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Happiness Is A Skill - Issue #52 - One Year of Happiness Is A Skill

Happiness Is A Skill - Issue #52 - One Year of Happiness Is A Skill
By Brooke Siem  • Issue #52 • View online
For the past two weeks, I’ve been debunking the chemical imbalance theory of depression by looking at its origins and misguided logic. I will return to Part III of that series next week, but wanted to take the time this week to honor the one-year anniversary of Happiness Is A Skill.

One year ago, filled with cabin-fever thanks to the early months of the pandemic, I began Happiness Is A Skill in an effort to consolidate the strategies and techniques I’ve used over the years in order to overcome a decade and a half of depression and a year of hellacious antidepressant withdrawal.
This was, admittedly, a mostly selfish endeavor. My literary agent wanted me to grow my social media following in order to make my memoir on antidepressant withdrawal more attractive to publishers, but as I spent more time on social media, the pandemic and ongoing tension over political and race relations inched me closer toward a state of depression I thought I had long ago conquered.
But experience is a wise teacher. As soon as I realized what was happening, reached back into my bag of tricks and made the conscious choice to pivot away from the influences that were negatively impacting my mental health. Social media had to go, so I deleted Instagram, got off Twitter, and committed to writing a newsletter for one year in hopes that its existence would mitigate the opportunity cost of not actively growing my platform.
I didn’t get a book deal in 2020. But I am emerging from the pandemic far happier, and with more clarity, than I was when it began. For that, and for so many other things, I am grateful.
Now, I am left with mixed feelings on how to continue HIAS. Part of it is circumstantial. No longer is the pandemic leaving me with large bouts of time to fill. Instead, I’m busier than ever, and losing half a workday to HIAS is causing a time crunch.
Of course, if you read my newsletters, you’d know that I do have time, it’s just a question of priority.
What I would like to know from you is: is this helping?
Often, I feel like I’m writing into the void, pontificating on ideas that most people just don’t seem to want to hear. A year after starting Happiness Is A Skill, antidepressant prescription rates have reached record levels. The UK reported a 6% increase in just the last three months of 2020, while an analysis of the 2020 US market suggested a 20% increase in antidepressant prescription rates from 2019. The numbers don’t exactly fill me with motivation.
I’d like to hear from you, dear reader, in order to help me decide how and if to move forward. What topics are the most valuable to you? Do you like the reported features, like my Debunking the Chemical Imbalance Theory series, or do you prefer waxing philosophical like All That It Is To Be Alive? Do you even read the links or are you just in it for my thoughts? What would make you want to share this newsletter with your community?
Keep it kind, but any constructive feedback would be greatly appreciated. Just hit reply to this email and it’ll come right to me.
Thanks for sticking with me,
Did you enjoy this issue?
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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