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The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

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October 26, 2023

Here’s to 2016; here’s to letting go, finding genuine happiness


By Sloane Samberson
Managing Editor


Happiness; “the state of being happy.” Happy: “feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.” Contentment: “a state of satisfaction.” Satisfaction: “fulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure derived from this.”


What is the true definition of happiness? For years I have scratched my head over finding an answer to this question. All the dictionary definitions I had found seemed so insufficient in defining its true meaning.


Many nights I laid restless, trying to figure out what the true definition of happiness is, because I was not happy myself.


I dissected the word, finding synonyms and antonyms as a futile attempt to uncover its true meaning, but finally came to the realization that genuine “happiness” cannot be defined – genuine happiness has no true definition.


“Happiness” is merely a word with three syllables, composed of nine letters. Genuine happiness is a feeling, and you cannot give a feeling a simple definition. I had taken the wrong approach.


But then, how does one achieve genuine happiness? That I am still trying to figure out.


I wish I could say that in all of my 17 years I have been genuinely happy, but that has not been my reality.


My reality is that of someone who has suffered from an anxiety disorder since they were 6. The reality of someone who was diagnosed with depression in fifth grade. The reality of someone who developed an eating disorder at age 13 because she thought she wasn’t “pretty” enough.


My reality is frequent appointments with therapists – “How are you doing? How do you really feel?” It is cold, plastic coated doctors offices. It is orange pill bottles of Prozac, Klonopin and Seroquel.


My reality is missing school because I do not have the motivation or desire to get out of bed. It is feeling paralyzed with anxiety for no apparent reason. It is feeling constant nausea because of that anxiety, not eating because of the nausea and losing too much weight because of not eating.


My reality has been that of a girl who fell in love at age 16, and whose heart was broken at age 17. The reality of a girl who finally crumbled under the weight of all the burdens she had been carrying for years. The reality of a girl who nearly killed herself through destructive behaviors, because all she wanted was to cope with the sadness and anger she had compiled over the years – anything that made her forget was a temporary escape.


My reality has clouded the path of me achieving genuine happiness, but I still have hope. I have hope that 2016 is the year I achieve genuine happiness. That I will be able to clear my path by letting go of all my burdens. This is the year that I learn to work against my mental illnesses, and not let them control my life any longer.


I am not writing this article for sympathy or attention, everyone has their own strifes and struggles, but not everyone has hope.


This article is to have great significance in the remainder of my life, and hopefully will inspire others. It will serve as a reminder that I can be genuinely happy if I really want to be. As a reminder that I am a fighter and will not give up. I am not my mental illnesses, and I will not let them define me. This article is my accountability.


American lawyer Louis D. Brandeis once said, “If you would only recognize that life is hard, things would be so much easier for you.” Recognizing that life is not going to be easy is only half of the battle. The hardest part is accepting the fact that life is not always filled with good times, but that there will be many good times that make living worth it.


So if you are anything like me, you are going to have to get out of your head and just start living. It is a lot easier said than done, I understand that, but the first step is to just live in the now, not in the past, and not in the future. Do not even try to plan out your future because I have discovered: life never goes as planned.


You are going to have to be very, very strong and combat your weaknesses. When you are feeling incapacitated by anxiety don’t just let your thoughts consume you. Listen to some calming music and get outside. Observe the flowers, the butterfly that rests on its petals, how the sun feels on your skin and the wind in your hair. Appreciate how precious life is and remind yourself that everything is going to be OK. Begin to fill your mind with nontoxic thoughts.


When all you want to do is lay in bed because you are drowning in depressive thoughts, get out of bed. You can’t sleep your thoughts away. The only thing you are sleeping away is your life. Call up your best friend(s) and go on an adventure. Go to the city, an art museum, drive until you run out of road – whatever suits your fancy. Browse for records until your fingers are sore from filing through them. Eat at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Try something new.


Combating anxiety and depression is hard, but you must keep yourself busy. Filling your time with the people you love and fun experiences allows you to experience life in the best way possible. And, by experiencing life in the best possible way, you have a better shot at achieving genuine happiness.


You have to be an optimist, not a pessimist. Find beauty and joy in everything – especially the small things. It is all about perspective. You are ultimately in charge of your own happiness, so have hope, because in the end, it is all going to be OK.

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    Meha SrivastavJan 9, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Sloane, this is a really inspiring story 🙂