I am not a happy person -- I choose to be one.

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I am invisible. This illness is invisible.

There are only 3 people actively in my life who have seen me when I was in the grasp of this illness.

The rest of you (and I say you because most of you who read this know me personally! Eep!) know this Mason.

This strange, foreign Mason whom I barely recognize.

I have been told I’m the happiest person you’ve ever met.

I’m told my smile lights up a room when I walk in.

Every time I hear something like this I just want to laugh.

I want to show you where I was and let you know this is not some innate magically property I possess.

I am NOT happy by nature.

Happiness is a choice I make.

A conscious choice I make every single moment of every single day.

I choose to focus on the positive and to make the best out of every situation I find myself in. I do my best to live life moment to moment because we have no idea and minimal control over what comes next.

I am a control freak. But the kind of control freak no one would realize is a control freak. I control my control freak tendencies by choosing what I am going to focus on controlling.

Namely, how I manage my own emotions and work to re-frame situations towards the positive.

Because my dear ones, there is ALWAYS a positive. There will always be some sort of good to come out of a situation. I truly truly believe this, even in the midst of the chaos our country is in. Even in the midst of the chaos I have lived through. Sometimes you have to dig for the positive. Sometimes the positive you find seems ludicrous. Sometimes you don’t see the positive for months, maybe even years.

And many times the positive is much less than the negative to a situation. The positive might pale in comparison to the massive negative.

Fight for the positive. Focus on the positive. Even if it is a kind of dumb positive.

Even if it is “at least my employer is working with me while I care for my younger sister while she is dying.” Even if it is “I’ve gone a whole hour without self harming!”

Celebrate the baby steps you take. Even if they seem dumb.

Those baby steps are the steps towards recovery you must take.

That everyone must take.

Because we are all in recovery.

We are all recovering from SOMETHING.

No one is untouched by the harshness of this life.

So give yourself a moment.

Take some deep breaths.

Celebrate the baby steps.

You got this.