Your Happy People Can Be Silently Sad

Jennie's Snippets, Live

It’s no surprise to those who know me that I can be, most of the time, full of joy. A lot of times I hear from past acquaintances, new strangers, and long-time friends the following words:

” I love your energy!”

“You are just so happy!”

“You brighten the room when you walk in.”

And, I promise, this is not me bragging on myself. There are several people in the world who have this contagious energy they naturally exude. The first celebrity I could think of, as an example that everyone knows, is Robin Williams.

He brightened any one’s room when he was present. Even when thinking of him we easily smile – he was a comedian.

Sadly, in 2014, Robin Williams died by way of suicide.

I remember this event bringing light to an issue that was kept in the dark for some time – noticing the struggles of a individual, and potential signs of depression/disease/struggle, that exist outside of the outward facing appearance.

Many people saw this death as a surprise because Robin Williams rarely, if ever, showed signs of struggle to the outward facing public.

But, being who I am, I can closely relate to him, and what happened. I’m sure many of the happiest people in your life feel similarly.

Being labeled the “joyful,” “happy,” “brighten the room” person comes with a weight no one realizes.

The world can be a dark and dim place, and if we, the happy people, can bring some form of light into it, to show the world that light exists, then we are going to do just that. Especially as a follower of Christ.

And, if we struggle, we normally don’t expose it because many people rely on us to brighten even the darkest of days.

When Robin Williams died I was 20 years old. I was struggling with keeping up this happy façade when I wasn’t actually very happy. I wasn’t depressed or suicidal, at all, but I felt like I had to put my “happy” face on 24/7.

That’s when this very young children’s pastor came up to me, just a few days after the death of Robin Williams, and asked me, “Are you okay?”

My initial response was, “Of course I’m okay. Why wouldn’t I be?”

It’s not like I ever showed him my sad or struggling side!

He went on to explain that I appeared the same way as Robin Williams. I’m always happy and never truly exposing a sad or struggling side. He wanted to check on me, and make sure that I wasn’t secretly struggling with anything.

Let me tell you – I was taken aback. BUT, I also appreciated it so much because no one ever asked me if I was okay. I always supported every one else, loved on every one else, and cared for every one else that I never checked on MYSELF.

When that conversation ended I was moved to build relationships that I could trust and lean on for myself.

I wouldn’t put up this façade, but be real and broken in front of these selected people so that I wouldn’t fall victim to isolation.

Doing this completely changed how I opened up to my now husband, Bruce, and long-time friends. I have a place to be open with people, and to struggle without fear of judgment in front of them. I didn’t have to cry alone.

Today, at 26 years old, I am in a healthy place. I have friendships that are now coming up on their 8,9, and 10 year anniversaries. I struggle in front of Bruce and I’m honest when I’m feeling at my lowest.

I don’t hide any more.

And, in doing so, I’m even brighter and happier than I have ever been. It’s beautiful.

I’m telling you this story because, in the midst of this pandemic, many of your happy people can be secretly struggling. I want you to go out there and ask them, again and again and again and again, “are you okay?”

And if you are the happy person reading this then I want you to seek out those people you can trust, and expose how you feel. Let it out. It’s okay to be open and honest about where you are.

Take off that happy façade, that plastered face, and release yourself from the expectation of 24/7 happiness.

Because 24/7 happiness does not exist.

In the end, you’ll be glad you did.

In the end, I’d rather you be here on earth and not in the dirt.

Love,

Jennie Laureen

Photo by Aliyah Jamous on Unsplash

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