“Have You Tried Just Being Happy?”

As we aren’t educated about different mental health illnesses and how mental health effects people, often if we don’t suffer from it, it’s not something we look into. So today I am going to answer the question which so many people get asked.

“Have you tried just being Happy/More positive?” 

When people tell you to just be happy or be positive when you suffer from mental illness it is literally like telling someone with a broken leg to just get up and run. Just because you can physically see the illness doesn’t mean that it’s not there. Yet this is one of the most common things I hear along with “You were fine yesterday!” It doesn’t matter if I was fine yesterday, this morning, an hour ago, or 5 minutes ago. My illness doesn’t run on a timetable. I can feel really low or really anxious in a split second. “You were laughing and joking earlier” or “but you always seem fine and jokey to me” this is also a thing I hear. As I have said before this can often be a way to mask my feelings and thoughts. Sometimes obviously I am genuinely happy. A common misunderstanding is that because I suffer from depression and anxiety this means that I don’t have happy moments. When I do. Sometimes I don’t have them for a long time. Sometimes my mood switches within the day.

Positivity is great for helping you however it doesn’t just work just like that. It takes a whole change of mindset and for some it feels like a ridiculous concept as when you suffer from mental illness simple tasks feel impossible and you can only see negativity no matter how hard you try as that is part of the illness. Simple tasks like just getting out of your bed feel impossible. It is very easy to say “Have you tried just being happy/more positive?” when you have no idea what someone has been through or are going through. Instead of judgement of things you do not understand or if you are around someone dealing with mental health issues do your research. And make sure you are researching the right illness! Having mental health can mean so many different things! Even then you have to bear in mind they haven’t found a single cure yet for Mental health illnesses so even when you do find something that you think someone could benefit from, if they say they have tried it and it hasn’t worked. That could be 100% true. So do not try to lecture them on things you have read. Remember patience is key. Just try being supportive. Sometimes you won’t be able to solve everything and you need to remember that, even if it frustrates you and you feel helpless. This isn’t about you it is about them. Make sure that is priority rather than you being right.

15 Comments

  1. Hannah swancott
    16th May 2018 / 4:47 pm

    This is so powerful, so many people don’t understand mental health and I love that you’re raising awareness. It’s so right, they can’t just ‘be happy’

  2. Monidipa Dutta
    16th May 2018 / 7:42 pm

    Being happy is different and being tired is different. Many people don’t understand this as it is related to mental health. If u remain positive you will feel good from heart and that’s what matters

    • Patti Moss
      16th May 2018 / 7:54 pm

      Great Post Iya. I think you nailed this with your comments on Patiece and Support.

  3. 16th May 2018 / 9:23 pm

    It’s important to raise awareness of mental health like you are. I have friends with depression and they are up and down and it’s not something they can control which unfortunately some can’t quite understand.

  4. 17th May 2018 / 3:37 am

    Thank you for sharing this. I too talk about it on my blog, as I suffer from severe anxiety and mild depression. Talking about it raises more awareness and understanding.

  5. 17th May 2018 / 8:02 am

    I truly believe happiness is a state of mind. I don’t know anything about mental illness but optimism has help my mom with cancer.

  6. 17th May 2018 / 6:20 pm

    It’s very inspiring that you’re raising awareness about mental health. It’s a real health issue and it’s sad that some people still make fun of it.

  7. 17th May 2018 / 10:33 pm

    I have had mental health issues for 21 years and have heard this countless times. I think we should be far more open about our struggles, well done you.

  8. 18th May 2018 / 7:49 am

    We really have a long way to go when it comes to dealing with mental illness. A lot of people don’t take that to consideration and would rather say that you’re just being dramatic and all that. It’s not how it works, I completely agree with you.

  9. 18th May 2018 / 3:22 pm

    People definitely need a greater understanding of mental health. Being told to be happy simply doesn’t work! You need to go deeper.

  10. 18th May 2018 / 5:53 pm

    This is really sad when people say things like this to people who are struggling. It’s like the person has no empathy whatsoever. Good advice here.

  11. 18th May 2018 / 7:06 pm

    By sharing your experience with mental illness it lifts the veil on your experience and allows others a glimpse into your struggles and to reflect on what we understand and how we perceive it. Reading about symptoms and how to ‘fix’ mental health issues is useless if we can’t understand or empathize with the experience of someone who deals with it on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing.

  12. 18th May 2018 / 10:38 pm

    Very true! Quite often bubbly people are secretly anxious or depressed, you never know what is going on with a person

  13. Jessica
    19th May 2018 / 2:54 pm

    Mental health issues are something I deal with in my family. I don’t personally suffer but I do know that depression and anxiety aren’t something that people can control and it comes and goes whenever it likes. Talking about it helps others understand too

  14. 21st May 2018 / 12:41 am

    I have mental health issue in my family. I don’t personally suffer from it, but it is a big problem. I liked reading your post. I agree with Jessica talking about it helps others understand.

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