Food for Thought

“It’s not about being happy, that’s the thing. I’m just trying to get through each day. I can’t keep asking myself “Am I happy? “ It just makes me more miserable. I don’t know if I believe in it; real, lasting happiness.  All those perky, well-adjusted people you see in movies and TV shows? I don’t think they exist.”

– Diane Nguyen (BoJack Horseman)

I’ve recently have a revelation of sorts.  Like most life-changing lessons, this one was partly inspired by television – Netflix’s very own BoJack Horseman, to be precise.  That show is an unending fountain of knowledge, so it’s no surprise it’s had a part to play in this epiphany.

Those of you who’ve been following this blog for some time will know that I came out of a depression a while back.  Those of you who’ve been following this blog for a long time will know I’ve been in and out of it pretty much all of my adolescent life.  And those of you who suffer through something similar will probably know that there isn’t really an end to depression.

You don’t just wake up one morning and decide to be happy.  There’s no revelatory moment where everything gets better and all the shit you’ve gone through over the past how many months or years just washes away.  Even as you start to recover and move forward you’ll still feel the weight of that time, eager to drag you back down to that dismal darkness.

What I’ve begun to realise is that emotions aren’t states of being.  At least not in the way that “employed” or “male” are.  Emotions are fleeting.  They are temporary states of being, only ever existing in the here and now.  To describe yourself as a happy person is like saying you’re a sleeping person, or a showering person.  Sure, sometimes we get stuck in a rut of one particular emotion, but even that’s a simplification of the truth.

When I’m depressed I’m not just “depressed”.  It’s more of a continuous cycle of negative energy on repeat.  I’m unmotivated, self-conscious, tired, exhausted, enraged, indifferent.  They take turns at the steering wheel of the depression bus, destination suicide.  To sum it all up as “depression” is just dismissive.

The same goes for happiness.  Even as I’m emerging from this fog of depression, I still have shitty days.  I’m not a happy person.  I feel happiness on occasion, but not in an ever-present state.  I feel sadness on occasion (admittedly on a fairly regular basis), but not permanently.

Emotions are sort of like food.  We eat when we’re hungry (or bored), and then we stop eating.  Most of our lives are just spent on autopilot from one source of food to the next.  To say I’m a “chicken teriyaki” person implies that’s all I ever eat, at every waking hour of my existence.  Sure, I like chicken teriyaki, but I also like spaghetti and pizza and toaster strudels (god, I love toaster strudels).  And sometimes I have to eat things that taste bad, because they make me stronger.

See, the problem with life is we take it too seriously.  We harp over the bad stuff and we try in vain to cling to the good stuff.  The solution is to stop.  Stop trying to control what is so obviously out of your hands.  Enjoy the good stuff while you have it and let the bad stuff shape you, mould you into something stronger.  None of this really matters, so stop acting like it does.

Savour the food while it’s in your mouth, but for god’s sake don’t constipate yourself in an attempt to prolong it.  Just let the food pass through you, and move on to the next meal.  After all, there are only so many before we die, and there’s no sense missing out on what’s to come just because you were too busy holding onto what has passed.

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8 thoughts on “Food for Thought

    1. Nihilism, fuck yeah! Don’t think you & OrchidsLantern didn’t have a hand in this too, because you certainly did ;)

      Of course saying it and doing it are two different things, but I am going to try and embrace this outlook as best I can. Thank you, my friend, for the support and advice.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The positive spin you correctly gave it rules out nihilism, but as long as it makes life more enjoyable and/or tolerable, it doesn’t matter worth a shit what you call it. Learning to embrace it is a daily challenge, but one that gets progressively easier as you go.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What I’m about to say isn’t meant to be a joke: when life contains things like BoJack Horseman, Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, The Brak Show and Rick and Morty, aren’t we maybe wasting our time looking for anything better than that?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I’ve been searching far and wide for fellow fans of BoJack! I recommend it to everyone because I just want someone to share in marvelling at the sheer genius of it. It’s my absolute favourite animated comedy, if not my absolute favourite full stop. Of course R&M and Bob’s Burgers are close seconds, but BoJack gets me in a way no other show has.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. That’s a fantastic outlook to have. Remembering that no state of being is permanent will serve you well in all kinds of ways, but perhaps most significantly when feeling depressed because that’s the hardest time to believe it.

    There must be something in the air today – it seems that three of us all felt an urge to write about living in the moment 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well now I have to hop on over to my reader & see what you’ve been up to!
      That’s quite a valid point; honestly I was so concerned with the whole “am I happy now” that I’d completely overlooked that aspect. Thanks for the reminder :)

      Liked by 1 person

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