They Say That Happiness Is A Choice

They say that happiness is a choice…

They say that happiness is a choice.
Well, my brain is having a hard time choosing it.

I roll this little tiny pill in my hand – this magical little pill that’s supposed to change the chemicals in my brain. It’s supposed to make me feel happier. That’s what the doctor said. The first week, I was left tossing and turning in bed. I’m already restless by nature, but the pills amplified my senses two-fold. Tired, but unable to fall asleep. My stomach rumbled. Despite the lack of sleep, I felt strangely awake throughout the first few days.

As the week went on, I noticed that I was no longer in a deep depression. If anything, I felt… emotionless. Neither happy nor sad. I was numb. I had no desire to do anything anymore. No motivation. No inspiration. Everything felt purposeless and I was okay with it. But as the week ended and a new one cropped up, a tingling sensation nestled itself deep in my chest. Anxiety.

It’s been almost two months now since I’ve started taking anti-depressants. It’s been almost two months since hoping that the answer to all my problems were contained in these little pink pills. Like some sort of magic trick that science could fix. This is more than just a chemical imbalance. It’s my soul. My soul is sick.

My mind is so convoluted with melancholic gloop. It’s gotten to the point where I feel like I’ve lost myself. I no longer have the desire to create anything. Even writing this post is painful. My creativity is stunted. My words are a mess. I want to quit everything. Delete everything. My videos. My blog. My social media. I want to be forgotten because I feel forgotten. I want to cease to exist. I don’t feel good enough. My psychologist – she says that I say that a lot. That I’m not good enough. I can’t help it.

I feel like I’m living life on a constant ranking system where I fall below average. Not smart enough. Not talented enough. Not motivated enough. Not pretty enough. Not funny enough. Not creative enough. Not social enough. Not good enough. I say it so often that I start to believe it, living in constant paranoia. I know I’ve dug myself into a false sense of reality and I hate myself for it.

They say that a possible side effect of anti-depressants is suicide. Ironic, isn’t it? I didn’t think much of it at first. But then the thoughts came. Strong. Steady.

Getting hit by a train.

Crashing my car into a tree.

Overdosing.

Hanging.

I felt my left arm tingle, like there were bugs crawling underneath the skin where I used to cut myself. Force of habit. I claw at it with my fingernails looking for some sort of relief. I don’t know why it does that. Why do I want to hurt myself? I’m so ashamed of the thoughts.

It freaking sucks.

I hate myself.

I hate my brain.

I hate that this is who I’ve become.

 

I know we all have a choice to pave our own path in life.

But sometimes it’s hard, you know?

It’s like some sort of sick habit that’s plagued every fibre of my being.

 

My eyes water.

My nose stings.

Leg shaking nervously.

Fingers tremble typing.

Heart beating rapid.

 

Happiness is a choice.

So why is it so damn hard for me to make it.

  • Stephen SE9

    I’m not going through a good time myself. I’m 49. If anything is getting me through the days, weeks, months, are your videos. The way you edit them with your choice of music really packs an emotional punch. I hope I speak for the thousands of your viewers when I say please don’t think you’re not good enough because you are… Very much so. And then some.

  • lia

    okay, this is kind of weird. i was youtube channel-hopping on a 2.30am and eventually ended up on your channel, which led me to your blog. i have a penchant for finding cool people who haven’t updated in a long time so i was pleasantly surprised to see that there was a new instagram post- i’m not so pleasantly surprised that it’s this post. but it’s also kind of funny (in a morbid way) because i too am a malaysian living abroad (though i was raised in malaysia, only moved to england for studies) who suffers from clinical depression. everything you’ve written about- i’ve been there. the antidepressants, the shame, the feeling that you don’t recognize yourself anymore (i have always been a high-achieving child.). i actually ended up, like. i actually ended up almost dropping out of university, almost losing my scholarship, had to change degrees entirely because i was failing at everything. i have hit that rock-bottom. even with the self-harm too, but thank god no permanent damage to my body. but that was two years ago, and now i’m about to graduate with a first class; i’m in a stable, healthy relationship that i’m no longer too dependent on. i have new support systems in place, and better than that i’ve established a support system within myself- created an identity of myself that isn’t as rigid as it was before. i used to be one of those alpha kids with a very strong brand in place- definitely not a following of your size, but my full name made a decent dent around certain circles for being a high-achiever, a ‘winner’.

    having depression was definitely… it was definitely painful because it made me lose parts of my identity which i thought WERE my entire identity. i had never been anything less than an over-achiever, nothing less than a straight-A student, good at debate and public speaking etc etc etc. then suddenly i wasn’t going for classes for 3 months, suddenly i couldn’t get out of bed for weeks at a time, suddenly i was hearing things like “repeat teaching” and “therapist” and it was so bloody terrifying. i lived off of cereal for months, there wasn’t a night that didn’t go by where i didn’t consider just slitting my own wrist and letting the cleaners find me in the morning. but i survived it. i survived the gray, the apathy, the limbo, the dark fog which seems to be permeating your brain. you will find the light once again. take some time off the internet, as much as you have to. you don’t even have to come back. you can come back as a new person- take on a new name, a new website. delete your social media (i did that for 18 months solid, and it was one of the best decisions of my life). it’s okay. you’re just as whole and valid a human being like this, as you were before you had this. you’re allowed to change, allowed to breathe, allowed to fail, allowed to heal. you’re still so, so, so young and we’ve got our whole lives ahead of us.

    idk if… idk if you’ll read this. but i just thought it was a peculiar divine coincidence that it’s 4.30 in the morning in london and i, a malaysian living abroad, accidentally found your blog, and your most recent post is this particular experience which i am very, very familiar with. i wouldn’t go so far to say that i’m “on the other side of it” (in fact, i’m convinced there’s no such thing as the “other side of it”), but i’m coping much better with it. i’m an open book about it, i no longer feel the shame when i have to explain to someone why i’m graduating two years later than everyone else born in my year. it’s a chapter of my life that i am healing from.

    if you feel like it’ll be helpful at all, you can drop me a follow on my twitter at elricity. 🙂 it’s private, but if you just follow me i’ll follow back for sure and we can DM about it. i hope that’s not too intrusive, but HONESTLY reading your words was like reading an echo of my 2015/2016 blog- it was incredibly moving, and i just felt compelled to reach out. hope everything gets lighter soon.

  • Firstly I want to say that I hope things will improve for you in the near future. It may sound like empty words, but I do mean them.

    (The following may sound harsh but that is not my intention. I suffered from depression predominantly from 16-23 and i am now 25. It is what I have discovered over time and what has helped me and I hope can help you)

    I don’t believe happiness is a choice per se, rather it is a state of mind. I believe that the real choice is between living and dying. That was the question that I asked myself at my lowest points in my life: did I want to live or die ? Unsurprisingly the answer was: live. If the answer is to live then it is about ensuring you make the right choices so that you are truly living and not just existing, and being proactive about it. I believe it’s separate to the whole concept of happiness but rather it is about doing the things that you value. And by doing the things you value / bring you meaning + having self love , then that results in happiness.

    Not going to lie, it is a tough uphill battle as I am sure you are aware. There will be good stretches and then bad ones where you are stagnant or simply going back. But that is okay because you are trying. And honestly that is the most important thing.

    Importantly, you are enough. Always.

    If you need to chat about anything (to this stranger on the net lol) I am here to listen.

    Nat // Dignifiable​

  • Jaydee Love

    I can relate to what you’re going through right now but just thinking about the people who were always there for me makes me want to live. It’s been so hard but i’m trying to want to live life again for them. I hope everything goes well for you. Just keep on fighting 🙂 I know you’re a strong woman. Don’t let it eat you out, you’re more than what you think you are.

  • disqus_LH5PolNco5

    Hey. Thank you so much for sharing this even though it’s hard for you. I admire your courage. I think that many languages are lacking when it comes to describing some of the most human experiences such as different kinds of anxiety, depression etc but you’re doing a good job.
    I have never suffered from depression myself. But I’ve been following you for several years and really like the work you’re doing, and knowing that you’re having these experiences I have to say something, and I so wish there was something more I could do.
    You’re such a beautiful soul, and so many people love you for the person you are and admire what you put out in the world. It would be lacking without you.

  • hvz

    Hi there.

    I’ve stumbled across your blog post through mutual friends and reading about what you’re going through has resonated with my own experiences.

    As a creative who has been in the depths of and still lives with anxiety and depression (and has been on anti-depressants for about 9 months now) I would like to tell you a few things which I hope brings you some solace.

    I have had to write this a few times. I have had to leave this comment and come back to it. I have to meditate on this because this is something which is important for me to convey in the right way.

    I too know the experience of asking “why?”

    There’s no easy answer. There’s no thought, no saying, no mantra, nothing which can quell the restless mind – especially one of a creative. I know what it’s like to look at yourself, physically, mentally and spiritually and to say “I’m not good enough”. I know what it is to be frustrated at your own state of mind, your damaged soul and to lament at your imperfect existence.

    And you know what? There is nothing wrong with that.

    There is nothing wrong with what you’re going through.

    There will be times with great pain and there will be times where you won’t even know how much more of this you will be able to take. I too have gone through fearing and dreading the reality I’ve created for myself.

    You may be asking now well if one is struggling so much how can it be that I can say there’s nothing wrong with being depressed or coping with anxiety?

    Well it is these experiences which will strengthen you – which will shape your resolve.

    I promise to you that you will learn more about who you are and what you are capable of through this part of your journey than through anything else that the world may throw at you. What you take out of this will be your’s forever and nobody can ever take that away from you.

    There is no right or wrong way to cope with an anxious mind or a depressed soul. There is no perfect way to live. You don’t need to have an answer to all of your questions.

    What matters is that you remember that this is just a part of your humanity. This is what it is to be human – to struggle, to learn from it and to grow. That with everyday you get that little bit stronger. That with every anxious and depressive thought, you become a little more familiar with it and in time you will know it for what it is. That with this journey you will only learn to embrace you (and your mind) for who you are RIGHT NOW.

    And you will know that your pain will become your cure.

    This is the beauty with imperfection – a beauty I hope you may find one day.

    – H

    If you ever need an ear, a chat or really terrible jokes I’m always happy to give my time. (Yes, I’m aware that the internet’s a big bad place but please take my word on this.)

  • Divya D

    I hope you’re okay Leonie.. I personally think you’re a great creator, writer, film maker and so much more! You’re one of the very few people I relate to online, and theres a whole group of us who love your content! As readers, subscribers we hope you feel better.. and I know how it feels. But, we’re all here for you. <3

  • Tobin Lee

    Hi Leonie – I take medication (for different reasons), but can relate to the experience of numbness, self introspection process, and lack of motivation you are experiencing. Challenging. I don’t have any solutions or wisdom here, but want you to know you’re not alone with this.

    I came to your website because I’ve been loving watching your videos from the last time you were in Sweden. I love Sweden, and lived in Kalmar for a couple of months, but haven’t been back there for many years. Seeing you and Mathias out there helps me remember all the things I love about it. I’m actually at home a lot these days – in a healing process now (related to the medication). Watching your videos and planning my next trip to the North part of Sweden brings much happiness.

    Sending you much support for Berkeley, California.