Every morning I wake up, and I assess what my day will be like based on the dream I've just woken from. For a long time I have been obsessive with analysing dreams - I find them fascinating, hence the dreamcatcher tattoo on my back. So I'll wake up some days and feel almost sickeningly positive about everything, and some days I don't want to get out of bed to see what the world has to offer, because if my dream world is poor then undoubtedly real life will be even more awful.
Throughout my life, in particular the last four or five years, a lot of people who are special to me suffer with one of the most cruel but downgraded illnesses - depression. Depression is an illness that makes you feel like you’ve woken from a bad dream every single day, and sometimes it just feels like you’re stuck inside that bad dream. There are so many people who carry on with their lives keeping it a secret, and not realising that actually every single one of us could suffer with this at some point in our life. Between 5 and 10 per cent of the entire population are suffering from it to some extent at any one time, and throughout your lifetime you have a one in five chance of developing it. It can literally happen to any of us.
All of these facts, and people still generally belittle depression as an illness until they come face-to-face with it. Depression is a disease. It steals lives on a day to day basis, and it should be taken as seriously as any other.
So many people in the modern world think that the route to happiness is based around material possessions. Money, houses, fast cars, the latest designer shoes. In reality, all of these things don't matter. Money might make the world go round in a political and economical sense, but as far as emotions are concerned it is a short term strategy.
A career has always been important to me, more important than anything else. I know where I want to be but I want to enjoy the learning curves and tests I have to pass in order to get there. I don't want my career handed to me on a plate, where is the fun in that? A career is another example of what people assume will bring them happiness. How many people do you know that have got into the career they have worked hard to get to, and decided it's not for them? Wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, not what they expected... I personally have heard so many stories like this, and I don't want to be that person. But if I am, I want to know I've enjoyed and learnt from the journey that took me there, even if the end of the rainbow didn't give me that pot of gold I was hoping for.
Another misconception is that you need to be in love to feel truly happy. Looking back, I can honestly say I don't know if I have ever been in love. I've had relationships and had what I have thought of as a broken heart, but you soon realise that in the scheme of things, a relationship is not the be all and end all of our lives. One day I hope to find a companion who will lie under the stars with me and listen to my weird opinions and share his with me. But until then I try not to get caught up in this idealistic view of life. So many people get wrapped up in a fairytale and they miss everything beautiful that’s going on around them on a daily basis.
I try to meet someone new every day, especially on bad dream days. I don't care if I'll never see them again, once a hello turns into a chat you can learn so much. Be it on the street, on a train, on a bus, I make the effort to smile and say hello and the benefits are sometimes magical. It's amazing how someone will open up more to a stranger than they will to their best friend. Sometimes you just need that impartial ear to listen, and even without any advice it somehow makes you feel better. The reality is, whatever we're going through at any point in time there is someone worse off. Someone out there would class your life as a walk in the park, and vice versa. Our own problems always feel bigger than everyone else's, but if you start to open your eyes to other peoples problems you begin to feel less isolated and more in control of the hurdles you're facing. You might even make some friends along the way.
I go outside at night and look at the stars. I think something can only be properly put into perspective when you compare it to the universe. Everything feels completely insignificant in comparison to something so unbelievably massive, beautiful and natural.
Our lives are so short, and we spend half of our time worrying. Look at the ceiling instead of the floor, the trees instead of the pavement. You'll start to see the beauty in the world and you'll trust it to guide you on your way to something bigger and better than what you've currently got. It's not till you start believing things can change that they will...