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Tired of pretending to be happy

I feel like I’ve given up and now I just feel angry. How can I get back on my feet? 

I don’t have the answers, says our elder. But you can take the first steps out of depression.

 

Dear EWC

I spent a majority of my life trying to find my talents, my purpose, what my dreams are, and been trying to know what love is. For the first time I gave up and now I can’t feel any emotions but hate towards myself. I’m not the guy who asks for help because i never trusted anyone and no one would ever understand or they just compare their life to mine. I’m getting tired of forcing a smile on my face when everyone’s around and acting like I’m happy when actually I’m down. The reason why I’m asking for help is because I’m scared of how angry I’ve been getting because all I can think about is just hurting everything around me and most of myself. I don’t think I’m suicidal. I won’t say no more because it’s stuff I keep to myself. I’m not looking to open up because it’ll never work and no one understands. I just need advice – I’ve fallen and just want to get back on my feet.

 

PJH replies

I was deeply saddened by your letter to the EWC but I’m very glad you wrote it. That’s not because I have the answers for you, but because I hope it marked your first step toward finding those answers for yourself. I do know it can be a long road back to a sense of wellbeing, especially if that’s been a rare thing for you, but I trust you’ll agree it’s the right time to begin. 

I’m not a mental health professional, but I do know that for men in particular prolonged depression can lead to a generalized anger that makes everything worse. When you mentioned pasting on a smile I recognized the symptom – been there, known that – and I relate it to being down so long it feels like home. 

If this seems familiar, the important insight is depression is an illness, not the consequence of failing to find significance in our lives – that’s just a common facet of life as we know it. Not to trivialize the Declaration of Independence or the sadness that prompted you to write your letter, but our founding document promises freedom to pursue happiness, no words there about finding it. The secret lies in finding happiness in the pursuit, not the assumption of gaining it – or satisfaction in running the race, not in winning it, a prize that few of us possess for long in this world. 

Please follow up your letter by contacting a mental health service and requesting therapy. I’m confident you will find there are ways out of your self-hatred and anger, and be greatly relieved by taking them.

Article #: 466121

Category: Self-Improvement

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