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September 5, 2011 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]


About three months ago I realised that I was profoundly unhappy.

Not just a little sad. Not a bit iffy. Profoundly sad. And this was not just a bad day or moment. I had felt that way for as long as I could remember. I just had never really noticed it. Well, that’s not true. I had noticed but I had thought it was normal. I had thought that that’s what the stress of life and school and work felt like. Like this big knot of heavy black sitting on your chest making every morning into a bad blur. Kicking each nervous moment into a chasm of despair. Quiet panic in public places. This was, of course, depression. But that’s not the important part of this equation. That is that I didn’t notice something was wrong for so long, because I just thought that’s how things were.

The most nefarious part of all our little neuroses and sadnesses is not their actual effects, but the fact that by their very nature—they are inside our heads, and only we can see them or feel them—they separate us when, really, they should unite us. Because it seems like these feelings or moments seem like they are just happening to us, it is so easy to assume either that a) it’s normal and nothing to bother anyone else about, or b) it’s something that only happens to you. We need to realise that it is okay not to be okay, and that it is equally okay to ask for help or even just share. Life doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it.

You are never as alone as you feel you are—which is an incredibly easy thing to type or say or think, but it is a hard thing to actually believe or understand. When you read that sentence, something like “Except for me, I really am that alone” popped straight into your head. That is wrong. We are training ourselves as a society to find ourselves unworthy, to think that we are undeservedly stealing every moment of our lives. Worse yet, we are training ourselves to think that that is okay—that it is acceptable and normal to hate ourselves.

Which is insane. And we have to stop. And, you know how we stop doing it?

We just stop. It’s hard but we can. We do deserve to be happy. We are worthy. All of us.
…or maybe it’s just me,

Uther Dean
(40mg of Citalopram every morning)

photo by Michelle Ny


About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

Comments (11)

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  1. Ally says:

    Uther, you’re really great.

  2. Laura says:

    I agree with Ally. Nicely done boss. Take care.

  3. Claire says:

    This is awesome. Thank you.

  4. tardis says:

    yes! what is the secret to happiness? it is so simple, be happy.

  5. Erin says:

    Well done you beautiful manfriend x

  6. Nicola Wood says:

    I also agree with Ally. Thank you.

  7. Kate McGill says:

    You are a brave and clever man.
    Thank you for sharing this. And I completely, utterly, 100% agree with you.
    Yours – also in quest for happiness

  8. Matt says:

    There is alot of text and help out there about this…So much that it can hard to motivate yourself to find it…

    Excercise really is a great enabler if you have the motivation….Stay off the endorphin exploders like Ecstasy which can have long depressive crashes. Also take a look at your diet see what things there might not be giving you what you need… Catch some sun (the weather has been very good in Wellington for a while now…I feel my mood lifting alot already from afew weeks ago (bar the fun day of snow) etc etc.

    Also its easy to say just stop. I’m a fan of positive reinforcement…But I can see how the depressive, and usually humble or self loathing self might feel its arrogant or jerklike to think I’m the best etc. But even focusing on little things like looking in the mirror is a good place to start. Like when I wake up in the morning and see abit of a puffy face I sometimes still think eughhhh ugly, then I usually focus on my beautiful green eyes and am happy because I have those jewels for the rest of my life! But yeh…Heaps of stuff about it. I think people get caught in abit of a catch 22 of…I’m depressed but I can’t motivate myself to do or think the things to get me out of depression so I’ll just remain depressed.

    Props to you Uther for speaking out.


  9. Brooke S-H says:

    Awesome Uther. Every one of these stories gives me strength.

    Brooke Smith-Harris
    (40 mg of Citalopram every evening)

  10. Electrum Greenstone says:

    As the Great Physician reassuringly points out:

    “You” are not “your” form [e.g. “your” body, or what happens to it physically];

    “You” are not “your” feelings [ or sensations – Red Pine];

    “You” are not “your” perceptions;

    “You” are not “your” mental formations [or memory – Red Pine];

    “You” are not “your” consciousness.

    ——– ” [W]hat we fear as nothingness is not really nothingness, for that is the perspective of a sense of self anxious about losing its grip on itself. According to Buddhism, letting go of myself into that no-thing-ness leads to something else: when consciousness stops trying to catch its own tail, I become no-thing, and discover that I am everything—or, more precisely, that I can be anything. With that conflation, the no-thing at my core is transformed from a sense-of-lack into a serenity that is imperturbable because there is nothing to be perturbed.

  11. Your Name says:

    Love this

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