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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Don't Feel Guilty about being Unhappy


In your book DEPRESSION IS A CHOICE you say that your husband is never depressed.Did you feel guilty about your husband ever? What I mean is when you were so depressed all those years.

For myself I keep thinking that this is not the person my husband signed on to marry—someone who is constantly miserable and unhappy. I love him so much that I would rather see him with someone else who does not have this trouble. Someone who is not afraid of so much, afraid to have kids. I feel like such a burden. Also I am deeply embarrassed that I can't control my mind enough to be happy. It's so effing embarrassing.


One of the first permissions I gave myself after I started to get a better handle on my depression was that I don’t have to be happy. It’s not a requirement in order to move ahead with my day. You’d be surprised how much guilt this lifted from my overburdened soul. You can’t just will yourself happy. It doesn’t work that way. Happiness is a byproduct of the relationship between on-purpose thinking and on-purpose behavior.

When those moments of unhappiness come to me, I recognize them and accept them. But I no longer self-focus on them. I no longer further power up the fear factory of stress chemicals by the immediate reactive thought. "Oh, no. Not again!. I quickly move on to something more pro-active and productive. What I found was that no matter how unhappy I get, I can always be cheerful. Just because I get a neurological hit of depression, that doesn’t mean I am therefore compelled to do all the depressive behaviors I used to do in addition to the yucky feelings still blindsided me now and then.

You don't have to be happy, you just have to be cheerful and move forward courageously with your day. You just have to avoid and ignore whatever unhappiness has fallen to your lot. Unhappiness, a feeling, is a product of the subcortex. Cheerfulness, a principle of attitude, is a product of the neocortex.

We have two different chemical factories and we can choose which one we wish to power up by manning one production line or the other, according to the thoughts we choose to think.  “True joy,” says Seneca, “is a serene and sober motion; and they are miserably out that take laughing for rejoicing; the seat of it is within and there is no cheerfulness like the resolutions of a brave mind.”  

A. B. Curtiss

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