When I was in sixth form, I started a project, we could write an essay about anything we wanted to, and I chose the title of “What is the true meaning of happiness?”. I intended to talk about the science behind the feeling of happiness and how being happy can influence our daily lives.
As it turns out, that essay never got written! Partly because it was actually a really daunting subject and it was exceedingly difficult to write at a time in my life where honestly, I just wasn’t feeling “happy”. Also, because I got really lazy in my first year of sixth form so actually ended up having to do three years of A-Levels. I lived the actual dream!
I have been thinking about this project recently, I couldn’t tell you why it came up to be honest, but it got me thinking about everything I have been through and given all that how I ended up where I am today at genuinely the happiest I have ever been.
There have been a few lessons I have learnt along the way of the roller coaster that is my life! Not only that but to be honest I totally think I would ace that essay now, not that I am actually going to write it, I mean I am all for self-improvement and I have been taking a creative writing course over lock-down, but I feel like writing an essay just for the sake of it might be a little much, I mean watch this space, Uni doesn’t start for another week and I am already four weeks ahead so who knows!?
Back to happiness, I know that what makes me happy now is completely different to what made me happy when I was younger. To be honest that is what I find so interesting about this subject. Obviously, likes and dislikes change as we grow and mature, my feelings towards Ewan McGregor though is something that has never wavered as I have grown! He brings me true happiness! Even the little things, such as reading, I hated reading at school but as I have grown up, I have found a real safe place within books. Finding new authors to read and just being able to get lost in a story. They make me laugh; they make me cry but above all they make me happy.
I understand that there are certain chemicals such as Serotonin, Oxycontin, and Dopamine, as well as others, that are released by electrochemical reactions in the brain when we experience a feeling or are exposed to something that gives us the feeling of happiness. At the end of the day, the brain is such an intense organ and it can create feelings within us that we don’t even know how or what has caused them, like depression and anxiety. We may have a general idea of what is making us feel a certain way but sometimes we wake up either in a good mood or a crappy mood with no real explanation as to why we are feeling that way. Not only that but when we are dreaming, we can actually feel in our conscious state how we felt within the dream, which can obviously go one of two ways.
With this in mind I took myself back to the time I was diagnosed with PTSD, depression, and anxiety. I would wake up feeling useless, helpless and worthless and I would really have to work hard to get myself out of bed in the morning, and even then, it wasn’t for myself. I only managed to pull myself together for Aurora. It is that feeling of helplessness that sticks with you and is a place that I never want to go back to. Thinking back to that time though I was having a lot of flashbacks to a time that I never wanted to revisit. I was having realistic nightmares and now looking back to that time, it’s now clear to me that I was obviously reliving that time in my life in my head and then my brain hadn’t been able to separate reality from subconsciousness.
Honestly if I could go back in time and tell my younger self anything, it would be:
“Megan, you are stronger than you know. You will go through some absolute sh*t that you would think would only happen on Hollyoaks, but you will emerge happier and brighter that you could ever believe. Never forget your friends and your family, I know you have never had a lot of close friends but that is okay, it’s quality over quantity. You have more people around you than you think. Please stop thinking that you are alone because you are far from it. But also, allow yourself to feel, don’t negate your own feelings or think of yourself as unworthy, because you are going to find someone who loves and respects you for you, but the truth is, you wouldn’t be you without everything you have been through.”
The most important lesson I have learnt with respect to my own personal happiness is that it comes from me, it comes from within. That may sound obvious, but for so long I always looked for people or things to make me feel that feeling of happiness. It literally took me twenty – six years to figure out that I create my own happiness, by doing things that make me happy and spending time with people who make me happy.
This whole year has been a real eye opener for me. I mean firstly there’s the weight loss, which has obviously affected how I feel about myself and therefore my happiness as a result of that. Then there was lock-down, which I used to improve myself, be it learning a language or concentrating on my daughter and really creating a super strong bond with her and watching her grow into the little person she is today. Which by the way, on a separate note, is absolutely insane how much she has grown up and changed in the last six months or so!
Then thirdly there was the decision I made to start dating. This third factor for me was one that I had previously made based on the fact that I felt as though I “needed” someone, and I was lonely.
This time was completely different.
I had made changes in my lifestyle and I am, in general, a very independent person so when I decided I wanted to start dating again it was purely because I wanted to share my life and to share the big things with someone special. Dating can be hard, intense, and scary. However, my experience (this time!) was hugely different in the best possible way.
I have not only found someone that I can honestly say I love with my whole heart, but we make each other happy, we build each other up and we support each other, no matter what. I know that I can be happy independently, but it is amazing to know that together we are truly happy and for someone to have the ability to change a mood with a kiss or just walking through the door, is such a wonderful feeling.
I passionately believe that I make my own happiness and true happiness, for me, comes from within, but that doesn’t mean that other people can’t contribute to your happiness.
So, find your people; your family, your friends, anyone who contributes to your feeling of happiness.
They are irreplaceable, as are you.
Find what makes you happy, do what makes you happy and don’t be afraid to feel.
Many thanks, sincerely