hadn’t even thought about it like that! Like I said at the beginning of this post, I am so used to getting hit in the face by life that I just took it as another hurdle to jump over. When he said that, I realised that although this is ‘life’ for pretty much everyone, I’m about ready to stop dodging balls now, I’ve had more than my fair share of them and I need a break. So, I’m going to do the only thing I know how to do, I am going to get back up, dust myself off and keep up my unwavering hope for a bright future, to keep looking for the good in people – even if it’s not there, to keep trusting that everything is for a reason, and to keep choosing happy.
By the way, I bought myself a new ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ mug, because these days, it’s how I see myself and it’s my little everyday reminder of what I have come through and who I have become. She’s alright that bird, I think I’ll keep hold of her.
(‘Happy Thoughts’ Image Credit: http://www.leslieannemadeit.com/product/happy-thoughts-rose-gold-hard-enamel-pin)