6 Reasons I May Be the 'Happiest Depressed Person' You've Ever Met


When I start getting to know new people, and we move from acquaintance to friend, I’m pretty open about my life. The chronic pain is hard to hide as it is, but I also mention I have depression, and if they ask, I don’t hesitate to say it’s been around for a long time.

As I’ve settled in a new city with a new job and new people, I’ve been told multiple times I’m the “happiest depressed person” they’ve ever met. This amuses me, greatly.  After some reflection, I think I’ve worked out why.

1. When you’ve had an illness for 16 years and have received consistent treatment for most of that time, you learn how to manage it. I can CBT myself like no one’s business. I never miss a dose of medication, and every couple of years I get reviewed by a psychiatrist. I regularly see my psychologist and check in with my GP monthly. I’ve taught myself how to get out of bed, even when I don’t have the energy. I’ve learned how to smile when joy has faded. Listening to other people is a welcomed distraction, and I can listen to my body by making healthy choices, even when I don’t feel like it.

2. Some days are better than others, but the practice of gratitude and acceptance helps me make the most of the good days, which makes the bad days a little bit easier.

3. I have built an incredible support network – a team made up of family, friends, work colleagues and professionals. When the depression overwhelms me with loneliness, I’m rarely actually isolated. When the depression has me hating on myself, people are quick to show me their love.

4. I’ve found healing and acceptance in sharing my story, bringing awareness and supporting others in their mental illness. It gives a sense of purpose, a weapon to fight against overwhelming hopelessness and helplessness. Being open and honest also demonstrates that there is no shame in having a mental illness.

5. I grew up in a family where depression was understood. I have never felt the stigma society holds around mental illness, which makes acceptance and openness easier.

6. I trust in a faithful Creator and have the perfect Counsellor living inside of me. I have hope in a new, perfect creation and faith in a God who is loving, holy and just. These truths bring me joy that stops an often futile pursuit of happiness and enables me to rest in spiritual peace (sometimes my emotions are just a little slow to catch up with spiritual truths).

But please don’t be mistaken… I still battle with depression. I still have days where I cry all morning. I still have mornings where it takes all my energy reserves just to get out of bed. I still experience overwhelming with sadness. I still need patience, empathy, love, support, to take medication and participate in psychotherapy.

Accepting that I have a chronic mental illness doesn’t mean I have a defeatest attitude. I eagerly await the day I no longer have to deal with depression, acknowledging it may not happen in this lifetime.

You can’t compare me to other people you know with depression, as everyone is on their own journey. Let’s be real, most people haven’t spent (approximately) 64 percent of their life learning the skills needed to be “high functioning.”

Instead, if you love someone struggling with depression, encourage them to seek appropriate, professional treatment, help them find mutual support, show them love through compassionate empathy, and remind them hope and healing from depression is possible.

Image via Thinkstock.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Depression

firefight's running towards a scene

When Tragedy Reinforces Depression's Screams

I was late to the party today. I woke up and took the train to work expecting a quiet Friday filled with tying up loose ends on projects that I’m involved in. Habitually I opened Google news here at the bottom of the world to catch up on the going-ons in the world and a dark cloth was pulled [...]
graduates holding diplomas in the air

To the High School Graduate With Depression: You Have the Power

Congratulations! You’ve made it through one of life’s most difficult and trying times: high school. You’ve survived four years of never-ending education, awkward social interactions and nauseating school events. But what will you do now? That’s the question everyone has been asking you since graduation, and you always answer: I’m not sure. You’re not sure, [...]
A drawing of the profile of a woman with her eyes closed

9 Things Not to Say to a Mother Fighting Depression

1. “Go outside for a walk.” It’s true, sometimes sunshine and fresh air help me when I am depressed. But I get tired of people suggesting this like I never thought of it or tried it. Now, I do have a friend who shared with me how exercise and healthy eating made a difference in her husband’s depression. [...]
baby after the nicu

'Black Women Don't Get Depressed'

“Black women don’t get depressed” was a mantra I’d grown up hearing all my life. In my family, we are allowed to give ourselves a few days to have a “pity party,” but then you are expected to get up and carry on…business as usual. Well, in May of 2014, I gave birth to a [...]