Under no circumstances let joy or happiness enter your life.

I am convinced now that I am doomed. Every single solitary time I let a bit of joy or hope or happiness bubble to the surface, someone drops a turd in the bowl.

The first time I noticed this was when, after a long, hard time in my marriage, things seemed to be going well, husband had a job that looked like decent money, and I let myself consider the possibility that we might just be able to buy our first home…got real happy. That day, husband confesses to me that the great wage was just a training period wage, and once training was over, he would be on straight commission…no guaranteed money coming in, and within months he was earning NO commission…we had to PAY his company each week for our health insurance.

This trend of get happy, get crushed continues, in little and big ways through today. Great weather, day off, feel semi-rested, going to a meeting tonight to look into going back to teaching…felt a little pure joy bubble up…phone call from boss.
She’s too sick to work…can I go in for her. Not this morning, when I have free time…but this afternoon, when I have a doctor’s appt. and this meeting to go to. Smack, smack, smack.

This is why I refuse to get happy about the guy I’m dating. It’s doomed, and as long as I feel that way, it’s safe. Anyone else feel joy is an enemy?

I did, when I was suffering from depression. It’s a hallmark symptom of this imminently treatable disease. With all the sympathy I can, kittenblue, I would encourage you to seek out some counseling. If finances are a problem, most faith organizations (e.g., churches) and public health departments offer free or reduced-cost counseling services.

Please get help. God bless.

I can’t really offer any words of wisdom, but I feel the same way Kittenblue. It seems to me that whenever I notice that things are going my way something will happen to ruin everything. It’s like my life is one giant game of one step forward and two steps back. The worst part is I know it has to be something I’m doing wrong but I just can’t seem to figure out what the hell it is.

I’ve gotten to the point where I’m actully afraid when I catch myself humming a happy little tune. The moment I notice that things are actually ok, a sense of dread fills me and I just start waiting for all hell to break loose.

Thank you, but I’m not clinically depressed. I’m basically a happy person. I’ve just noticed a disturbing trend in my life. If I make a math error in my checking account and have $35 more than I thought, the cat will, that day, require emergency care that costs $85. If I come home from a date, happy and content, there is a message on my machine that my daughter has just totalled my car. As long as I don’t get too giddy, things proceed at their usual up & down pace. But let the bubble break the surface, and there will be consequences, swift and severe. If I ever have sex again, it will probably result in the end of civilization as we know it.

Even the counselor I went to after the divorce (and you don’t want to know what precipitated THAT) said that I have done a great job maintaining a positive, upbeat outlook in the face of a great deal of adversity. But thanks for your concern.

YES! That’s the feeling! But in my case, I think I might know what I’m being punished for…I just think I’ve paid enough!

Well, kittenblue, at the risk of sounding like Stamp-licking Pollyanna, I’d say there’s a different way you could think of these things…

For instance, you could think, “Well, thank God (just an expression, I’m suggesting a conversion to Christianity) I had that extra $35 when the cat went down in a cloud of smoke–otherwise I’d be $85 in the hole right now, instead of $50!”


“Well, it’s a good thing my daughter came through the accident OK… it would suck if my second date with Mr. Groovy Guy took place in a Funeral Home.”

I think that what you’re describing happens to pretty much everyone.

(Case in point: Shortly after Sept. 11, my mom insisted that my sister and I cash in some Mutual Funds we’d inherited because she was freaked out about what would happen to the stock market in the wake of the attacks. All opinions aside as to whether or not that was good advice, I was happily looking forward to paying off one of my credit cards with the mini-windfall. Before the ink could dry on the check, however, it turned out that I needed a new furnace. Sure, I was disappointed that I would no longer be able to get out from that one little chunk of debt, but overall I was grateful to have the money to replace the furnace without having to pimp my dog on a street corner.)

Sometimes it all just comes down to the angle at which you’re viewing the picture. Sometimes a positive spin is damn near impossible, but sometimes you can find one if you look…


The key, I’ve found, is to ignore the happiness. If you don’t notice it the bad things that will inevitably happen won’t seem so crushing. The good times become less fun but the bad times just become part of the routine.

I agree that it’s not necessarily depression. Not many things can be explained by science, or fixed with pharmaceuticals.

Some of these things are more than a coincidence: Go to work every day for years, car works fine, drive to Burlington for a Dopefest, car breaks down right at the border right after a major terrorist attack on the U.S. Nothing special for months, no problems, special occasion, maybe a hot date, come down with bubonic plague. And I could go on and on with specific examples that would prove to any sentient being that this is more than a coincidence or something in our heads (well maybe I’d exaggerate a tad for effect).

It makes an athiest out of you by necessity because if you start to consider the existence of a higher power, you also have to accept that this higher power has it in for you, big time.

This being said, is blocking out joy the solution or a self-fulfilling prophecy?

I say grab joy when you can, rage against the dying of the light (or the dying of the alternator)! If the best revenge is living well, why not bitch slap joy around for a bit, tie it up and make squeal like a pig! Fight the unknowable with sillyness, it’s the ultimate weapon!

Oh, and another thing you might want to lose is the idea that you’re being “punished” for something. I mean, there are of course very real and direct consequences for certain actions (i.e., kill your landlord, possibly wind up in prison or on the lam under the pseudonym Hattie Goulash), however it doesn’t do any good to let what sounds like guilt over something you’ve done translate into “I’m never allowed to be happy again.”

If possible, try to rectify the situation (apologize to the carbuncular kid you picked on in 8th grade, or make amends with your estranged father), but don’t go thinking that you don’t deserve to be happy because of it…

Whoops! That was supposed to say, “I’m NOT suggesting a conversion to Christianity…”

Might I echo eunoia’s suggestion, however, and suggest drawing a mustache on a picture of Jesus and making HIM squeal like a pig (via a drawn-in speech balloon?) :wink:

I can understand to a certain extent, intellectually, the notion that one’s happiness is a function of how one chooses to view one’s life. I understand it, but I can’t subscribe to it.

There is a form of depression which is not “clinical depression.” The jargon-makers call it “situational depression,” which basically translates to: “Of COURSE you feel like shit. Rotten things are happening to you!”

So we have a name for it. Whee. What we don’t have, what kittenblue doesn’t have, and for that matter what I don’t have, is some explanation of why some of us merely seem fated to walk through life with an archery target on our foreheads.

Hey Kittenblue, I thought it was only me and Al Bundy.

I tried to explain to my wife how I feel and the two thing that came out were;

"You remember a Christmas when you were a kid, under the tree’s a wonderfully large and well-wrapped gift. You just know that’s gonna be the Best Prezzie Ever!!

So you rush for it and tear the paper off with wild abandon - Best Prezzie ever coming up.

You stop unwrapping.

You blink.

It’s the biggest pile of crap you have ever seen in your life.

THAT’S what I feel like every day."


“life is sh*t - after a while I got used to the smell.”
Kal (who wishes that someone would remove the ‘kick me’ sign)

Geez, you guys are bumming me out! And yes, I know all about situational depression…in fact, I was the one who mentioned that to the counsellor when she suggested I needed to consider medication…and she agreed with me.

I’m really a very happy person…I laugh a lot, have a wicked sense of humor, weather most major crises with ease, cry when it’s appropriate, cope as well as anyone. It’s that extra, giddy bubble of joy that gets me in trouble. I don’t really believe I deserve to be punished for something. In fact, I am at peace with all the decisions I have made, and I have an active faith that comforts me when I need guidance…but I’m not an excessively religious person. A realist, a pragmatist…yep, that me.

But I also believe that God has a wicked sense of humor. And I do look for the best in every crappy situation. So why can’t I use that extra $35 to get a haircut, or pay a bill, or buy my kids Christmas presents? Why, when the husband tells me on our 15th anniversary that, despite all the problems, he’s happier than he’s ever been, does he NOT mean with our marriage and family, but with the affair he started? (the plus side to that is…well, I don’t have to live with him anymore). Why couldn’t my daughter wreck HER car…the 1989 heap that imploded the head gasket 2 days after my perfectly good car was totalled?

So, Friday will be the good side of having to give up my day off…I don’t have to work the closing shift, so I can go out…and NOT get giddy.

Look at it this way. Bad things happen to everyone, it’s a part of life. The same with good things. If something good happens, can you reasonably expect that things will be wonderful forever from there on out? Of course not. Of course something bad is going to happen to spoil it! And then something good will happen to “spoil” your bad time. That’s just the way it goes.

You get what you expect. If you expect something bad to happen when things are going well, it will.

This happens in two ways.

First, you tend to treat it the same as the “full moon and crazy people” effect - i.e. you notice it when your expectation comes true, and don’t notice when things don’t meet your expectations.

Secondly, when you expect a certain outcome, you are more likely to actively or passively encourage that outcome whether you realize it or not.

Take your relationship with your boyfriend. Because you expect problems to happen, when you have an argument you will be more likely to give up than to resolve the problem. By expecting a bad event you risk damaging the relationship.

Expect the best
Allow for the worst
Be prepared to handle whatever life throws at you