When Happy People Get Depressed, Part One
I woke this morning to a wet pillow, an ache in my chest, and tears falling silently from eyes not yet opened to the new day. My first thought is: Ahhhh. What a relief! For awhile, I just lay there, allowing the emotions to flow, embracing the ache and giving thanks for finally feeling something other than the frozen apathy that has been my companion for the past few weeks.
It may appear on the surface that I’m a queen of positivity, but there are times I am reaching for the light even as I shine it out to you. This was one of those months.
It’s easy to explain away the feelings of despair and depression by looking at the negative parts of the world, knowing other people are feeling some of the same.
It’s much harder to look deeper, at the places where life has fallen short of expectations, where disappointment has turned excitement to indifference, and where feelings of hopelessness have crept in to dampen joy.
I decide to go to the depths with this heaviness, to give my depression a bit of space as I look beneath the layers to see what might be lurking there.
Oooooh. This may be too much for a queen of positivity to admit.
On the surface, I simply put most of my commitments on hold. I tell myself I deserve a mini-sabbatical after a couple of intense months finishing a book and preparing to share it with the world.
Beneath the surface is a simmering discontent with just about everything in my life. I go through the motions, but life feels cast in a dull haze that mutes my normally colorful world.
Day by day, I sort through the layers of my life to see if I can find some spark of meaning. Nothing seems to matter.
Except for skiing. The joy glows bright as I give myself over to the feel of skiis on snow as fresh air turns my cheeks pink with cold. My body begins to remember what it feels like to be happy.
But the next morning, apathy is back with a vengeance. I wake early, thinking of all the ways I might let go of life as I know it. I wonder what it would be like to simply stop breathing. I lay thinking about that possibility for awhile, but my lungs don’t seem to want to cooperate.
So, before the sun has risen, I rise out of bed. It’s time to go even deeper.
I wrap myself in two blankets, throw myself onto the couch, and begin to pray. Nothing. I gulp in some deep breaths of oxygen, humming in an attempt to quiet my mind. The humming feels good, so I don ear buds, turn on my favorite Pandora station, and listen. A soft melody moves through me, playing around the stuck energy in my body, gently moving my spine and calming my mind.
Then I hear it, a simple string of lyrics, repeating over & over.
“Don’t give up, your life isn’t over, you have more to say.”
I don’t miss the synchronicity of the message.
I get up and start writing.
For generally happy people, depression is difficult to understand. It can be all consuming. When you’re in its heavy grasp, the things you know to do rarely work.
I am one of those generally happy people. I’ve also experienced cycles of mild to moderate depression, which “normally” feels like a subtle filter that casts a dull haze over things as I continue to love, smile, care for the people in my life.
I just don’t care as much as I normally do. And everything takes more effort.
This depression felt different. More intense. More complex. I suspected my thyroid and adrenals needed a boost, but I also knew there was something beneath the physical fatigue. Which is why I wanted to give the depression so much S P A C E. I wanted it to speak to me.
I share more of that conversation in part two of this story, Welcome Depression. Before you go there…if you are feeling at all discouraged with life, or the world…I want to remind you: Don’t give up. Your life is not over. You have more to say.
And so do I. ~Shining (again) Sor’a
P.S. I could easily avoid sharing about my dance with depression, but I know how hard it is to keep a positive attitude these days, how easy it can be to give up. I’m sharing this in case there’s someone out there who might need to hear these words too.
P.P.S. Please reach out if you are feeling heavy and need another heart to lift yours. I am always here. And, if you or someone you know are experiencing a lasting despair or hopelessness that is not responding to support, please seek professional help.