I am happy. Delightfully and deep down so. I also have a long standing romance and dalliance with serious and catastrophic depression.
Sometimes the dalliance with depression has been to the exclusion of all other emotions. All encompassing and overwhelming. White knuckling through life. I’ve been managing and overcoming this for the best part of 37 years and am quite adept at getting back on my feet.
I had an atypical upbringing and marriage so am working on developing a “baseline of normal… what do regular folks do in this situation” – the topic is my choice because I really didn’t have a clue where to start building a healthy life. Progress is speeding up recently since I brought in the big guns.
I have a lot of help from friends who keep it real and tell me when I am being a pain, and I have good access to counselling from Steven Lucas who quite frankly calls me on my nonsense too. ( Steven Lucas Counselling Central ). Working with a professional counsellor is like having a Formula 1 Pit Crew at your disposal to get the car back on the road when the tyres are worn down or wonky. It is brilliant. I highly recommend it. When I started speaking with a counsellor I had no idea what was wrong, I just knew I felt squeezy all the time and kept losing my breath so that’s where we started. Best Thing Ever.
Depressive conditions come in lots of varieties. I tend to favour a ballsy no holds barred grit your teeth, get it done and push through and never miss a day of work variety. I get tense, agitated with myself but physically still, then a little hyperactive to prepare the house for the kid when I recognise a session rolling over me. I have to take a few days of going to bed at 6pm We often share time together in my room watching her shows on a device or reading books or listening to audiobooks. She is not neglected.
The strange thing to me is that I think I might be the happiest depressed person in the world. The two states co-exist. Sometimes one is stronger than the other and becomes the dominant situation but neither is ever fully eradicated yet. I am happily anticipating the day where I don’t feel that I am having to cope, I can just be at ease and ok with where I am. It is close.
The happiness is a contentment. A reserve of knowing that I will get through this. A trust that it will work out in the end even though right now I have no flaming idea how. A deep down belief that there is more for me in this life than against me.
As the happiest depressed person in the world I have the opportunity to let you know that if you hang on in there you become stronger and more able to manage whatever is occurring.
Whether that be internal or external, it doesn’t matter. The more times you get through, the more times you can get through.
It doesn’t matter if the current episode was triggered by feeling stupid that you ran out of laundry detergent and what kind of mother are you that sends their kids to school in dirty uniform, or whether it is being made homeless as a result of somebody else’s actions. Doesn’t matter. Those situation are managed differently but the “sigh” feelings are similar.
Being happy and depressed is confusing to me.
I am constantly on the cusp of laughter and tears but I don’t cry unless it is over something beautiful like a piece of choir music or something that brings out the empathy. Mostly the laughter wins out.
Slightly tangential – but it is my letter so I am ok with saying what I want – when I see others suffering with their genuine grief or distress, it kills me. Absolutely rips me to shreds. I cannot, for that reason, watch clips of Robin Williams because I am completely undone. I can fully grasp the full breadth of hysterical joy to pathos in a heartbeat and it knocks the wind out of my sails. When I see that happening in my friends lives I become very protective and want to help them know that they’ll get through it and they must never believe they are untethered to this world because I am here rooting for them. When things get rough I fight like a dog for folks, I need to learn to be more graceful.
I read an article once, probably on the Momastary blog, which spoke about someone saying “why are you crying?” and the answer was “Because I am paying attention”.
My internal barometer was running at a high 52% depressed, leaving only 48% for other feelings yesterday. So, I deactivated Facebook while the world is going crazy, ate a cupcake, got a good nights sleep and today I feel 19% depressed. That’s a heck of a lot of recovery overnight.
A long time ago I heard a quote by a chap named Spencer W Kimball. He’d been asked how the Mormon church was managing the drop out society of the 1970’s and he said something like
“People are dropping out of society in an effort to find themselves, but when we lose ourselves in the service of others, there’s more of ourselves to find”.
Do what looks after you. There is always hope even when none is apparent right now. Do what looks after you. It is ok to find moments of funny even on the darkest days. If it happens, let it. Do what looks after you.