man reaching out for ball of light meant to be happiness

Happiness...That Fickle Thing of Mine

Last updated: October 2022

Happiness. That thing that we crave and look for. It’s there and then in a heartbeat, it’s gone. I often ‘lose my happy’. I took this line from one of my favourite films, ‘We Bought A Zoo,’ as it sums up my emotional state so much of the time.

Where did my happy go?

A few years ago, getting more and more miserable, my then consultant offered me anti-depressants, which I refused to take. "Of course you are depressed. Anyone would with cancer would be," I was told. But I was convinced that it was the drugs. (I mean the oral chemotherapy I take daily. I refer to them as my drugs. I don’t mean illegal drugs!) Not me. I am a happy person. Well, I thought I was. I used to be. But they didn’t listen. Didn’t pause to think that maybe it was a side effect of the drugs. Or that maybe they do impact on how a young person feels. But no. Much easier to write a prescription than to actually take the person in front of you as an actual person, rather than a medical file.

A chance appointment with a different consultant who actually listened to me halved the dose immediately and then took me off them completely to see if it was me or the drugs. After 10 days of being chemo free, I got my happy back. It’s the drugs. It’s not me.

Reasons why my happy leaves

I spend quite a lot of my time trying not to lose my happy. I don’t like being miserable. And so often, I’m fine. And then suddenly I’m not. Normally, it’s news about others that can trigger it. Marriage. Babies. These things I want and don’t have. I’m not allowed to have babies at the moment. But that’s another post.

And exhaustion. That’s a happy stealer. Moment by moment the happiness fades and ‘the darkness’ takes over. This is another phrase I have adopted that a comedian uses to talk about depression. And I feel so heavy. Everything is an effort. I cry a lot. But that’s not me. That’s chronic fatigue. I’m not that person. I’m happy.

But... the reality is that as much as I want to hang on to my happy, it flits off, and I lose it.

Being aware of my happy

I don’t know if I’m so aware of me, myself, and my happy because of living with cancer for so long, from a young age. I am an old head on a younger body. Or maybe it’s because I’m a therapist. You have to be self-aware. You are taught it. And if you aren’t, you fail the course.

I’ve had to deal with things so many of my peers haven’t. It’s made my sole focus to be happy. It’s why I gave up being employed in an industry I didn’t care about and bit the bullet to study again as a Naturopath. It’s why I am not prepared to do things that don’t make me happy. It’s why I aim to find it. To hold on to it. And to really try not to lose it. At least, not for a while.

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