Choosing Happy

Firstly, I’d like to ask you to bear with me on what I know is a controversial, sometimes offensive, and often frustrating statement.

Telling someone with depression to ‘just be happy’ is the equivalent of telling someone with insomnia to just go to sleep, or telling someone with a broken leg to just stop the bone being broken. It just does not work that way. Every article that suggests one can ‘cure’ their mental illness by choosing not to have it is wrong, and there is no question of that. Reading such things has always frustrated me beyond belief, and I just want to get across that this is not one of those articles.

You may have read before that I have, and still do, struggle with my mental health. This past year has been particularly difficult, and the more time that passes with it still being such an issue, the more I want to do something about it. I’ve been in treatment for years but haven’t quite cracked it, and I’m beginning to realise that hoping it goes away and gets better by itself just isn’t going to happen. I have come to realise that to make a difference to my health and wellbeing, I need to make changes.

As much as I’d love there to be a ‘cure’, there just isn’t one. There are, however, ways to drastically improve your day to day wellbeing, but not surprisingly, there isn’t just a pill you can take to do so. It takes perseverance, continued work, and not surprisingly, effort. It’s going to take a change of lifestyle and a change in mindset, which is exactly what I’m working on. I’ve come to realise that the answer for me is, despite me pushing back against the phrase for years, to choose happiness.

In choosing happiness, I am not just going to magically switch off the mental issues I struggle with. I know I can’t choose for them to disappear, in the same way I am not choosing for them to be there.

I am however, making a conscious choice to allow recovery. I am choosing to not just take the easiest path. I am choosing to take all the measures I can to give myself the best chance I possibly have at feeling good.

I am choosing to get enough sleep, exercise daily and eat a balanced diet, because I know a healthier body gives me a better chance at feeling happier.

I am choosing to get up in the mornings and get on with the day, and not lay in bed and hide from the world, even when that feels like the easier option.

I am choosing to try new things even when they seem scary. I am choosing to go to new places and spend time with people, even when it feels like it would be far easier to stay home.

I am choosing to write daily, even when I can’t find the right words, because I know that a creative outlet is good for my mind.

As much as I’d love to, I am not choosing to wake up tomorrow and be magically happy. I am however choosing to give myself the best chance I can at getting there.

  • Good luck! I hope it helps you. I know I definitly feel better when I make happy and healthy choices too. Even when I really don’t feel like it. I have come so far from who I use to be with this kind of mind set. I couldn’t even have imagined from my lowest point that I would be as positive thinking as I am now. All the best xx

  • Megan Jackson

    This is a great way to think! Whenever I have anxious days I just let myself be sad and over think everything, despite the fact that I know that I need to keep active. But I need to start doing all the things that make me happy and bring me joy, even if it only keeps my mind at ease for an hour or so.

  • I’ve been trying to make a few changes myself over the past couple of months and choosing to have a different outlook on things. I have been struggling with my anxiety for years and I still do today, so I too am looking to make some lifestyle changes. Thanks for sharing this post Carrie, I’ve found it really relatable and helpful to read. x

    Kayleigh |

  • Too true, I think it’s all about opportunities, but also knowing your limits. If you throw yourself into everything you get offered on a bad mental health day/week/month, that might not be the best for you. But if you stay inside that won’t be good either, it’s about choosing the best prospects based on the state you’re in and I’m still finding that out atm, good luck with your new mindset!

  • Laura Emilia

    SO beautifully written! I need to think like this more often too – especially choosing to exercise and eat well as I believe they make SUCH a difference for you mental health! Thank you for the reminder xx

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

  • Wonderful words. So brave. Good for you! You write in such a warm, caring and honest way. It leaves such a feeling of being connected to someone who understands. Very best wishes, it’s so important to take care of ‘you’. . . Xxxx

    Keep Calm and start writing ~

  • This isn’t a new idea for me, but today I really needed to hear it, so thank you <3 It's a miserable morning with miserable weather and all I want to do is take off my pants and stay in my room and drink warm drinks, but I still have the day to get through. But it's still early and I'll do my best to choose happy throughout! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  • JoannasCorner

    Beautiful words. Thank you for sharing this as it is such an important topic to spread awareness about xx

  • I was genuinely in tears by the end of this – rarely has a post spoken to me so much. I have had a similar realisation in the past month, when I came to a bit of a crossroads with recovery. For so long i dismissed the “be happy” mantra as ignorance and undermining the struggle of mental illness, but on reflection I realise IT CAN BE TRUE. I wrote about it in my last post, as i find Autumn a difficult time in terms of memories/negative associations. It’s rewriting the script and accepting that it CAN be rewritten.

    It’s choosing the little things in life that can add joy, even in the smallest way. Whether it be mindful walks, as opposed to motoring on auto-pilot and barely noticing the leaves have fallen. For me, it includes allowing myself that nice coffee, when my head is telling me to skip or drink it black. It’s saying that it’s OK to not feel okay, but that this doesn’t mean happiness is gone forever. It just takes time and forgiving yourself. Thank-you so much for this, truly. THANK-YOU.

    Bumble & Be

  • Abygayle Vassallo

    I never knew that I needed to hear/read these words. I am in tears. I love this post so much. Thank you for writing it. You have done such a wonderful job on it; you should be proud of yourself.


  • I love this post and can relate to it so much! Whenever I tell anyone I’m sad or depressed or lonely they just say to “think positive” as if I haven’t done that already! Anyways, I do feel better when I wake up early, work out, and take time for myself. ♥

  • I love everything you said in this post. Happiness can’t be switched on or off for those struggling with a mental illness, but making conscious choices every day to move towards happiness is absolutely beneficial. I’ll be challenging myself in similar ways to cultivate more joy in my life!

    Mia |