About Getting Happy

What’s the big deal about “getting happy” that it needs a whole book? Good question. Glad I thought of it. 🙂

Have you ever noticed that when the goal-setting and self-help gurus tell you to write down your top goals, they always say to NOT write down “I want to be happy?” Then they claim that “getting happy” isn’t a real goal.

What they don’t say is that it’s remarkably easy to get happy every day. And getting happy, being happy, makes attaining all your other goals so much easier! Of course, if they said that, we might also realize we don’t need them quite as much as they want us to need them.

That’s part of why there’s a whole book about Getting Happy. Happiness is important, and there are a whole lot of folks running around who need a heaping dose of happiness. But there’s an even bigger, more personal reason for this book.

Getting Happy…when you wish you were dead is the story of 143 days of my life. I went from achieving the success I sought, down through divorce, jail and suicide, and back up to having my own apartment. The story doesn’t end there, but a book has to end somewhere, right?

That story of 143 days is supported by stories from my life. Stories that show lessons I learned earlier, and then relied upon when my life went to shite this time around. That all by itself makes this book different from every other title in this category. All the rest are about a specific suicide experience, or they’re written by doctors (and are super boring).

For the first time, we’re combining a real-life story with notes from a counsellor and a psychiatrist. Together, they show what you can do for yourself, what others can do to support you, and the different roles played by doctors and therapists. At the same time, we’re opening the writing process to you, the reader. We want your feedback on what makes sense and what doesn’t, and what’s important to you.

Which brings us to my bigger, more personal reason for writing Getting Happy…when you wish you were dead. Most of my life has been haunted and invaded by thoughts of suicide. It’s a bad habit I’m replacing with good habits. Writing Getting Happy…when you wish you were dead is helping me develop those good habits.

It’s a book about mental health and suicide. My hope is that it reaches out to teens who are as I once was and helps them avoid walking the darker paths I have traveled. But the real audience for Getting Happy…when you wish you were dead is moms. I hope reading my story gives you the courage and comfort you need when you’re worried about your kids.

I was at a scouting event and got talking with a mom about this book. It was just an idea then, and I wasn’t even sure I’d actually write it.

As we talked about my history and the idea for this book, she opened up to me about concerns she had for her son. He had lost his job and girlfriend, and just flunked out of university. He was living far from home, wasn’t calling anywhere near as often, and Mom was worried about him.

We talked for well over an hour. We cried a little, laughed a little, and learned a lot. One thing that might be important for you reading this right now…Mom was consistently telling her son that he was welcome to come home. Mom and Dad were there for him, and they’d be happy to have him home.

It was hard to do, but I had to tell Mom that the message was hurting more than helping. You see, the son already felt like a failure. He’d flunked out of school, lost his job, and got dumped by his girlfriend. I suggested Mom simply re-phrase the message to he could come home as a way to re-group and re-establish himself. I suggested she put a time limit on it for him, maybe nine months or a year. This way, she’s still supporting her son while also sending the message that she believes he’s capable of picking up the pieces and moving on.

This is what I want readers to get from Getting Happy…when you wish you were dead. Maybe in my history you’ll find something that helps you, or someone you love, pick up the pieces and move on.