I often think that, in life, whilst we so very often over-complicate the simple, we also simplify the complicated which can lead to so many confusing emotions and thoughts especially when it comes to depression.
But here’s the thing. When you’re depressed or struggling with anxieties, good news doesn’t really affect you in a positive way. Ironically it can make you feel worse. Guilty that the news doesn’t make you feel any better or that you appear ungrateful. Ashamed that you can’t just be ‘normal’ like everyone else and be happy when good news comes your way.
But it isn’t your fault. Ok? It really isn’t! Trust me. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been suffering a depressive episode when something good happens and I can’t ‘feel’ or accept it. Because here’s the kicker;you can’t. Depression isn’t a choice, it’s an illness. That’s like asking a job proposal to treat a cold! Get real with yourself. I’m not asking you to accept the good news because maybe your head won’t allow it but at the very least, please don’t allow your brain to bring you down further. If you get a job promotion, even if it doesn’t lift your mood like it ‘should’ (again, I despise that word!), please don’t tell yourself that you ‘only got it because Brian has left the company’. You’re suffering and yet you still got a job promotion; that’s amazing!!
Right now, as you will know, I’m struggling to live and I wonder to myself how I would feel if I suddenly won a big amount on the lottery and you know what conclusion I keep coming back to? That whilst it will change many things in my life, it won’t change my depression or the fact that I feel lonely without a family of my own.
Yes I have, thanks to my father, always been a ‘glass half empty’ kind of person but when you have depression and anxieties, those worries reach to new depths you can’t always explain. I WANT to be happy that I have both a job and a place to live; a place to call home and a routine with free time to enjoy but my depression doesn’t always allow it.
I’m not excusing my thoughts. Yes, I’m always going to have depression in my head but it can also become a default setting some time because it’s a safe train of thought (that’s another article entirely) and so I’m trying to keep going even though I don’t really want to.
And yet, I find uncertainty and the future crippling. I am a highly sensitive person who wishes to continue as such in an incredibly harsh world; I feel both the good and bad of life on an acute level emotionally and mentally which is exhausting. I don’t love routine and yet my personality and mental illness craves it. I am afraid of the future because it has no direction and yet I am the one who has the most say in the direction that it does go.
But I have been too ashamed to tell anyone how I really felt. The real depths of my anxieties. That despite the good news it is not a cure and I still feel like shit. I’m sorry if you don’t like that but it’s the truth. Physical good news has nothing to do with your body from a medical perspective.
People assume that when something you have been chasing comes to fruition or you receive good news it will ‘cure’ your mood and yes, whilst it may lift you temporarily like the effect of a drug, you will also receive the come down. The moment when reality sets it and your mind remembers the mood you were in before. The reason you can’t tell anyone is because they then consider you to have one of the worst personality traits available:
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I am not ungrateful. To be able to go to Australia, find true happiness and a place my heart calls home was a dream come true and I am extremely grateful for that time but now I’m back in the UK, I hate it and I will openly admit that because being grateful does not cure my depression. You are allowed to be grateful and depressed at the same time; they are not mutually exclusive.
It will not cure me being exhausted after spending a day smiling at colleagues when I wish I was in bed hiding from the world. It will not cure me of my anxieties which are so strong they keep triggering the depression. And it will not cure me of the innate sadness I feel of not having someone to share my dreams and laughter with.
Good news doesn’t bring good mood but it’s a start.