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To Grow a Tree Journal I: Switching Topics from Depression to Happiness – Emmanuel Johnson

I started off the year wanting to work on Depression, because of my experience living with it last year. I tried to narrow it down to something very specific and not just ‘Depression’, so I looked at it from the perspective of the 21st century society, and the pressures it has produced.

I produced a short film this month, titled ‘The 21st Century Pursuit of Happiness’, and this influenced my shift greatly. I feel like I have been focusing on a problem for too long and not addressing something I find much bigger.  I have now watched my focus transition from Depression towards happiness.

Although this idea is only just taking a shape of some sort, it is a burden that has been repressed in my mind for about 2 years now.

In 2015, I undertook ‘a search of meaning’. It was a period where I decided to cut down my use of social media, wander into unfamiliar territories and reflect truly on things which kept me up at night. I undertook several bus journeys at night – looking at street lights, listening to music and engaging myself in critical thought. This was the birth of it all.

I am intrigued by the concept of happiness, its construction, meaning and the agency of individuals who identify as happy or unhappy.

I would like to discover what this thing called happiness really is and how it is constructed in current modern society. I need answers.

This is something I truly care about, something that takes away my peace of mind, something I strongly believe I need to resolute.

Although I thought I left this in 2015, I have realised that, it never really left. This is because, it has been present with me all long. Starting a Master’s degree this year, I discovered new issues, feelings and emotions around me that I was unaware of in the past. Things I never thought I would come across at this point in time. They all lead back to the same destination I left behind in 2015. My search of meaning.

Moving forward, I am at a very early stage of this research with over-inflated thoughts and ideas. I now aim to break them down into smaller and understandable bits.

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