Why 'Good Days' Are Sometimes the Hardest When You Live With Depression

Last weekend was good. We took a mini road trip as a family, stopped for ice cream, enjoyed a ferry ride and ate good pizza in a park in a neighboring city. It was a day of good tunes on the car stereo, fresh spring breeze blowing through open windows and my children playing happily.

I wanted to die. I imagined ways to hurt myself as the kids sat enamored by the small ferry carrying us across a serene lake. I choked back tears as my kids begged me to push them on the park swing. I longed to return home and curl up in bed even though taking the kids on this adventure had been my idea.

Somehow, the sheer pleasantness of the day made my depression worse, because everything was good, except me. Life was fine, but I wasn’t.

My depression doesn’t care that the situation is good, that my kids are smiling or that the sun is shining. Depression isn’t about my circumstances, it’s about my brain. It is a dark fog settled on every surface of my life, ripping it of joy and meaning.

These supposed-to-be pleasant days are some of the worst in my depression. I feel guilty for not feeling good, chastising myself for not being able to make myself feel whole and happy. I become afraid that joy will forever be distant and outside of my grasp. It feels like if I can’t enjoy these most basic pleasures, what hope is there for me to ever see joy again? I exhaust myself putting on smiles and feigning excitement for the people around me, dragging myself through the day.

I know in my head that depression is an illness, that it has more to do with what is happening inside me and little to do with what is happening around me. That sunshine and music and good pizza don’t really remedy depression. But in my heart I long so badly to be able to snap myself out of it that I bury myself in guilt in shame when I don’t succeed. Sometimes, the good days are the hardest.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via Natalie Kuchumova.

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