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Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Secret of Happiness

Last year just before Christmas I adopted a mantra for the coming year that seemed so filled with uncertainty.

The Secret Of Happiness...
Something To Do,
Someone To Love 
Something To Hope For

As you know I am a keen supporter of youth suicide and depression and funds raised from the Sunflowers seeds go to the Nettlefold Foundation to assist their work in this area.

All of us get blue sometimes and we can get stuck in a rut.
There are times though when we may need to seek medical help either temporarily or permanently for real depression and I want people to start talking openly about depression so that it is not so stigmatised.
I suffered very severe depression after one of my best friends died a few years ago. Rock bottom didn't hit until after passing all those milestones; her birthday, the first Christmas without her, the first Easter until finally, the anniversary of her death. It was then that I began to think that I would never be happy again. I was not just sad and grieving at this point but I was now severely lacking in serotonin levels and had moved into the very dangerous self harm area. I am very grateful that someone very sharp recognised the signs and rang a doctor and booked me in. If not for her action, many would be remembering me today sadly and shaking their heads saying, "she seemed so fine, we had no idea, why on earth would she commit suicide?"

I received medical help for about a year.
I have not told my family because I feel ashamed, that I was weak and somehow lacking.
I nearly threw away everything I loved and sentenced people I loved to a lifetime of sadness and guilt.
I have learnt that people with depression hide it very well.
Most will continue to rise in the mornings, go off to work and come home and make dinner.
They think they are rational but are anything but because their life views are skewed and their feeling of self worth is extremely low.
I can understand now why people are so surprised when someone commits suicide because they hide it so well. Having someone find out and thwart your schemes is the last thing you want. It's hard to believe but it's because you don't want to create a fuss, you honestly think things would be better for everyone if you went away quietly.
Having recovered and walked away from that dark place, I still look over my shoulder in wariness, ever watchful that I don't wander that way again.
I also know that it is not merely a matter of "snapping out of it" either.
Sometimes I ask myself, "Am I normal sad or am I falling into depression?"

Since that time I have experienced the most happiest times of my life and I feel so utterly at peace and enjoy fulfilment and abundance. I am grateful for so many things and I live by that mantra. 

Keep life full and busy; hobbies, home making, work, gardening, cooking, yoga, volunteer work, fund raising, walking dogs....find something that fulfils you and engages you.

Someone to love; not just that rare Prince on a white steed, (I have one of those rare ones)
Families, aunties, cousins pets, dogs, chooks, pigeons, neighbours, orphans, God in whatever form you believe, there are so many who need/want your love.

Something to look forward to; Christmas, grandchildren, spring, publish a book, enter an art prize, get a degree, buy a cafe, a long bath every Sunday.

But most of all lets start talking to each other. Lets talk about depression and bring it out of the cupboard and into the light. If you suspect you have been very sad for a long time, ring and make an appointment with your doctor and ask a friend to go with you. They needn't go in to the appointment but you are more likely to make it to that appointment if someone commits to get you there. Take one step at a time.
Life is precious and I have shared something very, very special with you. I am not looking for judgements. I am just wanting people to get happy in their lives. Depression and suicide effect not just the "victim" (for want of a better word) but also those around them.

Gosh I hope I haven't depressed you! This was supposed to be a post about HAPPINESS...
(Zozie Doll by Susie McMahon)

If you would like to comment, please consider supplying the three things that you are applying to the happiness mantra.
What are you doing?
What/Who are you loving?
What are you looking forward to? 


  1. Hi Tanya, this is a great post. I have had my moments of depression, but have control of it now :)

    I seek out my happiness by walking my life (nobody else's), living in the moment (enjoying the now and not worrying about the past or the present), and gratitude (appreciating that I am indeed very blessed to be living the life I am). I have love, good health, a nice home, a nice bed to sleep in, clothing, food and transport, which is so much more than many others have in this world...


    1. Whoops that should have said future not present :)

  2. I think we were meant to meet just for this post! No one ever told me that the bottom would be after the first anniversary, was so not expecting that! No, I am not suicidal, but I have moments of wondering why I bother to get up!!! Will make the appointment in the morning!
    And yes I think I disguise it pretty well!!!!

  3. I did leave a comment but the connection went down in the middle and it got lost...perhaps for the best but I am very pleased I visited tonight this was an important message for me!! xx

  4. Thank you for sharing Tammy. A great post. Agree with you - it has a shameful attachment to it which only makes it so much worse. Rock on wise woman.

  5. I needed this post, I needed to read this post and I needed it more than I can say here. Thank you for the honesty and the heart felt words that must have been difficult to say. xx

  6. a very candid post Tanya...a glimpse into a world we all might wander into some time or another...some don't come out ..i have been there too so i think I might know where you have been...thank you for reminding me just how blessed my life is now and I, too, keep looking over my shoulder just in case.... September will be 12 months since my dad passed... mum went 27 years ago...(i still miss her especially when i want to ask her advice)..anniversaries are the worst...BUT...making goals, working on different new and exciting projects, sharing your knowledge and your god given talents(you are the perfect example of that one).....having a wonderful man, beautiful family, great friends to share your life.... Happiness is where you find it, simple pleasures...and you can make it happen everyday....XXXXX

  7. A very insightful posts Tanya. I am (really) glad you're still around x

  8. Hey Tanya, another great certainly have a way with words, of expressing things so well.
    A terrible condition/disease ? it's hard for people to get their head around unless they have had a brush with it......
    Definitely something that needs to be talked about openly. I lost my cousin, back in the 80's when he was 24. A vital, lovely young man in the prime of his life. There was certainly little understanding of it back then and the effect on everyone who knew him was devastating.......

    Definitely not a depressing post Tanya more an enlightening one , so glad you got through your bout of depression. As Sarah said 'Rock on'

    Claire x

  9. Great post. I struggled with anxiety and depression for years, had suicidal moments and watched close friends suffer loss to suicide as well as coming close to losing a close family member. We all gotta talk about it and cast a little light into the worlds of those who are feeling locked up in the dark.

    I am getting organised and spending more time doing the things I love, like writing and reading.
    I am loving the feeling that I am making some progress towards the life I would love to live.
    I am really looking forward to a weekend away with my little family and the promise of a Cold Rock icecream smushy.

    Excellent post.

  10. Such a good post at a timely moment for me and my wee family. You are so right about this being an issue that needs to be freely spoken about. I am getting better at talking about it ... Right now two of the three of the list for happiness are off kilter. I am working hard to get it all rolling forward again. I am loving warm blankets and cold nights. Thanks for this post, lovely x

  11. I think I have managed to reply to most of you personally where you have your email enabled on your reply, but I wanted to make sure you all knew how valued your input has been and how humbled I am by your sharing also. It is not easy to talk about but I feel we must otherwise we perpetuate the cycle. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, so much. xxx

  12. Thank you Tanya for these beautiful words. Hugs.

  13. Thank you for sharing such a meaningful, helpful post. My Mom went through depression when my youngest went on to college. It was SOOO hard to see her go through it...she's always been such an even person, always so happy and fun to be around. She did hide it well, but I knew it was there and I worried terribly for her. She told me after that she didn't even want to get out of bed in the mornings. She did find natural means to help: St. John's Wart and progesterone cream (since it was partly menapausal), but it took her a year to fully get out of it. Of course, God allowed me to also get pregnant that year, and she said knowing that another grandbaby was coming really did amazing things for giving her a renewed hope. :) You never know what that sudden hope will be. :) But it is definitely something that needs to be dealt with, medicinally if needed.
    And thank you for the really sweet comment you put on my you shared about your wall papered room. That was so encouraging to me to try to work with my daughter with her interests and let her be who she is. :) Have a great Sunday!!!

  14. A beautiful honest post. The more we talk about the less stigma there is and the more likely we are to see it in ourselves and others. Unfortunately there is a lot of depression in my partners family, those dark days are seriously awful. Doing - playing in the garden and raising kids. Loving the garden and the kids and my partner. Looking forward to reading some great books and baking with the little one tomorrow.

  15. I've suffered from anxeity and depression for years. Sometime I can manage it without meds and sometimes I can't. Whilst I have young children I'm just sticking with the meds. It just seems safer.
    What am I doing? Crafting and exercise. It helps my brain's chemicals stay balanced and healthy. It makes me feel good about myself. It gives me inner strength.
    What/Who am I loving? My partner. My children. ...and slowly but surely learning to love myself. To not be ashamed of me. To know that being proud of myself doesn't mean that I am arrogant. Something that I think is confused in our society.
    What am I looking forward to? My baby boy's first birthday. Summer. Sewing time. Next Brown Owls meeting. Sleeping in... one day!


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