True Happiness This Way Lies

Do we need to be happy or content or fulfilled to be alive?

Do we have a right to be happy, content or fulfilled? I am not sure that we do.

My depression and anxiety has flared up quite a bit over the last two weeks. In the past few months, I have been wondering if my medication (anti-depressants) needed to be upped. Now I find myself without the ability to see my GP face to face due to the coronavirus. So I have booked a telephone consultation with my local GP and luckily, because I am an actor (though this career is admittedly a strain on my mental health) and a member of my union (one that has this week issued public support of a racist white man who isn’t a union member), I am able to get in touch with BAPAM, a service for performers. I have gotten in line for an evaluation for some mental health help.

What else. I have been taking time out to cook (it relaxes me) and eat. To walk and to spend time with my new puppy (unsurprisingly, getting a puppy has been stressful, and I do recommend considering a rescue dog, not a puppy, as many are very settled and not all of them are difficult). I have paid money to get a meditation app which I previously used for free in order to follow a 10 day course for depression.

Of course, not all teachers are for you. And I find myself annoyed, after a few days of listening to this teacher, about this visualisation practice. “Visualise yourself being confident. Feeling happy. You are at home.” etc. and I think of being Asian and the culture I was brought up in. And I know I can’t even use my Asianness as a foundation. My experience of growing up was so specific to my family. I know everyone’s family is riddled with stories. This is not incompatible with the idea that what I experienced really affected me and I do not think that I can trust some Western, generalised voice via an app to help me out here. At least, not that on its own.

I would like to connect with people outside my world, and it is ironic that self-isolation due to the virus has got me staying home today and for the foreseeable future. It’s a good time for me to look into other ways of being alive.

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