i am happy

by brogan anderson

I am a happy person. I’m a very fortunate individual and have an awful lot to be grateful for in my life; I have my family, friends, and my general health. I used to blame a lot of my–I call them ‘slumps’–on stress, first with school work, then college work, and now university work, always saying once it’s all out of the way, I’ll feel so much better. And a lot of the time it has been true, and it made sense to believe that my mental health was not in any way compromised.

I am often the barer of good faith, uplifting those around me to ensure their happiness. I will tell people that every day is a new day, they should do better to embrace the good, that bad things happen for a reason, and I will always tell my friends to not be sad. I am the person that will look for the positive in the negative and find the brighter side of a shitty situation. But there is an underlying problem.

I can only thank the greater recognition in today’s society for me to understand myself and my mind better. I used to think I was lazy. As a younger teenager I found the days exhausting, and after school would often find myself passing out after getting in until the next morning. It wasn’t a permanent thing and thought that after a while that I maybe was just under the weather, but I found these phases became a regularity. Not every other week, but every few months but I would continually excuse them as something like ‘that time of the month’, or exams at school.

Fast forward to my twenties, I’m in my final stretch of university life and I’ve learnt a lot about myself. It is the easiest thing to maintain a front of being okay, because I know that really, I am. I just find things more overwhelming than other people do, and that’s okay. Where some people can juggle a billion and one things in a day, I can sometimes only handle one, and that is okay.

I have a heart full of love and an overwhelming number of people that I could not imagine my life without, but in a slump, I just can’t help but be exhausted hearing one of these people with a complaint. I switch off. I cannot physically manifest myself to care. And, in a surprising turn of events, this makes me feel ever-worse, who would have thought it? So I’ve learnt to distance myself when I’m feeling out of sorts. When I’m not feeling like me, I will collect myself into my own world and spend a moment ensuring I am okay.

It’s weird how it works. I’ll go somewhat off grid and physically isolate myself in an attempt to rest my body because my feet and hands have turned into lead. I’ll find it impossible to open my eyes and some days I’ll spend entirely in bed, in the dark, in the silence, drifting in and out of sleep because I’ve become that exhausted and drained despite no physical exertion. And then, one time I’ll wake up, and I’ll be okay. There’s unfortunately no clockwork to it–God knows I wish there was, sometimes it’ll be a day, others, three–but I know the moment will come, I’ve learned to not fight it.

Even on a good day there is this indescribable weight in my stomach. A sickening lump of anxiety sits in my throat because of all the challenges my day faces. Sometimes the anxiety of getting up, showering, doing my food shop; all these little things will consume my mind, and cause me to become agitated and stressed out. I used to think I was being dramatic, and while not severely affected by it, the changing attitude in this day and age, has allowed me to accept that it’s just a part of my make up.

I am grateful to live in a time that there is a greater respect and understanding toward people who can occasionally find it difficult to function on day-to-day tasks because of factors that are not visible to the eye. Every day that I grow and understand myself better also, it becomes easier to live with and manage, and I don’t worry about my future. These aren’t bad things; they are just things. I am a happy person.