Why the International Day of Happiness doesn’t make me happy

Today is the International Day of Happiness.

I kid you not. Someone actually concocted the notion that, gosh darn it, if we all just come together and do a little something, then everyone around the world could be happy. For one day, anyway.

When I heard of this, I laughed, but not because I was happy. I laughed because of the sheer absurdity of it all.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Happiness is a good thing. A very good thing. It’s always a good idea to be reminded of things that make us smile, or things that make us grateful. But in my humble opinion, “special days” like this force the idea of happiness. And there’s a big difference between forced happiness and real happiness.

Here’s where I think that those of us with mental illness actually have an advantage over those who don’t; we know this. Because we have to fight so hard for happiness, we know that achieving it is not always simple, and that it often takes a lot of work.

With that in mind, I propose that, at the very least, there needs to be an opposite special day. An International Day of Sadness might be a bit too maudlin, but how about an International Day of Feeling Like Crap? Or International Show Your REAL Feelings Day, Even If It’s Not Pretty? (Okay, that name needs work, but you get the idea.) Just think of what a great release this would be! Maybe, just maybe, people would realize that it’s just as healthy to honestly show your “dark” side as it is to show your “bright” side.

I’m going to honor the International Day of Happiness by vowing to be my true self, whether I’m happy or not. If people can’t handle that, screw them. I want to be my true self, warts and all. That’s an idea that does make me happy.

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