So I'm an optimist. Clearly. I believe that its better to be happy than not, and that when one is not happy, efforts should be made to change that. Not everybody believes that way. So there's a few things about being an optimist that I have to explain. That I want to get off my chest.
It makes us, or at least me, feel awful when someone assumes that we don't understand sadness or depression. We do. In fact, you'd be surprised. Yes, we're generally happy. When you come to us wallowing, our automatic reaction is to try and buoy you up, help you see the positives. That does not mean we don't understand the suck. That doesn't mean that we don't have times, long periods of it, when our utmost belief in and efforts at happiness don't work. Its terrifying. Sometimes the optimism of even genuine optimists is a facade, turned on as a reaction against the pessimism and depression of the people around them. Both to try and help them, because optimism is auto-mode, and also because they have to defend optimism with their whole soul, especially in times when its hard to believe in it, or they will crumble.
When optimists fall, they fall hard. In my experience, this is something pessimists don't quite get. Being an optimist can be painful. In general, we're happy and doing our thing, but that makes sad and depressed and overwhelmed that much harder to take. Both inside and outside of us. And because we're generally happy, we're not quite sure how to talk about the bad when it happens. We don't want to freak anyone out. Not to be harsh, but wallowers become used to being in a hard place, and used to talking about it and handling it. But when it happens to an optimist, it happens extra bad, and we're alone with it too. To sound totally cheesy and angsty, there have been many times when the closest people in my life have no clue how bad I'm hurting and panicking on the inside, because I'm the "happy one" and I don't know how to not be. Not anyone's fault, just how things are. And I know I'm not the only one.
Being optimistic doesn't mean being naive about or ignoring the ugliness and crap in the world. That's being naive and ignorant. Optimists take the crap and decide to be happy anyway. As much bad as there is, I believe there is also much good, much beauty, and much to be grateful for. I believe pessimism doesn't do anybody any good. I guess what I'm trying to say is don't make assumptions about someone because they're not on Prozac or in therapy. In a sense, they're the ones doing it on their own.
As a side note, I'm doing fine. I'm stressed (who isn't?), but actually doing pretty good. This is just something that's been on my mind for a long time, based on past experience and conversations.
I also hope I haven't offended anybody. I'm not trying to make a statement about depression or clinical drugs or anything like that, I'm trying to make a statement about the assumptions and stereotypes of happy people that frustrate me. I don't think any two people can truly, completely understand each other; for now I think we've got to leave that to deity. Everyone is a unique individual, and I'm talking in generalities here. I'm sure there are points I've missed, things I don't understand. But all this is what I do understand, or at least the way I see things.
I'm interested to hear what you think.