A couple of weeks ago, Lauren Laverne wrote on (GENIUS WEBSITE) The Pool about a Cheering Up List. I’ve always been a fan of these, believing in taking stock of joy and counting blessings. However, I realised as I read this article that I had in fact stopped doing my list (which I had made into a regime following my brief run-in with counselling last year).
I know why this is: I count my blessings when I am happy, not when I am not. This is the opposite of how it’s supposed to go to have any use. A happy person making a list of glorious things in their life is just a smug bitch. An unhappy person can’t see the glory without it spelled out in front of them.
Well, the experiment with managing my mental health with a series of herbal remedies, half-baked meditations and an underlying theme of guilt is over. I don’t want to try and fail to be happy but feel I’m ‘doing the right thing’. I want to be happy.
I feel fairly sure that if I had a chest infection, I would be told to go to the doctor and get antibiotics. Those antibiotics are probably shit for me, awful. But they’re necessary because an untreated illness can turn into something more serious and is just a waste of time in this day and age.
When conversation turns to mental health…nuh. Don’t take the pill. Bad, weak. If you were just more mindful you wouldn’t need to give in to this evil.
Shove off. I’ve put my boyfriend and family through six months of annoying-at-best and worrying-at-worst behaviour. Because I let myself be guilted into the same ideology that’s brought childhood measles back from the future. We fear ‘chemicals’ so much that we forget what people lived with before ‘chemicals’. Disease, infant death, madness.
I’m not going to say that you should always take the pills. I don’t want to do so for my whole life. But being unhappy while you try to force yourself to be happy ‘naturally’ has to be more harmful than a teeny tiny pill every day. This period of my life could easily have lost me my best friend and partner if he weren’t so magical.
Be aware, be mindful, be grateful. But sometimes: just do the obvious thing.