Last Sunday, I read a story via Twitter. Or at least I think it was Twitter. I wasn’t on my own computer, so I didn’t think to save or favourite the tweet. I just assumed I’d do it when I got home. Come Monday, I couldn’t remember the link, so I Googled the title. No luck. I then spent two hours going through my Sunday time line, but I still couldn’t find it. Crud. I remember the gyst of the post, but I didn’t want to write it all again. I suppose I’ll have to now.
The article had a two pronged theory about why the rich and famous commit suicide.
- Everyone assumes rich, famous people should be happy because they have everything. Rich people think they should be happy too, so when they’re not, they assume they’ll never be happy, and that makes them give up on life.
- Since the money and fame doesn’t bring happiness, these people realize affluence and success doesn’t mean happiness, so they look for other things to make them happy, stuff like drugs, herpes, or even the afterlife.
A tangent to the issue was that the rich and famous might feel guilty about being unhappy, which digs them in deeper. After all, what reason can they possibly have for being sad? They have no excuse – they already have everything! Thinking this way makes the abyss possibly wider, and the darker you feel, the harder it is to see the sun.
The issue touched me deep because sometimes I get unhappy. I’m depressive, which means my life is a constant bungee. I’m getting better at stabilizing things, but it’s a daily journey. Sometimes, I feel like I have everything I want. I have a beautiful daughter, I have the job of my dreams, I live in a pretty flat and I family and friends all around me.
But I still feel sad. It isn’t the ‘my dog just died’ kind of sad. It’s the ‘6 feet from the edge sounds like a really good idea’ kind of sad, and it’s a sadness that’s frustrating, because I have no clear reason why. Just like the rich people in the article, I wonder what more it is that I need, and I wonder if I’ll ever be truly happy.
I was talking with a good friend of mine. She’s happily married with a gorgeous baby girl and a masters degree under her belt. I told her I look up to her because she has it all – beauty, brains, a man that adores her, and the petite shape and size that makes grown men act like puppies. She cooks up a storm, is domestic enough that she itches over dirty dishes in my sink, she graduated both degrees with honours, she had a successful career, and now has a perfect house and home.
Her response surprised me, and it also made me cry. She said she admired me instead, because I’m happy on my own, I raise my daughter solo, and I chart my own path while follows what’s expected of her. I admire her for fitting society’s mould … she looks up to me for doing so well outside it.
Of course as we talked, we reached the cracks beneath the shell and talked over different problems, things we both hide beneath the surface. It was a good talk, and I’m grateful for friends like that.
I’m a believer of The Secret, and I spend a lot of time on Mike Dooley. I visualize whenever I remember to, and lately it’s like a daily ritual. That and taebo. Some days I feel too sad to visualize, and I have to get myself into the mood. Usually I just distract myself with something else. Monday morning was like that.
I woke up wanting to cry because nothing seemed to work. One client ordered a job then disappeared, another client paid in advance but whenever I start her work, my feelings flow onto the page and it ends up sounding depressing. I filed a plagiarism case against a third client and lost, and I have dishes and laundry piling. Plus I haven’t won a new bid on Elance all month. It’s my longest dry spell ever. Days like today, I just want to crawl back into bed and tell everything to f*ck off. Nothing feels like it’s worth trying.
But then a friend I hadn’t talked to in a while showed up. It was a random gesture – a comment on my Facebook status. Seeing it brought a smile to my face, and as I spoke to him, I felt … well … distracted. After we were done, I finished up a project and emailed it, and suddenly realised I felt better. I don’t know at what point my dark mood lifted, but everything just felt … well … lighter. I even managed a visualization session.
The Secret tells us to visualize the exact item that we want and behave as if we already have it, and I’ve been doing that for a while. I see myself walking through my penthouse and driving my Red X6.
But as I listened to Mike Dooley, he confused me. He said we shouldn’t focus on the thing, we should focus on the emotion. Like, for example, instead of picturing my red car, I should picture being happy first and picture the car second. It shouldn’t be:
I have a car and I’m so happy!
Instead, it should be:
I’m so happy, and oooh, I have a red car to boot!
I didn’t really understand it, but I tried beginning with the joy, then carrying the joy into the actions in my mind.
I understand a little better after reading the rich suicide story. It’s not the money or the power or the stuff that makes you happy. There are too many poor little rich kids around to disprove that theory. That’s why imagination should begin with happiness.
So many of my sanguine friends say sh*t like:
When you’re sad, stop being sad and just be happy instead!
Yeah, my mind doesn’t work like that, and every time someone says it, I just want to kick them. Thing is … I know stuff doesn’t make me happy, or I’d be happy right now. I’ve ticked everything off my to-do list except my pretty fish tank, and I know that’s coming soon. I’ve bought all the stuff I want to buy, achieved all the highs I’d written down, but I still feel … purple.
That’s like blue, but with passion.
Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy, is a book Mikhail recommended to me, and when I first read it, I felt all energized. I probably need to read it again. It mentions two causes of depression that I’m guilty of:
- The negative filter
The negative filter sees everything in the world as bad. Life sucks, people are mean, work is hard, blah blah nyef nyef. I had a day like that on Friday. A client talked badly, a makanga was mean, a man I know cheated, my website was down, my baby was sick, the sky was blue … and not even in the good way. Times like that my mind says the world is against me and that nothing ever turns out right. I see stuff through a negative filter and I can’t remember a time when I was ever happy.
Of course, that isn’t true at all. There are lots of times when I’m manically happy, and I need to remember that. It might help to look through my timeline, then maybe I’ll see that there were moments when I felt on top of the world. But it’s hard to be realistic when you’re depressed. It’ easier to be distracted and forget, but it’s hard because when you’re down, you don’t really feel like doing anything.
I’m grateful to whoever wrote about the dead rich people, because it makes me feel I’m not alone. I’m grateful to my friends who show up and distract me back to temporary happiness. And I’m grateful for the path I’m on, because I know that I’m like Jacob, the Blind Pathfinder. I hear the rhythm of life in beats, and all I have to do is keep on counting. 1…2…3…4.
Of course, this makes absolutely no sense if you haven’t watched the movie. Find it. It’s called Ink, and it’s beautiful. Don’ be put off by the slow, boring parts at the beginning. I wanted to stop after just five seconds because it seemed quite pointless and weird. But keep going, it’s worth watching to the end.
Assuming you have my taste in movies, of course.
Oh PS: I found it. The article about rich people and suicide. I’m not quite sure how I did that, but it’s an interesting read, and a perspective I hadn’t thought of before.