What makes me happy?

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    I don’t know whether I am coming or going. I don’t think I am happy in my relationship, I have very few friends, my boyfriends dad has a couple of months to live having just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, I have been off work for 4 weeks and just been signed off for a further 3 weeks as I have severe to moderate depression. I actually think I have had a breakdown. It started in February, I wanted to end the relationship with my partner as I feel it is dead end and I have issues with his mother (i.e. she calls me names and emotionally bullies me), I got him to move out and felt relieved and then incredibly lonely so I got back with him (within 2 weeks). He is a nice guy and emotionally supportive but I have no family and he is a only son and he loves his family too much perhaps. Part of the depression arose because of my new job, it was a promotion that occurred six months ago and it’s ended up being a none-job, i.e. we are waiting for other teams to tell us what to do and part of the time I’m twiddling my thumbs (despite asking for more jobs). I have further education exams coming up this month and early next month and I think I reached a point where I couldn’t cope with anything anymore and I had a meltdown. I’ve been on anti-depressants for 2 weeks and yesterday I thought I had reached a decision to quit my job (it’s 25 miles away) and get a local less paid job. I love my art hobby and my teacher told me yesterday that my final project (a painting) was really rather good; I thought I should dedicate more time to making me happy not doing things that may pay but ultimately bring me hassle. I’ve decided for the moment I cannot end the relationship, not 100% sure why – I don’t think it’s loneliness, I am alone from 8.30am to 8pm M – F as my boyfriend is at work and the hospital, then I am alone the majority of Sunday and Saturday I visit the hospital. I applied for a promotional job in the team (in February) I used to work for (I loved the team and the job) and today I found out I got it from my only work mate; it’s a £5K per annum pay rise but still 25 miles away and it will probably involve overnight stays and challenging conversations with clients. My work mate has asked me to ring the line manager (who is lovely and used to be in my old line management). Before my breakdown I so wanted this job, I had applied for it twice before. I really don’t know what to think or feel? I don’t know what to do. I don’t know whom to speak too. Why can’t I cope?

    Deep Blue

    Hello Suze..

    I’m sorry to hear the situation you are in. In my humble opinion you need to start thinking more for yourself. You need to get the balanced mind by doing what you love most. You said that your boyfriend is emotionally supportive to you, be grateful for that. Talk to him about this and let him know that this support is very important for you. On the other hand, work on yourself. Sit still and clear up your mind. Get used to this, it will help you.
    One of the best advices I can give is this: Detach yourself from everything around you, find your inner peace. I know its easier said and done, but I know you can do it.
    All the best…



    Sometimes, it does seem as if chaos has control of our lives. However, all control is an illusion and our harmony is always attainable. Also, because every situation is unique, only WE can ever know best how to remedy our own complications. Since I am not as capable as others, I find that writing down (all) my issues and their pros and cons greatly help. After I do so, I regard which route(s) will offer me the most contentment.

    I hope this helps.



    Dear Deep Blue and Al
    Thank you for your advice. Deep Blue, yes I do need to start thinking more about myself and Al, yes it’s only me who can make my decisions based on my unique needs and wants.
    My imbalance seems to me to be a conflict between my inner world and outer world (I’m an INTP). My mind is interested in bigger picture ideas, such as population growth, food shortage/manufacture (don’t get me started on sugar or battery hens), rich/poor, morals in the bible, the venus project (a world without money and territory – possibly world peace). My current job and my future job add nothing to my beliefs. I feel a lot of the time that a) my life hasn’t turned out the way I wanted and b) my life is not contributing to either help people or the environment.
    I feel so different when I compare myself to others who seem happy with the rat race and their new car. I want to step off the rat race wheel – I don’t know whether this is my depression or how I actually feel. Perhaps it would be a good time for me to evaluate the here and now life path against my perceived desired life path. My boyfriend gave me some good advice which is stick with the here and now life path until you know what moves to make to do the things that you actually feel you want too.
    Does anyone else out there really get concerned about ‘world’ matters? My art teacher said the rich and poor situation will always be as it’s a natural balance.. I really didn’t like his comment, have a lot of us created a wall of apathy and ambivalence to the hard times that others have, i.e. famine, civil war. When I was a child I used to read the newspaper and cry because humans hurt each other so much. Why are we afraid to care?

    The Ruminant

    Dear Suze,

    There’s something in what you are saying that I can relate to. I have a strong need to help other people and the society, and I am very much interested in the big picture. I have also been through depression.

    I think that a few things contributed to my own depression, which I weren’t able to see back then, but it’s more clear to me now. If you think that being centered would mean that your central focus is within you, then my focus was off and blurry. My interests were always outside of myself, and I kept neglecting myself in many ways. I think that some sort of mindfulness meditation would’ve helped with this, to be more grounded and more centered in myself, in my life.

    Another contributing factor, and what makes mindfulness meditation so difficult, is the wandering monkey brain. The constant chatter and analysis of everything. With some practice, it’s possible to stop it, even for a short while. I didn’t have any real tools, so I just started interrupting myself. I know from experience that when I’m interrupted enough times, I simply forget what I was saying and can’t say anything anymore. That’s what I did to my internal narration. I kept interrupting the constant negative stream of words and eventually, it wasn’t constant anymore. I got a bit power over the narration in my mind, and that was terribly empowering.

    Then there’s the illusion of what we think life is or should be and what it actually is, as well as attaching morality to things, people and events, and expecting fairness and justice. Impossible expectations about life will lead to perpetual misery. Let us take your rich/poor example. My mother always said that if everything we have would be equally divided between all of us today, tomorrow some people would have more and others would have less. Would that be unjust? Morally wrong? We can constantly try to level the playing field, but things tend to gravitate towards a certain state. Does being poor mean being miserable? Does being rich equal happiness?

    Understanding some of the realities of life does not mean being cold or uncaring. Also, imagine this: if a severely wounded person would be brought into the care of a doctor, would it be beneficial if the doctor became emotional, crying in shock over the fate of his fellow human? The ability to help in a way that creates more good than harm requires knowledge, patience, understanding of the causes of the symptoms and so forth. The causes of why we are in the situation we are right now as humanity are complex. Or perhaps very simple. I tend to think that if we all felt loved and cared for and safe, the world would look completely different. Since I can not wave a magic wand and change things just like that, I try (emphasis on the word “try”) to spread love and caring and the feeling of safety. In order to do so, I need to care for myself. I have to make sure that I feel safe and loved, so that all the extra love that accumulates in me can freely flow towards others without judgment or conditions. What if just like fear, love could behave like a virus and spread from one person onto the next, slowly contaminating the whole world?

    In conclusion: definitely start by helping yourself. You’ll not change the world if you’re crippled from depression. Let the world be for a moment and focus on yourself. Learn how to have the power over your thoughts and emotions, instead of allowing them to control you. Ever noticed how those who aren’t able to control themselves tend to have a need for controlling things around them? Interestingly, when you’re able to control yourself, the need to control others lessens. You’ll feel more in control of your life and your destiny, and it will change the way you look at the world around you. Also, perhaps you’d be able to do things that would change the world. You can’t change things by just wishing them to be different, and you certainly can’t move the world to the right direction before you yourself know how to move.

    Also, one last advice: don’t compare your inside with other people’s outside. You don’t know how happy or content other people are, and you most certainly are not alone with your concerns and feelings.


    Thanks for this reply. Your final sentence struck a chord, I think to certain extents we all make do/accept the life we have happened across &/or planned for. I know I’ve acted out happiness just to fit it and I imagine others sometimes do the same. I have lost my life force and don’t know what makes me happy, except being left alone but I know this is the depression.
    I do generally have a negative internal chatter/voice which I’ve been fighting to control or ignore since I was a kid. This bout of depression started in early February, perhaps I intuitively knew that bad times were coming (i.e. my boyfriends dads illness), I’d get in rages over nothing, I was angry and unmotivated at work, I ended the relationship with my boyfriend, I tried to switch off every ‘love’ input or output as love (from my childhood & adult experience) just causes pain. I’d cry and cry and go driving about trying to find some hope, some happiness, something to divert my attention from the irrational somewhat boring repetition of the same old internalised ‘no point’ mantras.
    I hoped the anti-d’s would be making me feel better by now but no such joy as yet, I tried doing an exercise video on Saturday (I used to dance a lot and enjoyed it) and I gave up after 10 minutes. Usually when I want something in life I have this reservoir of immense drive, determination, possibly blind ambition. But it’s gone and that is so sad.
    I’ve had lows in the 5 years since my last major bout of depression and have always found a way out, found motivation to change things. My new job (promotion) will be good for me and the team are good people, my boyfriend is good for me ( I used to drink, smoke, be very moody and bad with money) and he has helped me through these things. I don’t think I want to change anything as my life has never been so good, I want to enjoy this time and appreciate my successes, this is an alien emotion for me or perhaps I’m running on a rat race thinking it’s where I have to go but actually I want to fall off and choose a less predictable more challenging road where I actually begin to know myself not give my energy to work and people that carry on living in self enforced rose coloured spectacles. We create these bubbles of self protection – I’m safe my family loves me – I’m safe I have a good job – I’m safe I have some money in the bank – I’m clever I don’t let images of famine, war get to me – I’m ok I’m healthy and will live a long prosperous life – I’m happy because oil & territory wars (the killing of human beings) are not my problem, I have faith in my government – I’m safe as I have a home, running water and food – I’m safe as long as I keep happy.
    Your right I cannot change things by just believing things should be different, but how can I be happy in my bubble when ‘world issues’ affect me day to day, the anti-ds will strengthen my bubble and in a few weeks I’ll forget I even cared

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