Post-depressive Elation

Depression doesn’t last forever.

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with depression a lot. I just stop giving a shit about anything and lie around all day wishing for time to just pass quietly and leave me behind.

Sometimes, when I come out of a downward spiral like that, I feel fucking amazing. Not just comparatively amazing, but objectively amazing. This past week has been one of those times. I’ve been struggling with some shit recently, and I finally turned a corner.

Blah blah blah, boring personal shit. Nobody wants to hear me winge about depression. Or maybe you do, I don’t know. I’ll be brief.

You know, people like to say that without sadness, there couldn’t be happiness. The idea is that without contrast, people wouldn’t appreciate the good times. Now, the problem with this assumption is that you are assuming sadness is required for happiness to find contrast.

Actually, people’s happiness exists on a wide range, and your general daily happiness exists on that range, somewhere. My average day might be better than your best day ever, or vice-versa. Like, if I’m the Dalai Lama and I walk around in a state of pure enlightened bliss all day, then the worst day of my month probably kicks your best day’s ass.

So let’s say the Dalai Lama, who is famously one of the happiest and most awesome chillest dudes in the world, let’s say he’s a 10 on this happiness scale. And for a 1 on the scale, let’s say that’s any person right on the verge of suicide. That’s about as low as humans can sink. That’s a fucking abyss that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

Anywho, where do you think you fall on that scale? If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you’re somewhere in the middle range. You’re happy enough to be reading, which is a cognitively intensive activity. When you’re super fucking depressed, it can be hard to do anything that requires much mental participation. And I’m also gonna assume you’re not walking around in a state of enlightenment, because if you were, you wouldn’t be reading this dumbo blog anyway. You would be out there… Smelling a tree or something. I don’t know.

But yeah, this is an important concept. Because a lot of people assume that bad times are necessary, but they aren’t. That’s not to say that being depressed is somehow a personal failure. That’s not what I mean at all. What I mean is, it’s possible to shift your average well-being up high enough on the scale so that your worst day still isn’t quite so bad. Like if you average a 7/10, dropping down to a 5 will still feel shitty. If your average is a 5, a 7 will feel like a miracle. So the goal with this idea is to shift your average well-being up the scale.

Seems pretty obvious. “OK dude, let me just go be happier real quick, thanks for the hot tip”. Yeah, I know how dumb it sounds.

A few days ago, when I came out of a depression, I felt fucking amazing. I felt like the whole world had shifted. I felt my entire universe had opened up to me. I felt free for the first time in a month. And I want you to know that no matter how fucking down you feel, that feeling is out there somewhere.

Obviously there are a lot of things you can do to be happier… Eat a good diet, meditate, exercise, socialize with happy people… Basically all the shit you already know you’re supposed to do. But real happiness comes from somewhere inside you. And happiness comes from examining all the shit you’re feeling, and coming to understand that it’s temporary. Emotions are valid, but we don’t have to allow them to control us. Look your grief and your loneliness and your self-loathing in the eye. Lean into your feelings, be aware of them.

And if that doesn’t work, you can always go back to drowning your sorrow in food, drugs, and loose women.

 

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