Finding Happiness When You’re Chronically Depressed

Despite the fact that I woke up on Wednesday thinking it was Saturday, this week has gone surprisingly quickly. We are yet again here at Friday, and for that, I feel happy. It’s rare that I actually feel “happy.” In fact, as I told my therapist the other day, my chronic depression is severe enough that genuine happiness is exceedingly rare; in usually just “less depressed” when something good happens. I make sure to acknowledge every time I do feel good, both physically and emotionally. My thinking is that this will help me not take such a gift for granted, and will help me search for patterns or causes for either a body or brain that feels good so that I can try to implement the positive triggers for a more frequent favorable outcome. It’s clear that Fridays and weekends certainly contribute to a better baseline mood, but there’s little I can do to make time move at different rates. That said, I do find it useful to recognize when it’s Thursday and I’m feeling down that the weekend time and a break in my loneliness is near. There are other things that make me feel “less depressed” as well, and I hope that through more work and healing time, those will ultimately lead to true happiness. Maybe feeling less depressed is like training wheels to the two-wheeler that is happiness. I’m so deconditioned from that desirable emotion that perhaps it’s too foreign to readily make the jump with just a small stimulus; the hops up to “less depressed” may serve as a needed intermediate step to reassure my brain that it indeed feels good to be happy and that it’s safe (in fact, safer) to trust and make that leap.

My physical body feeling good is also an unfamiliar and rather elusive state. I guess I have about an equal amount of hope versus doubt that this won’t always be the case as I do about my mental state. However, I certainly hope that something helpful will eventually come out of all the various medical appointments and providers I’m consulting with. The one great change is that I’ve mostly severed that previously-inevitable direct correlation (which actually teetered on the brink of causation) between feeling sick or in pain with being especially depressed and irritable.

There are traces of correlation on occasion now, but I’m so diligent about checking in with myself about my mood and doing my absolute best to extricate my mental health from being directly dictated by how my body feels.

I’m not sure what this weekend will hold. I finally finished that 2000-piece wildlife puzzle! I’m actually a bit sad though because I really enjoyed it. This afternoon, if I finish my work, I’ll shop online for a replacement. I can’t wait to see what other cool designs I can get. Other than that, we will prepare Comet for her surgery Tuesday by setting up the crate, reading over the preoperative instructions again, and make sure all our logistics are in place for before, during, and after the surgery. Ben is also going to a work conference for several days at the end of the week, so I’m sure he’ll be packing and preparing for that. No matter what, I know it will be fun to spend time together and enjoy the relaxed pace of the weekend.

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