I think that I am afraid of happiness. It’s the one thing that I desire most, the thing I am constantly fighting for. It’s what OCD holds over my head, the possibility of happiness in the future, as long as I live by OCD’s rules. But somewhere along the line my fear of not reaching that happiness transformed into a fear of that happiness itself. It’s like the carrot dangled in front of the donkey; the donkey never gets closer to the carrot, with each step it takes the carrot takes one too. I’ve let OCD convince me that I can’t reach it. So when I see something happy coming along in the near future, my mind immediately starts back tracking and second guessing. Do I deserve that happiness that is almost within my reach? What if I can’t get to it? As soon as happiness becomes possible my OCD tightens it’s grip around me. Using that light at the end of the tunnel as a bargaining chip. “You can have it if you do this and this and this…”. And every time I do what it says I get more and more miserable and that glimmer of hope gets further and further away. I begin to believe my OCD when it tells me that I don’t deserve happiness.
I think it’s easy for OCD and Depression to convince us that we don’t deserve happiness because we as humans tend to fall into that trap innately. We tend to value success, jobs, education, titles, possessions, etc. more than we value our own happiness. We’re taught that we’ll be happy once we graduate college, once we graduate grad school, once we get our dream job or our dream house. But what I am learning is that I can be just as happy if not more, without any of that. Without the job, without the fancy initials at the end of my name, without the fancy clothes. I can find happiness in simply being with the person I love no matter where that is. And I can find happiness in drawing and writing. I wish I had learned that long ago. I let go of grad school out of necessity for my health. But what I couldn’t imagine at the time was that I would be happy anyway. If we start measuring our success not by our job titles and the price tags on our clothes, but by how simply happy we are, I think we could all feel much more content in ourselves. We could retrain our minds to accept happiness, and to expect happiness.
All I need to do is let myself walk through the tunnel and reach that happiness. And once I get there, accept it; don’t live in fear of losing it, because then I never really had it. I deserve happiness.
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