You don’t just wake up miserable one day and stay that way. On the contrary, producing a nice, consistent level of misery takes a lot of work. Do you ever hear anyone say, “Wow, that guy does whatever it takes to be miserable!” Of course not. Everyone is too busy patting the happy people on the back. “Wow, I wish I could be as happy as she is!” “They’re just such a happy couple!” “Wow, what a happy child!” How about a little appreciation for all the work people put into being utterly miserable? After all, as you’re about to see, depression takes effort!
1) Don’t pursue your ideal self.
Abraham Maslow once said, “If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.” So, take his advice to heart. Make comfort your highest priority. Surf the web as much as possible at work and do the same things, day after day, year after year without making any effort to improve. Veg out in front of the TV every night and channel surf. Don’t read, don’t take classes, do the same old, same old. Get yourself into a nice deep rut and then, as an extra added bonus, blame your spouse or kids for “holding you back” and keeping you from achieving the dreams you haven’t made any effort to pursue for years. That’s just the sort of stagnant life that will help keep you down in the dumps.
2) Isolate yourself.
People are flighty, they go away, they let you down. Sure, they also lift you up, make you feel connected, and give you someone to share the ups and downs with, but forget about all of that and focus on the bad side of other human beings. Have a nice time with someone and then make sure you’re unavailable for two months so they don’t get any funny ideas. If they’re insistent about trying to be a bigger part of your life, just give them the cold shoulder until they give up. Also, make sure not to reach out and bring anyone new into your life. If you do make that effort, give up the first time everything doesn’t go perfectly. That’s one of the most frightening definitions of hell I’ve ever heard — cut off, alone forever without the hope of ever experiencing love or human warmth again. On the one hand, that’s not as scary as being tortured forever, but on the other hand, you can experience it right here on earth and many people willingly choose to do so.
3) Make other people responsible for your happiness.
Do you know who cares as much as you do about your happiness? Other than God, nobody — and even He seems inclined to let people live with the consequences of their poor choices. You might think, “Hey, what about my spouse, my parents, my grandparents and my friends? They love me and want me to be happy!” Sure, but they also have their own lives to live which takes up the majority of their time. It’s even worse if you start relying on the government to take care of you. Ask the people in New Orleans after Katrina or the people in Jersey after Sandy how well FEMA looked after them. They didn’t do such a great job, right? That’s how it always turns out. So, put your own happiness last and just ASSUME that your parents, your lover, your spouse, your government — someone, somewhere, somehow will show up and put making you happy right at the top of his list. That will enable you to have a long, sad, unsatisfying wait topped off by a big helping of deep disappointment that no one ever puts you first.