Monica Musgrave

I got all the happy out when I was younger. That’s probably the easiest way to explain how I am. My mom said that when I was a baby, I was easy. I was happy, I smiled all the time, wasn’t picky, and loved people. “A model baby,” she always says.

Fast forward to now, 11 years after being diagnosed with Dysthymia. Happiness is fleeting, apparently.

Every night, I dutifully take my medicine: one white-and-blue capsule, filled with 40 milligrams of crushed happiness. I can’t let it sit and melt on my tongue; happiness is bitter, apparently.

I remove my makeup, brush my teeth (maybe even floss), and shuffle
to bed. It doesn’t matter if it’s 8pm or 2am, I’m always tired. Happiness is exhausting, apparently.

I wake up after several snoozes, peel myself out of bed, get dressed, put on
my headphones. Happiness is too quiet, apparently.

I walk to class, to work, to whatever it is I have to do. I move in the world, but it passes around me. Happiness works slowly, apparently.

When I eat, I either over-indulge or don’t consume anything at all. Happiness has an eating disorder, apparently.

I sit at a desk, staring blankly at the
screen. I have things to do, I think, but sitting is easier. Happiness is draining,
apparently.

I go through life like a zombie, tired, subdued, and a little numb. Happiness
is… not what I expected.

Through my dulled ears I hear the concerns and comments of my peers, parents, and other figures of various significances:

“Oh, so you take medication?”

“So when do you plan on stopping your medication?”

“Oh, I wouldn’t want to be dependent on medicine for that long.”

I get it. I take a medicine that makes me a zombie. But it also makes life bearable. I have taken Prozac for as long as I can remember, with the occasional increase in prescription every few years. It helps me with my Dysthymia, and no, I don’t have any plans to stop taking it. My mental illness is a part of my chemistry, it’s a part of my biology, and I am not weak because I decide to take care of myself. I have decided to accept that for my own benefit, and it would be best if you did to. I refuse to be ashamed of taking care of myself. Because one day, apparently, happiness will be mine.