Thursday, 24 March 2016

Little Victories: How to be happy or at least less sad.

There's this strange phenomenon that exists among the mentally ill, you see somehow despite being depressed and even suicidal, these are some of the happiest people I know and it's all about learning to appreciate the little victories.

There's something about sitting up at night and wondering which would be more practical, swallowing bleach or cramming painkillers that turns you into some sort of sun-beam-earth-child. I can say, hand on heart, that I'm so much happier now than I ever was before my world came crashing down 2 years ago. It's complicated, I know, but it's a way of life I think the non-dysfunctional should take on too. 

"Little victories" is a phrase I use just about every time a friend comes to me with a problem. I'm certain it drives them mad, I don't care, sorry guys. (Yes it is a piece of wisdom I gained from an episode of Scrubs, because where else?)

We live in this era where it's become cool to hate things unless they're pre-approved and somewhat edgy and to be honest it's just unhealthy. At any given time, on any given day, I can promise you there will be fresh cut flowers in my bedroom and ridiculously patterned socks on my feet. Currently I have pink roses in my room and owls on my socks. I love Frank Sinatra and cartoons made for children in the 90's and some days, when I couldn't possibly be doing much worse, these are my little victories. They prevent my days from feeling like a total loss and if that's all I'm given then that's what I'll take. I appreciate nature more than ever and the parts of life that would understandably irritate the average person, like surprise road works that last way too long, genuinely make me laugh because life in all it's frustrating and unpredictable glory is uncontrollably beautiful and I wish more than anything that more people would see life this way. 

Our lives are full of horrendous events and the most minor inconveniences, some we can't control in any way and yet still allow our entire being to be consumed by them. For the people who go through life blessed with only minor inconveniences, complaining is like second nature. The world would be a much happier place for them if they considered the little victories during an otherwise shitty situation; I promise you there will always be a little victory in there somewhere. 

The fact of the matter is that you just can't win every time, a lesson some of us have had to learn the hard way, but complaining is never ever going to fix it, it's only going to further embed the negativity you feel into your mind and prevent it from escaping. Most days I feel as if a small black cloud is following me around, my family joke that I am the human embodiment of Eeyore, but without a doubt I am an optimist (at least for things that don't involve my questionable mental health). A while ago I caught myself an aggressive northern cold and as a weak southerner it floored me, and a friend was genuinely surprised that I'd said it was okay; at least I was enjoying getting to do nothing. The truth is, you don't know how good life can be until you've seen it at its worst, and pretty quickly it gets easy to be grateful for whatever you're given. In the end that's all it ever comes down to, gratitude. 

The greatest advice I could ever give is this, take some time everyday to enjoy life for all it is, even at its worst, at its most inconvenient and painfully irritating. Take a deep breath and stare at the sky and realise that nothing is worth allowing yourself to be broken down by parts of life you just can't fix. Whatever it takes, whether it's ridiculous socks or vegetables that look like they have faces (god I love those), learn to appreciate the little victories and the beauty life has to offer because, honestly, life is so damn short.

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