Why can’t i just be happy…

I am struggling with life right now. I have so much sadness and rage built up in me and it’s to a point where i don’t even recognize myself anymore. i’m unhappy with life , my relationship with my boyfriend , my relationship with my family members. I feel like everyone is always against me. I feel utterly and completely alone even though i have people whom say i can always go to them. I feel like everyone around me puts everyone and everything else before me. Like i don’t matter at all. I never get along with my family.. everytime im with them it always ends in a huge fight. Then my boyfriend and i fight EVERYDAY about little stuff but we just can’t seem to get along. Even on the “break” we are taking. He’s always the victim and i’m always the problem. My head is so messed up. I feel like i have nothing but negativity around me and i just can’t seem to get away from it, no matter how hard i try. I have severe depression and anxiety and it took me 4 years to learn how to love myself and i finally did and i feel like i’m falling right back to where i was 4 years ago in that suicidal depression. My heart feels like it’s bound to burst from all the trauma growing up and everything i’ve been through. I feel cold . empty . like i have nothing left to give. i’m forever the one who always puts others first and cares about people more than anything else but i’m always treated like complete garbage. like i mean nothing to anyone. I just don’t know what to do anymore. i’m just .. TIRED ..
Asked by Anna

Hello Anna.

You asked an excellent question. Many people ask themselves that same question when they are trying to make sense of things. It is very normal to wonder why happiness can't be easy. The fact is that there are so many factors that go into happiness, that it is hard to determine where to start. This is especially true when someone is also feeling depression and anxiety.

Not only are you dealing with depression and anxiety, but you are also dealing with other variables, such as conflict, relationships, emotional safety, trust, and the big one, past trauma. You see, trauma alone creates a filter that is used to see the world. Think of it as having a pair of glasses on that distorts reality. Trauma distorts reality because the world, situations, or relationships do not feel safe. So even if someone is acting in a way that seems safe, the trauma lens can distort that and make it seem threatening.

Trauma can be broken down into two categories, "little t" trauma and "big T" trauma. Little "t" traumas are situations that are not life-threatening but are emotionally difficult. The little "t" traumas can range from an embarrassing experience to heartbreak after a breakup. Big "T" traumas are situations that are more intense and may be life-threatening. These are events that are typically life-changing.

What you are describing appears to sound like an environment that does not feel emotionally safe. That is not to say that it is not safe but that it feels emotionally unsafe to you as you feel criticized, blamed, and unimportant. Essentially, your response is one of hypervigilance, caution, and self-protection. You are responding the way your brain is telling you to respond based on the belief that you are not emotionally safe.

Happiness or contentment can be felt when the environment feels safe enough to let your guard down and enjoy the moment. Think of the last time you felt happy or content. How was your environment? How were the people around you?

As you can see, the answer is not simple and each variable adds a different level of complications. When things in your life feel so tangled up and there are many variables to consider, it is beneficial to have a third party that can help you find a clear path to untangle all the variables. We are not meant to do this alone. Find that person that can give you guidance, support, and perspective.