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The 'Inspirational' Quote I Struggle With as Someone With Depression

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I’ve always been a fan of motivational quotes. I post them everywhere, from my bathroom mirror to school locker to my desk at work. They remind me to work on myself, be positive and to try even when it’s hard and when I don’t want to.

But one of the ones I’ve always struggled with is, “Today, I choose to be happy.”

For some of us, happiness is not a choice.

Sometimes it is a choice. You might have to try a little bit and there may be a struggle, but you can get there. But when you have depression, it’s not so simple.

Sure, there are medications, but as I had written in a previous post, antidepressants are not a magic pill that makes you happy. They don’t make you happy, they help you function. So you can get out of bed. But they usually don’t make you “happy” in and of themselves.

For me, happiness isn’t a choice. It isn’t something I actively choose to do, like how I choose to drink peppermint tea in the morning or wear my favorite sneakers to run. Happiness seems to be something that just happens to me. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve felt happiness. I know what it’s like and I have wonderful memories, but I didn’t choose those moments. Certain things can help, like exercising and eating in a healthy way.

I choose to be grateful. I choose to be loving and generous and kind. And everyday, I choose to fight. I choose to be brave and have hope and I choose to wake up and make an effort. I choose to try. I choose to do many things, but I can’t choose to be happy. Trust me, if I could, I would.

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Thinkstock photo via Victor_Tongdee.

Originally published: April 6, 2017
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