Sunday, December 8, 2013

If You're Happy and You Know It, Well, Good for You, Captain Sunshine

I swear to Dog, if I stumble across one more blog post telling me that happiness is a choice, I am going to be very unhappy indeed.

Given that this is the season for good will toward all, I will spare you most of my rant. I just ask you to consider this question: if you believe that sexual orientation is NOT something that people choose but rather something that is part of a person's genetic make-up, why would you not also acknowledge that people who deal with depression are wired differently than you, you happy chirpy cheerful lucky accident of genetics, you? Can you choose your height? Your ancestors? Your eye color? And the first smart aleck who makes a crack about colored contacts will get smacked upside the head with a bottle of saline solution.

Would I rather have spent my money and time (literally thousands of dollars and thousands of hours over the last 30 years) in ways other than learning to be grateful and manage my depressive tendencies? Hell, yes -- but THAT is the choice I make. Not to be happy, because no matter what current pop woowoo pseudo-science tells us, that choice is not in my power. Here are the things in my power: I choose to accept my genetics, to notice and alter negative thinking patterns, to stay physically healthy, to get as much exercise and outdoor time as I can, to practice gratitude, to find joy wherever and whenever possible, to investigate every freaky new technique that could potentially help, and to keep a close eye on what I consume in the form of books, movies, food, drinks, and insufferably smug internet posts.

And yet sometimes I get walloped with a totally unexpected string of dark days. It sucks, it's exhausting, it's hard on my family, but it's reality for me and thousands of others. Would you choose to live this way, you obnoxiously self-satisfied internet person and all of your superior-minded comment leavers? Yeah, I didn't think so. I don't choose it, either -- but I do choose to dig out of the hole every time it hits.

For some solid scientific research-based info about genetics and depression, please go here or here.

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