There is a popular myth that we can choose to be happy. If that were true, there would be no problems in the world. Everybody, in every circumstance, would choose to be happy and peace and love would prevail. Asking somebody who is depressed to choose to be happy is like asking a drowning person to choose to swim. It is not an available choice.
When you are drowning you don’t have the capacity to breathe deeply, relax and let your body float. You’re lucky if you can use what air you have in your lungs to scream for help. When you are depressed, you are drowning in time. You are drowning in yourself. You don’t have the capacity to access happiness. You do have the ability to work toward happiness. That is what you can choose to do.
When you are depressed your most important job is addressing your mood. That is your full time job, regardless of what other jobs you have. When you choose to work toward happiness, you hire yourself as the only qualified project manager to deal with your emotional state. Then you go to work, day and night, until forever. When you choose to take on this task, you may need to bring in outside help. Friends, family and people in the community can all work with you on the very important task at hand. As project manager, your main job is to be especially kind to yourself and pay attention to your moods. You can see what thoughts are associated with which moods. You can see what time your moods like to come and go. You can see how activity, inactivity, people, sleep, foods, drugs, medications, and the weather interact with your moods. The information you gather will help you and those around you to assist you in your project. It will probably also assist your assistants in their secret (or not so secret) projects to live with their own moods.
Although you can’t choose to be happy, when you choose to stick with the task of taking care of yourself and addressing your moods, when you make that choice every day, or every minute, you will discover how to find the pockets of air within time and yourself. Whenever you find the air, breathe deeply. That will fuel your wisdom and allow you to keep making the right choices. When you are more comfortable in time and yourself, you will breathe easily and see happiness all around you. Then you can choose to show others the way. Peace and love will prevail.