This Is How I Learned To Be Happy

I’ve lost about three years of my life. I chose to. It’s often easier for me to hide away, to drink my vodka, to become an unapproachable person to lovers or friends. The vices I’ve come to heavily depend on never lose their luster, even now. They consume me night and day, leading me to give up because so much has already been severed and destroyed.

It’s almost been two years since I separated from my husband, and that period ruined me. I became despondent and depressed. I felt anxiety constantly. I lied continually to protect my bad habits—they were the only things that kept me from thinking about the beautiful life I had anticipated in becoming a wife. I wasn’t happy in my marriage, and my husband didn’t know how to help change that.

I quickly became the “identified patient” in the relationship, hearing repeatedly that I was sick and too sad to be dealt with. I soon lost parts of my family due to the behaviors I was developing. I wasn’t myself because I was hardly sober or happy. I tried so many times to get help or to find the right remedy, which there seemed to be none.

There were countless days I became comatose, tucked in bed, away from the world. I couldn’t grasp how anyone was happy. Weren’t they scared of death and failure like I was? How did they cope with the hurt I felt, and assumed everyone must feel, too?

I wasn’t always depressed, but I was more often than not. I understood how difficult it was to be in a relationship with a person who can’t feel joy, which made my inability more crippling. I saw how hard it was on the people who loved me, to continually forgive and try to find me a method of getting better. I became bitter at those people, thinking they should be able to do something, while acknowledge that I was the one who had to solve my problems.

Happiness doesn’t come easily for some people. Whether it is a past trauma or mental incapacity to accept joy, certain individuals struggle with feeling that life is good. I have been one of those people my entire life. There were moments in which I felt happy and whole, but I found they faded too quickly.

I found an anti-depressant that finally worked for me and began taking anxiety medication a few months back. These things are well and good, but they don’t solve the problem entirely (though I’ve personally found they help put me in a mindset that is willing to find other, non-medical solutions to my mental issues).

After going through a program for alcohol addiction, I discovered that meditation and mindfulness were crucial to my healing. By allowing myself to mentally approach my fears and anxiousness, I can better understand where my irrationality towards life comes from.

I began to learn acceptance. The problems I have can be met with understanding and willingness to allow them into my mind without destroying me. When I’m feeling low, I’ll visualize my fears, characterizing them and acknowledging that they exist inside me, but they’re not in control of me. After talking down to myself for years, I started telling myself that what I fear is a lie and I don’t need to become a recluse in order to deal with my internal struggle for happiness.

I have off days. Sometimes I allow the negativity to consume me, and change who I am, who I’ve always envisioned myself as. But then I think on the future and what it holds. I allow myself to visualize promising successes and meaningful relationships that will bring stability into my life. I’m finally sitting with myself and examining my mind, accepting the struggle with the success. I’m no longer allowing myself to be viewed as a patient, but instead as a person. What other people spoke into me doesn’t hurt like it used to, because I know who I am and what I’m capable of.

The world is a positive place. It can be beautiful and full of love. I often remind myself that even during the most painful days of my life, at some point I laughed, too. When I felt at my lowest, I also smiled and received love from others.

I can’t say happiness will always come easy to me, but I acknowledge that it exists and I deserve to have it. With the pain comes beauty, and I’m ready to live in the world, no longer hiding under tear-filled sheets. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I’ve had sex on top of a mountain. On literal stone. It was painful.

Keep up with Rebekah on Instagram

More From Thought Catalog