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Happiness Is A Skill - Issue #19 - Nanoglimmers light the way.

Back during my days of deep depression, one of my unconscious coping techniques was to put down the l
Happiness Is A Skill - Issue #19 - Nanoglimmers light the way.
By Brooke Siem  • Issue #19 • View online
Back during my days of deep depression, one of my unconscious coping techniques was to put down the little things that brought other people joy. The phrase “that’s stupid” fell out of my mouth like a tick. Nothing and no one was safe. The ALS Ice bucket challenge? Stupid. Just donate money without the attention. Disneyland? Stupid. The most miserable place on earth. Hobbyist birding? Stupid. Who cares about random birds?
This reaction, of course, came from a most selfish place. I couldn’t find joy in anything, and it pissed me off that delight seemed so easy for others. I never stopped to think that maybe they took responsibility for their own happiness and worked for their joy. It never occurred to me that maybe they had pain too, but that they didn’t let suffering define them as a person.
The ability to experience a glimmer of joy is a litmus test for your psychological state. When I work with clients in antidepressant withdrawal, one of the first things I ask them to do is to start noticing little flickers of creativity, joy, or clarity that tends to come up as the drugs leave their system. These nanoglimmers of light may be barely perceptible at first, as simple as a deep inhale of freshly ground coffee or noticing how your eyes linger on the details of a flower. For people working through depression and getting off antidepressants, these nanoglimmers signal the mind’s innate ability to stop the mental loops and detach from the physical weight of depression—even just for a moment.
In my experience, as the nanoglimmers grew from fleeting seconds into longer chunks of time, the use of the phrase “that’s stupid” faded from my vocabulary and gave rise to curiosity and spontaneity. Birding might never be my lifelong passion, but what did it matter if other people enjoyed it? Who was I to put it down when it had no impact on my life?
To let others do their thing without making it about you is a hallmark of healing. They are on their path. You are on yours. It may take weeks or months or years of hard work to grow one nanoglimmer into a life filled with joy, but noting the existence of a single nanoglimmer proves that it is possible. What you can do one, you can do again. With time, one can always become two.

On the practical level of happiness, Fall of 2020 means it’s voting season. Forget the federal election. No matter how that goes, local politics are going to have a much bigger impact on your day to day life and happiness. I encourage you to take a little bit of time, do some basic research on your local candidates, and try to give half a shit about your city and state elections.
In lieu of my usual list of curated articles, I’m instead linking to a few non-partisan websites that can help you learn more about your local candidates. When I did this a few days ago, I was beyond frustrated by how difficult it was to find useful information on things like family court judges and state senators. Hopefully this saves you some headache.
Know Your Vote
One IT Guy’s Spreadsheet-Fueled Race to Restore Voting Rights | WIRED
Happy Animal of the Week:
Tee hee hee. Those eyelashes!
Tee hee hee. Those eyelashes!
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Brooke Siem

After 15 years of depression and antidepressants, my mission is to help people find hope in the name of healing. HAPPINESS IS A SKILL a newsletter for people who are ready to dig deep and do the self-work required to create a beautiful life. You can learn more about my story at

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