Remember when ‘happy’ was just something you were? Or weren’t. Good days, bad days, happy days, sad days – all jumbled in a life you lived rather than thought about too much.

Unhappiness, happens. Picture: Thinkstock

Today happiness is a commodity; a ‘goal’, a ‘revolution’, a ‘project’. It’s what we want for ourselves and our children. “Yes, please,” we’d say to the doctor if she could vaccinate against sadness, along with the usual measles and mumps. Anything to immunise ourselves against pain and unease.

I write this because I’ve had an awful week – made somewhat worse by the book I’m reading (for work, not pleasure) called The Happiness Project. Ironically, as my world filled with woes, I read chapter after chapter about one woman’s attempt to “lighten up”, “be serious about play” and “keep a contented heart”. “I am happy,” writes Gretchen Rubin in her mega-selling memoir, “but I’m not as happy as I should be.”

More helpful, I think, than having an articulate and much-blessed woman tell you how to find happiness, is having a flawed and down-in-the dumps columnist recount the details of her weekus horribilis. (Shall we start with my appalling Latin?)

I may be guilty of over-sharing, but my argument is this: we live in a culture that propagates the notion that happiness should be a constant state of mind and perfection our universal aim. To that end, most weeks I write jaunty, optimistic and ‘wise’ missives underneath a photo that makes me look 10 times prettier than I really am.

“Great life, lucky cow,” you probably say to yourself and, yes, sometimes it is and sometimes I am.

But if I neglect to tell you the bad stuff – the hard, horrible, trying times – then I’m as guilty of perpetuating perfect images as those ads where mums are always smiling.

So here goes. I returned from India with a bug that’s eating my insides. I’ve had to pull out of a 100km charity walk, and I hate letting people down. I’ll be fine, but it’s hard slowing down a life that’s stuck on the fastest setting.

One of my children has a medical issue, which can be remedied, but I should’ve detected it. “I wish you’d noticed this two years ago,” said the specialist, shooting arrows of guilt into my already tender core.

Furthermore, I can’t drive for three months. Stupidly and carelessly, I accrued 13 points on my licence when the demands of my manifold responsibilities made me less attentive than I should be.

Some nights, I watch my sleeping daughter and believe I’ve failed her. Other worries – a complicated work project, an unexpectedly large bill and being the worst player in my hockey team – have left me feeling flat.

All of this is small stuff compared to people suffering real problems, and I’m not seeking sympathy. I’m telling you this because it’s normal to feel unhappy occasionally; metabolising sadness and disappointment is human. You simply have to live through it.

There’s lots of sound good sense in Rubin’s project, but I’m concerned we’re trying to anaesthetise anguish from our lives. Psychologists are observing a new generation suffering “a discomfort with discomfort”.

“Please let them be devastated at age six,” implores Wendy Mogel, author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. I hear her. Last year, my eldest didn’t practice for a music exam and received a correspondingly poor result. It’s been the best lesson in her charmed life.

Anyway, back to my tea and tissues, safe in the knowledge that this, too, shall pass.

Email angelamollard@sundaymagazine.com.au. Follow her at www.twitter.com/angelamollard.

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47 comments

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    • Dave C says:

      09:04am | 05/08/12

      Thank you thank you…... and thank you…

      All of us have a shit times and its very difficult to stay “happy” all the time.

      Whats really bad are those people who just coast through life with no problems at all, they always get the job they apply for, (and they always coast through work too)  they always get the girl/boy they want and when they break up its always amicable and then magically they have a new person within a few weeks.

      Then they have the perfect wedding, get pregnant straight away after trying and never miscarriage and the kids are always perfect with no complications or health issues.

      Anyways thanks for this article. A dose of reality on the punch. its great

    • MyJoy says:

      09:27am | 05/08/12

      Happiness that the world gives is transient, temporary, the joy of the Lord lasts forever, that is what so many miss out on sadly.  The former is nothing in comparison to the latter.  I hope and pray you will find that joy, then the vain chase after happiness will fade to what it really is.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      02:17pm | 05/08/12

      MyJoy,
      How do you know that about “the Lord”? Have you ever actually spoken to her/him face-to-face? No, of course you haven’t! Incidently exactly what does “the joy of the Lord” actually mean? If you read the Bible - both the Old & New Testaments, in all their versions, this Lord you talk about gets his/her Joy from very, very strange, cruel, vicious sources. For as it is claimed that the Bible is “The Word of God” the type of person he is leaves a whole lot tobe desired. He admits he is a bully - Do as I say or I will rain down plagues & pestilence on you, kill your first-born”, in, allegedly, his own words he says ” For the Lord Thy God is an Angry God”. He tells us that he created the world and everything in it, including every disease known to humankind - Cancers, leukaemia which kills so many children, MS, MND, parkinsons, Alzheimers to name but a few and All created before he, allegedly, created Adam & Eve! What sort of Joyful, Loving God gives all that hurt, sorrow, pain to the people he claims are ‘My Children”? What sort of monstrous god is that?
      We are taught that this God is Omniscient & Omnipotent. That means he knows everything & is all-powerful.
      If that were true then why did he allow the rise of Hitler so that Hitler could exterminate his (God’s) Chosen People.
      “Free Will”? I am sure not one of the Chosen People volunteered of their own Free Will to be beaten, tortured, starved, gassed & incinerated.
      Why did he allow the rise of Stalin & his pals whom, we are told, deliberately murdered over 40 million people - men, women, children & babies?
      Why did he allow the genocide in Rwanda, Sudan, Cambodia to mention but 3 cases out of 10s of 1000s?
      Being Omniscient means that this God Knew what these people were going to do before they actually put their murderous games into play.
      Why did he not stop them?
      He is, we are told, “Omnipotent” All Powerful so if he exists at all & is the Joyful, Loving, Compassionate God you would have us believe, rather than the sadistic, cruel bastard he tells us, in his own words, that he is then he would have prevented the deliberate murder, extermination, genocide, call it what you will, of all those Innocents. Why did he not, at least, save those he has called his “Chosen People”?????
      All those 100s of millions will have, of course, gone to their cruel deaths Full of the Joy of the Lord, they will have been thanking him for the pain & suffering “the Lord in His mercy allowed them to endure.
      Put yourself in other’s shoes for a moment & ask yourself why did God allow my parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, neices, nephews, friends to be rounded up, shoved into cattle trucks so tightly that many died, taken to extermination camps like Auschwitz, Treblinka, Dachau where simply because they were old, female, children or babies they were experimented upon by so-called Doctors, beaten, clubbed, starved, worked almost to death then shoved into so-called “shower rooms” which in fact were gas chambers & then burnt.
      This is what this Lord of yours allowed to take place. Where is his Joy now?
      Those of us who are left thrice curse him.

    • Dan The Man says:

      03:09pm | 05/08/12

      Barely two comments before somebody spruiked their favourite brand of religion in smug, condescending fashion, as if its the answer to life’s ills. If we could keep this a religion-free zone that would be great.

    • PhilD says:

      07:03pm | 05/08/12

      @Dan The Man - MyJoy’s comment is neither smug nor condescending. Your comment is more offensive and maybe you’re quite pleased with yourself for the opportunity to mindlessly attack religion. MyJoy’s comment is supported by the principles of a few religions, not just Christianity, they just have different ‘Lords’. There have been many posts on ThePunch both attacking and supporting various forms of religion. That’s life, get over it.
      But back to MyJoy’s post, there’s actually nothing religious in it. No bells, no candles, no vestments, and no chants. But you read it and your demons arose in protest.

    • PhilD says:

      10:40pm | 05/08/12

      @Robert S McCormick - Well, that’s quite a rant. You failed to mention the ancient flood, the black plague, the fire of London, the Maoist takeover of China where over 50 million were killed (Stalin was a pussy in comparison), cholera, the flu epidemic, Pol Pot yada yada yada.
      Please if you are going to quote the Bible then have the decency to quote book, chapter and verse. You stated “in, allegedly, his own words he says ” For the Lord Thy God is an Angry God. ” 
      The Bible states that God does indeed get angry with his creation - but you’re satement is incorrect - you’re probably thinking of Deuteronomy 6:15 “For the Lord your God is a jealous God”.
      You misinterperate many things.
      In answer to some of your rant - suggest you read the book of Job.

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      09:22am | 06/08/12

      Yes…of course it does.  But even eternal joy has nothing on riding a unicorn.  And I have one.  So there.

    • MyJoy says:

      12:04pm | 06/08/12

      @Robert S McCormick

      Thank you for taking the times to express your views on my post.  As you have asked me questions and then chosen to answer them on my behalf I will not go into the detail of your answer. 

      My friend, you make assumptions about me having never met me, having never even taken the time to make sure I exist. My post could have been an automated response.  If you are so careless in your assumptions about a fellow human being, how could one expect you to understand the deep things of God.  Or to understand who truly rules the world and its darkness. These things are hidden when one chooses to be an unbeliever.

      I understand your ignorance. I too walked that path for a lot of wasted years. I hope and pray that Jesus will make Himself real to you as He has to me.  But it is your choice to live in ignorance or open yourself to find there is so much more than our senses and tiny minds can understand. 

      First explore, investigate, seek before writing off things beyond your human understanding.  It takes courage to move from what the crowd believes, but it is worth it. I am so glad I put aside my pride and assumptions and found life.

      @Dan the Man

      Interesting to see how atheists are all for “freedom of speech” as long as it reflects their narrow, restricted and hopeless perspective.  I never mentioned “religion” - it does not interest me. I spoke of a reality not something the carnal mind can understand though.  I pray you will seek and find there is so much more. More than you or I can imagine or understand.  The joy I speak of is but one of the treasures, but it is not anything man can generate of himself.

      @PhilD

      Thank you.  :0)

      @ Tim the Toolman.

      I guess you are back in kindergarten today so I will not bother you with a grown-up response.  Enjoy your day.

    • Dan The Man says:

      08:35pm | 06/08/12

      @MyJoy - You tried to tell Punchers that outside of ‘the Lord’ and ‘his joy’ there is nothing in comparison (I assume you mean in life here). Pretty scary stuff. Don’t know about you but I’m not ready to drink the coolade just yet. And I’m pretty happy believing in the good of humanity as a collective. That is my faith, not some ethereal crutch whose ‘mysterious ways’ can be interpreted in any ambiguous way necessary to fit a given scenario.

      @PhilD - Actually, yes, MyJoy’s initial comment is dripping with self-assured, condescending smug. You just don’t see it because you see her point of view (or so I interpret). And stop suggesting we read the Bible like it’s some kind of God-given mouthpiece or a giant answer book to life; have you any idea how many times that text has been re-written (by men in power might I add) since it was compiled? I suppose you have a passage from the Bible for me on that one too hey?

    • sue says:

      09:27am | 05/08/12

      Thanks so much Angela, interesting article. Was unaware of the book The Happiness Project with its line: “I am happy, but not as happy as I should be”  - but I hope the conclusion the author ends up reaching in that book is that happiness by and large comes from thinking about and helping and being useful to others… because if not, and this book is a mega-seller as you say, then bloody hell, we live in even more narcissistic, greedy and self-obsessed times than I, in my gloomiest moods, fear.
      As a bit of a sociological experiment, I have just been trying to convince those of my incredibly affluent, comfortably off friends and relatives - those whom I know have little to think/worry about other than booking their next cruise on the QE2 and/or how their property portfolions are faring - to pledge $10 to a charity fund-raising event I’m involved with; not because $10 makes much difference to anything, of course, but just to observe the reaction. And unlike the generous responses of people I also know who have very little money, the response has been pathetic. Eminently predictable - but sad and telling nonetheless. Yes, I know, shouldn’t be judgmental; perhaps they very quietly give every cent they can spare to other charitable causes, or only appear on the outside to be worth several million dollars.
      Perhaps…

    • T says:

      10:56am | 05/08/12

      This is exactly what i have been telling my partner, it’s ok to feel down. It’s normal, natural and apart of life. And getting through it will make you happy in the end, because you will be proud you made it.

      Thanks for this post Angela, if it means anything to you, you have made me feel a little bit happier working today while the rest of the world relaxes smile

    • Rose says:

      11:05am | 05/08/12

      What we actually have is a society that has no idea of the difference between being depressed and having depression. Being depressed is having crap week, being sad because someone died or a relationship ended, just going through a bad patch. Things which, given time and a little bit of a push, will pass. Having depression is the black dog, it has no rhyme or reason, it’s a black cloud that doesn’t lift, it is a genuine medical condition an its sufferers are as sick as people with more tangible illnesses, and the affect just as debilitating.
      If you’re a bit depressed and you indulge your feelings of woe, you don’t do any one any favours, you need to allow time to heal, but you need to get about and do things that people in ‘normal life’ do, to put your life back in balance. If you have depression, you need to look at medications and therapy in the same way you would look to physical therapies, as a necessity.
      People need to learn the difference, because it will affect the way you deal with people in either case. There would be little more frustrating and demeaning to be have depression than to have people question whether or not you should have it, Comments like “he has a great wife, awesome family, good job, what does he have to be depressed about” are really unhelpful because they cannot answer that, they don’t know why, they know everything is as it should be and they still have the black dog nipping at them constantly. We need to understand so we can be of help, rather than do stuff that makes it worse, for either people who are a bit depressed or those who have clinical depression.

    • Jacko says:

      03:36pm | 05/08/12

      Very true Rose very true indeed

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      11:20am | 05/08/12

      I have a friend who decided that they were only going to allow “Happy Thoughts” to inhabit their life. Bad or worriesome thoughts were banished! How stupid, how unitelligent is that?
      Where were the ‘bad’ thoughts & worries etc. banished to? Their subconscious, that’s where. To sit there quietly stewing away until some night they all come rushing out at 3.00am & wreak havoc at a time when you are powerless to address them. Good-bye sleep! Hullo panic & anxiety - made all the worse by being in the middle of the night.
      People who adopt this “happiness above all else” idea, I don’t believe I am saying this, to see a psycho-babbler, need their heads read.
      Yes, in an ideal world we all have enough food, money, no debts, no ill-health - physical or mental, loving & caring families whether young or old etc.
      But…We DON’T Live in an Ideal World.
      Enjoy the happy parts of it to the full
      Face up to the very real problems, the facts. Everyone, including members of the family, do not all love & respect us. We might have enough food but it might not all be good for us. Most of us would like to have a little bit extra money and no debts. Talking of which I have a nephew & his wife with a working adult daughter. He & his wife ADMIT to taking home $180,000 after tax. Their house is fully paid for. They’ve an after tax combined weekly income of about $3750. But they claim to be having money problems.
      They should be so “unhappy”
      Where did that silly book come from? The Land of Perpetual Happiness - the USA?
      How anyone, other than the boss buying it for you to review, can read such garbage is beyond me.
      I have a tiny income, I have my food & drink, I have my health. I also have some debt & a mortgage to pay, my utilities, my rates & taxes. The former I am glad of. The latter I would dearly rather not have but I can’t avoid them so I pay them, on time, every time. I would love to go to the Theatre, Concerts, Films etc. but I simply can’t afford to at present. BUT….I Am HAPPY. What more can anyone ask for?

    • Matchofbris says:

      12:02pm | 05/08/12

      Good article. I agree. It seems that these days there is this expectation that life should be all sunshine and lollipops, and if it isn’t, you’re fucked. Yet, realistically, life is ALWAYS a mixed bag of up and down. Yet, admittedly, while it’s up to the individual to take care of their own happiness, it can be hard when you’re not only trying to make it through the quagmire of your own hopes and expectations, but also the projected happiness complex of society.

      No wonder so many of us are always feeling miserable, we’ve been told that unless we have x, y, z, that we ought to be. And most of us don’t have those perfect things in our life, all the time.
      Hell: I’m not happy with my life at the moment. I wasted my time at uni, have almost no social life, my job - not career, just pay-the-bills JOB - is fucking crap, and my marriage is so far up shit creek I can see the outline of teeth… So, yes, if somebody quotes me some “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” bullshit I am likely to shove their self-help mantra up their bunghole in a fit of rage. I can’t meet my own expectations right now, let alone other peoples. /End ramble.

    • Imay says:

      12:11pm | 05/08/12

      Beautiful - I hope you feel better soon ...

      When my sons’ father died (they were 6 and 8)  the parent of a girl in my youngest son’s class told me it was very difficult for her daughter to deal with my husband’s death as in their family they had always told the children that only sick and old people die. To this day I am not sure if she expected me to apologise for my husband dying however she did leave me crying in the meat section of the supermarket.

      I strongly believe that “skinned knees” and dead pets are important lessons for our children to learn to deal with the tougher facts of life later on. We do our kids a disfavor if we do not help them learn how to deal with pain while it is still relatively minor and in a “controlled” environment.

    • Blossom says:

      03:39pm | 05/08/12

      @Imay, i am sorry for the loss of your Husband,
      i am also sorry for the way the Parent responded to your loss.

      I lost my Husband and son in the same year, i know how insensitive
      people are, until someone has walked in your shoes,
      they have absolutely no idea , what you are going through.
      So if anyone is suffering from Clinical Depression,
      and someone says “snap out of it”, it is the same as someone with
      a Tumour on the Brain, can they snap out of it.
      All problems are relative to what you are suffering, until you have gone
      through it yourself, no one can really empathise with you.
      Please don’t beat yourself up with guilt, anyone that thinks they should
      be happier, we all have ups and downs.
      It is how you react to it.
      I don’t worry about others comments anymore, i can’t help what they think.

    • Rose says:

      06:16pm | 05/08/12

      This probably goes back to a person’s inability to be articulate and express themselves in an obviously tragic situation rather than a lack of empathy on the other mother’s part. I’d suggest that she probably saw you, didn’t know what to do and went for something that she understood, her own daughter’s confusion, rather than something she didn’t, your grief. It doesn’t excuse her insensitivity, but foot in mouth occurs all the time. When I had a miscarriage, people told me that “at least you have the other children”, probably because they didn’t know any thing else they could say. We don’t talk about death and dying, we don’t talk about grief. I have come up with line that I generally use ( or a variation thereof) pretty much whenever I’m in such spot. “I’m really sorry about….., How are you doing?” After which I can let the person lead the conversation, I need to make the interaction about them and not me and the easiest way to do that is give them space to say what they need to say and it helps me not to put my foot in it.
      I’m sorry for both of you ladies’ losses, you have both suffered great pain and I hope you have the support you need.

    • Madmeg says:

      12:16pm | 05/08/12

      Its easy to dismiss these projects as being unrealistic - of course we are not happy all day everyday. But I think that our lives these days are overly filled with the bad news. If something horrific happens on the otherside of the world we all know about it and have the pictures to show the true horror. In times past we only knew of problems in our own little sphere. There has also been a rise in the thinking that we can control things. If our child becomes ill then it is surely because we didn’t vaccinate, medicate, feed the correct foods, apply enough sunscreen, enrol them in music lessons,  cuddle them sufficiently or gave them the odd smack. With increasing education and affluence, our world is no longer simple. I think this complication of our daily lives has added greatly to the levels of anxiety. The churches no longer are where we look to for moral guidance so we must make up our minds in this area too. I think that these projects are simply getting us back to the kind of happiness levels that our grandparents would have enjoyed. More like back to normal rather than trying to make us unrealistically happy.

    • Tubesteak says:

      12:45pm | 05/08/12

      The pursuit of happiness is a futlie goal. The hedonic treadmill will always keep it out of your reach. The pursuit causes more problems and anxiety than it is worth. Society should give up on this and go back to focusing on something more realistic such as working, eating and sleeping.

    • Rose says:

      02:07pm | 05/08/12

      Even if this is your attempt at sarcasm, I pity you if you think eating, working and sleeping are a good enough substitute for happiness. It’s really sad that some people don’t ever experience happiness. The trick is to understand that happiness is not the end goal, the end goal is a sort of a balance, where happiness, sadness, anger, joy…..all the emotions, get experienced at appropriate times, and as best as possible, understood.
      Happiness is great, it just isn’t permanent, it’s just one of the many different things you will feel if you lucky.

    • thatmosis says:

      02:20pm | 05/08/12

      Crap Tubesteak, happiness is achievable if you are willing to work towards it.
        I am as happy as a pig in the proverbial, I have a great life, I’m fit, my wife is healthy and fit, we own our own home and car and owe nothing to anybody or organisation , we have two dogs from the RSPCA that keep us company and amused with their antics and our children are both doing extremely well in their chosen professions and their marriages. We live on 100 acres of bushland, have kangaroos and wallabies and dingoes as frequent visitors, birds of all kinds wake us up in the morning with their songs and colour the landscape with their miriade of colours. We supply our own water and electricity, have most of the mod cons that people have, have hobbies that keep us occupied and invite mental health and are happy with our lot.
        I write to blogs to discuss an my views and read the opposing views which I might not agree with but will answer arguing my case, sometimes rather vigorously and to the annoyance of those in charge,  but its not the end of the world that people don’t agree with me its just a fact of life and matter little in the scheme of things.
        What we don’t have is the pressing need some people have to live up to the expectations of others, to keep up with the Joneses, to yearn for the latest “must have” that someone has decide we all cant live without when it is evident that these material things are just that, things, things that need replacing endlessly in case one finds oneself out of fashion or heaven forbid not trendy.
        As I said happiness is achievable its just that most people set goals that are unachievable and are therefore depressed and anxious that they have somehow failed.

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      09:24am | 06/08/12

      ”  As I said happiness is achievable its just that most people set goals that are unachievable”

      Ahh, the Marge Simpson philosophy. 

      “Aim low kids.  Aim so low that even if you succeed, no one will notice.”

    • JJJ says:

      01:16pm | 05/08/12

      I LOVE this article! I am a teacher and it is WONDERFUL to spread the message that: “No man ever achieved worth-while success who did not, at one time or other, find himself with at least one foot hanging well over the brink of failure. - Napoleon Hill”.
      Mistakes can be a powerful lesson, if you have the right attitude. Parents who do not ensure their children reflect on their unhappiness and “devistations” and how they can learn from them are doing their children a disservice.
      THANK YOU! smile

    • PhilD says:

      07:12pm | 05/08/12

      Einstein: “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

      Gemmell: ‘a man who never made a mistake never made anything.’

      Failure can be a good teacher, just don’t let it become a habit.

    • BJ says:

      09:08pm | 05/08/12

      You pair have missed the point of the article. We shouldn’t tune out feelings of failure. We shouldn’t accept failure. We should be as mad as hell that we allowed ourselves to fail.

    • Cynicised says:

      02:20pm | 05/08/12

      Sorry to hear about the difficulties you and your family are facing now, Angela.  I hope things improve for you soon.

       It’s all relative, each person experiences their pain in their own way, according to their own lives. One person’s suffering is no different to another’s, except in extreme cases. It’s how we deal with it that matters.

      I agree that an early understanding that life is not a bed of roses where nothing bad happens is necessary for the development of resilience in children, who grow into resilient adults. Acknowledging sadness, anger and frustration as normal emotions in response to negative events is healthy. Learning to cope with those emotions and how to best achieve equilibrium in our lives is a matter of attitude, (perhaps  formed through spiritual beliefs) combined with experience. Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks. However, some coping mechanisms are functional and some are not. Knowing the difference is crucial for happiness in the long term.

    • James says:

      02:44pm | 05/08/12

      Thank you, Angela, for a very honest and articulate commentary.

      It reminds of a quote from sport, about the goals that we set for ourselves:

      ‘No one ever said it would be easy; they just said it would be worth it’.

    • Lloyd says:

      02:50pm | 05/08/12

      Well my life is falling apart at the moment. My firing from my job is imminent due to my alcoholism, I’m broke, single and experiencing the worst anxiety and depression I have ever experienced.At 28 I have nothing.  It is only my family keeping me from making the final choice. Yet there are still nice moments. I just hope they come on soon.

    • Imay says:

      04:00pm | 05/08/12

      All the best to you Lloyd in your fight.

    • Kathy says:

      04:16pm | 05/08/12

      Lloyd, please see your doctor urgently & get the help you need & deserve.  It is hard to believe it now but things will get better, I know because I have been there.
      Angela, I agree with your article for the most part.  However I would never wish devastation upon a 6 year old, having experienced the sudden death of my father at that age.  Loss of a pet , OK, but not actual devastation.

    • Blossom says:

      04:20pm | 05/08/12

      @Lloyd, i am sorry you are feeling that way,
      i hope you seek help NOW, what you are feeling isn’t normal.
      I hope your supportive family can help you to seek help.
      Ask them please, i don’t where you live but here is Lifeline’s
      number 131114.
      I implore you to ring them, and if you do , would you come back to this
      comment to let me know please.

    • Terry2 says:

      04:59pm | 05/08/12

      Lloyd, go and talk to AA straight away, then speak to your employer frankly and tell them the problem and how you are tackling it and that you need their support. It is most important that you keep working and playing your part in life.
      There’s a gold medal opportunity out there waiting for you to grab it: go for it mate.

    • Lloyd says:

      09:06am | 06/08/12

      THank you all. I feel like I have tried everything anti depressants, natural herbs, counselling, rehab,AA,  yoga but something always brings me back to alcohol and it is exhausting. I got my “counselling session” with work at 12 to discuss what my future will be there, and after the way I behaved there on Tuesday even if I am allowed another chance, I think I’d be far too ashamed to face other staff after what I did. So what then. Get stuck on the disability support pension? Work is good when I’m in the right mode cos it takes my mind off things, but combining it with an addiction is a nightmare. I’m glad you were all nice about it I felt people would make fun of me so thank you.

    • MyJoy. says:

      12:15pm | 06/08/12

      @Lloyd

      My prayers are with you my friend. It is a dark place to be, but there is hope.  I know it is not fashionable, but have you asked Jesus to come to your rescue?  The alternative is too awful to contemplate. 

      Seek help, human or from the Lord.  You can come through this and I will believe with you that you can.

      May Jesus bless you and lead you from this dark place in your life. He is the answer to so many a drug addict, alchololic, and others who feel no one cares and the have hit rock bottom. He cares, always has, always will, but we must ask.  He did not come to save those who think they have it all together, they think they have no need of Him.

      I know because once I thought I had no need either. Seek Him, He is there, He does hear, He will help if you put your trust in Him.  Could not be in better hands I assure you.  There are people out there online, on the phone who will pray with you.  Don’t give up. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

    • Gordon says:

      04:46pm | 05/08/12

      Mate, deep breath, long walk, lifeline, shrinks, whatever it takes, save your own life. It is what you have and it matters.  I know SFA about what you are going through but 28 isn’t washed up. None of us have our shit together 24/7.

    • Alexander says:

      08:01pm | 05/08/12

      @Lloyd, aren’t people generally good. They don’t know you but only want you to feel better about yourself (as do I). Man, do your best to hang in there, just relax and breathe, it gets better.

    • stephen says:

      09:07pm | 05/08/12

      You think you got it bad ?
      I’m sitting on a half-sprung couch watching on tele the Women’s Marathon and our two girls are up the very back, one with a sore foot and the other wishing her bad form was so evident, and I’m getting a headache looking at losers.

      (Life’s just a piece of shit.)

    • True happiness says says:

      04:32am | 06/08/12

      Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.

    • Enjoying my day off says:

      10:32am | 06/08/12

      Yup, I think Monty Python nailed it.

      Thank you Angela for capturing so eloquently what I’ve always felt. I think to lead a truly full life people need to understand that they should feel the full spectrum of human emotions ranging from unpleasant (sadness, grief, anger, inadequacy, etc.) through to pleasant ones (happiness, joy, pride, elation, connectedness, etc.). I find that having experienced the unpleasant emotions makes the pleasant ones all the more sweet. Most of the time though, I just coast along in a happy equilibrium somewhere in between good and bad emotions. And when I’m having a really bad day I just try to count all my blessings and even if I don’t cheer up, I’m grateful for all I have. Basic things like sight, all my limbs, good health, clean water. Really when I think about it, I have so much which is denied to so many other people (and sometimes that makes me moody again because I feel I’m not doing enough to help out all those people who aren’t as lucky as I). I think people who seemingly feel only good or bad emotions most of the time (excepting those who have clinical mood disorders of course) probably don’t examine the world around them critically enough or have a rather biased view of it.

    • Luce says:

      09:57am | 06/08/12

      Discomfort and unhappiness are only lengthened and made worse by stressing about the fact that it’s happening, instead of accepting it and moving on, which is what tends to happen when people strive for constant happiness. It’s a well intentioned mindset, but in reality can be quite destructive.

      Life is short. Stop stressing about things. We’re not meant to be happy ALL the time, and life would probably be a bit boring if we were. Face the challenges and live the experiences, whatever they may be.

    • Pip says:

      12:00pm | 06/08/12

      This is a great article. There’s a great book called ‘The Happiness Trap’ which basically suggests that being happy all the time is not normal. Realistically, in order to have the good things in life, you need to have the bad. Our society has given us the impressions that we should always push away bad feelings and yet they are a natural part of life. The idea that we should just ‘get over it’ is ridiculous.

    • Rock says:

      12:09pm | 06/08/12

      Interesting article.
      But - ‘Stupidly and carelessly, I accrued 13 points on my licence when the demands of my manifold responsibilities made me less attentive than I should be.’
      Don’t blame deamnds in your life for repeatedly breaking the law (whether it was speeding or other offences). Luckily, you only lost your licence and you didn’t kill anybody.

    • Wilma J Craig says:

      01:13pm | 06/08/12

      May I suggest MyJoy reads the bible. In it, and we are told it is the True Word of God, women are treated as less than human. Their husbands own them. Leviticus tells us that we should be locked away when our “period” comes. It also approves of men having multiple wives, yet women are forbidden to have multiple husbands!
      The bible was written by men for all the benefits accrue to them. Women are but chattels. If a man dies then his wife is required to marry his brother - (even if she can’t stand the sight of him.) She simply becomes just another man’s property. As for Jesus he was just an ordinary man who also happened to be a great teacher. His teachings, incidently, virtually mirror the teachings of another great teacher who lived over 500 years before Jesus was born. His teachings were written down when he was alive & teaching.
      Even the best theologians tell us that it was at least 64 years after Jesus cruel & painful death (so much for the omnipotent God’s mercy) that his teachings were actually written down. and it is possible that they were written down by someone who had not even been born when Jesus was killed & were purely hearsay. Those words were not verbatim. I read somewhere that it was Luke who wrote down Jesus’ teachings, according to reports Luke was a young man, possibly in his late teens, early 20s at Jesus’ death so if, as the Theologians in Rome & London tell us Jesus’ teachings were not written down until about 64 years after his death then Luke most certainly, and very surprisingly for the era, would have been in his late 70s or 80s when he recorded those teachings.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      01:28pm | 06/08/12

      Oh! MyJoy! Are you really so arrogant?Do you really, as you imply, that you are God?
      You write in your response to my post that I accuse you of:
      “me never having met me” (What I asked was had you every actually spoken with god face-to-face)
      and
      “having never taken the time to make sure I exist” (where in my rant did I ask you that?)
      “My post could have been an automated response” (Yes, Virginai, Pigs really do fly)
      Are you now claiming that you are God?
      If that is so I wonder how the real God will respond to your blasphemy?

    • MyJoy says:

      03:03pm | 06/08/12

      @Robert S McCormack

      Oh dear I seem to have rattled your cage. I thought my answer was pretty straight forward, however, for the sake of clarity I will try to elucidate some of the points you raise.

      You asked me if I had ever spoken to God face to face.  Then you answer for me. You have never laid eyes on me, how can you presume to know what I have and haven’t done?  You are too taken with your own assumptions to even allow me the courtesy to answer on my own behalf.  My comment that you make assumptions about me was to reflect how foolish that is when you do not know me, it also illustrates how foolish it is to make harsh judgements about the Lord when a) you do not know Him, b) you have never read His Book with His help c) you do not believe He exists.

      How can He be responsible for all those terrible things if He is not even there?.  Your argument is full of holes.  Just as your ask me how the “real God (whoever he is in your eyes) will respond to my (in your opinion) blasphemy?”  If there is no real God, as you seem to argue,  how can I blaspheme against a non-existing God.  Even so where you get from my post that I “blasphemed” is a mystery only you can answer. :0) 

      You rant about the Bible very obviously never having read it from beginning to end or taking time to know the Author (without Him it is impossible for a natural person to understand the Bible – it tells us that.)  You, like so many others, take bits and pieces here and there and make them fit your
      view.  It tells me a lot about your ability, or not,  to mount an imformed comment.

      You don’t know about the “joy of the Lord?” - get to know the Author properly, not just through your own fallible opinions, then read His book and you will find both the meaning and the reality.

      There is no point in discussion Bible Truths with someone who is determined to remain spiritually blind and lost.  So I did not bother. You have sat in judgement of your Creator and even cursed him – your sad loss and responsibility when you do meet Him and I can promise you will, either as friend or foe.

      The things of which you accuse God came from the evil in man.  No where else. Man has free will, therefore mankind has to live with the consequences of its choices good and bad.  The things you cite come from the choices of humans, not of God. We were not made to be robots. 

      The Holocaust was indeed a tragedy arising from human evil and pride. People today are still torturing, killing, abusing, enslaving, despising others.  Christians are being persecuted, killed, tortured for their faith in Jesus in 52 countries of the world right now.  You will not find the details in secular news though. 

      Perhaps I can recommend to you you read “The Hiding Place” the true story of the Ten Boom Christian family in Holland who were, all but one, Corrie, murdered in Nazi camps.  Their crime – loving, rescuing and hiding Jews from the Nazis.  Corrie went on to not only forgive her tormenters but to travel 65 countries over many years telling people of her loving God and His Son Jesus and the real purpose and plan for those who choose to trust Him.  It is our choice, be Godless, without hope, or accept Him and know then instantly, as I did, that there is so much more. 

      It was not through any human intervention either, or doctrine, or denomination, that I stepped from darkness into His glorious light and Life.  Nothing can compare. Before that I was as lost as you. I am not better than anyone, just forgiven.

      Anyway whether you believe or accept the reality or not, the Lord is there, He gave His Son to save mankind from its foolishness.  It is a free gift. So many reject it which is very, very sad.

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