Is it wrong to feel like being happy hurts?

Dear Auntie, is it wrong to feel like being happy hurts? It feels wrong. It feels forced. What can I do?

Hey there! I’m so glad you wrote in.

It can be really confusing when you’re giving yourself mixed messages.

For starters, being open about what you’re going through by asking this question is a great first step, so kudos to you for looking after yourself.

I’m going to recommend that you find someone to talk to: a counselor at school, or at your tribal clinic, a teacher, or a trusted adult.

It sounds like having someone to talk through your feelings with could help. They may ask you…

  • Did something stressful or traumatic recently happen?
  • How often you feel this way? And, for how long?
  • Are parts of your life being affected, like your relationships or grades?
  • Are there other changes you have noticed, like:
    • Loss of interest in most activities
    • Unintended weight loss or change in appetite
    • Insomnia (not sleeping) or hypersomnia (sleeping excessively)
    • Fatigue
    • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Persistent and several symptoms might warrant a more thorough evaluation. And, because depression is one of several possible reasons you may be feeling this way, the only way to truly know what’s going on is by talking with a health care provider.

It can be confusing and frustrating when you’re not sure why you’re feeling a certain way. To find a counselor, check with:

  • Tribal Clinic
  • Your School, or University
  • Mental Health America has a zip code locator to help you find clinics near you with low-cost or sliding scale services.
  • Text START to 741-741, call 1-800-273-8255 anytime, day or night, or chat with a real person by going to The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s website.

One additional tip, my friend told me about a strategy she uses called the opposite action. I can be helpful for feeling yucky. She says, for example, when she doesn’t want to get out of bed, she puts her whole attention on putting one leg out of bed, like it is the only thing in the world and the most interesting thing. She notices how it feels to put her foot on the ground (is it carpet, is it wood?). Then she does the next leg – she does this one step at a time until she gets in the shower. Then in the shower, she smells the smell of the shampoo and the warmth of the water. When sad thoughts come into her head, she goes back to the smell and the warmth over and over. Just an idea. You can learn more about it here: she likes Diana’s video

I hope this helps and I’m so glad you wrote in.

Take care,
Auntie Amanda

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