I’m having one of those grumpy mornings when all my gripes and moans are amplified by the kind of mood which makes you find even gambolling kittens rather irritating.
And nothing is worse during these times than a run-in with the terminally jolly. If you’ve ever found yourself faking happiness in a relationship with these people just to keep the peace you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Now I know I should not find happy, upbeat, positive people occasionally annoying. It’s probably a heresy to say so but don’t you sometimes suspect that it’s all a bit of an act?
There are myriad ways to shore up flakey self-confidence and I don’t doubt there’s a lot of truth in the statement “fake it until you make it” but good God, please give the rest of us a break.
Actually, people who put a positive spin on everything run the risk of denying others the chance to experience their misery in glorious technicolour – which is often quite enjoyable, albeit for a short period of time. If you are insisting that everyone radiates sunshine, you force them to deny the storm clouds overhead and perhaps stop them from truly dealing with their problems.
I guess it’s the difference between glass-half-full people (like the Husband) and glass-half-empty people like me. I’ve come to the conclusion that we are genetically programmed this way. Even in medieval times, doctors talked about ‘the humours’ and knew all about melancholia (possibly what we today know as depression).
If you happen to suffer from depression or anxiety (as I sometimes do), trust me when I say that you cannot whitewash your emotions by pretending to be happier than an Andrex puppy in a toilet roll factory.
You can change your state by changing your physiology – studies show if you smile you feel happier. We know that we can lift our mood by going for a walk or taking a nap. But these I think are temporary fixes and the source of our gloom still needs to be addressed and comprehensively dealt with.
Do us misery guts a favour and let us be who we are. If you must radiate sunshine and joie-de-vivre, could you do it quietly, and preferably without a witty slogan t-shirt and a selfie stick?
If you feel you have to plaster on a smile to keep everyone else happy, consider that faking happiness in a relationship just adds an extra layer of suffering if we are worried about how our depression is affecting our partner, family and friends.
And it’s dangerous too. From a mental health perspective, how much healthier is it to acknowledge the sadness, the grief, the inability to cope with the smallest of life’s minutiae? And to be surrounded by people who recognise that we are struggling and can read between the lines of any forced laughter or attempts to jolly ourselves along.
So no, I don’t want to hear
“It’ll all come out in the wash”
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why it is called the present.”
“Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars.”
“Everything happens for a reason”
“Today is the first day of the rest of your life”.
and any other phrase involving surviving. The only person qualified to talk to me about survival is Gloria Gaynor.