Occasionally I have people ask if because of my depression I am a generally unhappy person. I assume this is because I am not the smiley-est of people, or the chattiest. What they can’t seem to understand is that depression isn’t about happiness or sadness – well, not really.
Depression is an illness. I can be depressed and still be happy occasionally. I can be not depressed and still be sad. Depression doesn’t just mean I’m sad all the time – although there is a proponent to be sad more often than not when I’m struggling with it. Depression is more of a lack of feeling at all than it is being sad all the time. Sometimes I admit that I feel guilty when I’m occasionally happy after claiming to be depressed – like I’m not depressed enough. Then I wonder who the hell I need to be depressed enough for in order to take care of myself. For me, being on medication is how I deal with my depression – though I know others have found other effective ways – and that means that I am managing my illness. So just like asthma, where when I manage my illness I can breathe easily, with depression I can be happy (and even smile!) just as regularly as the next person when I am managing it. The fact that I don’t smile all that often or am not the chattiest of people (unless you know me well) has more to do with the fact that I am introverted than my depression.
On the flip side, this also means that I am not automatically depressed every time I get sad. Believe it or not, regular people get sad from time to time, too. And it’s O.K. I’m not going to devolve into a mushy mess of depression because I cried at a movie or a sad book. I also may not want to share with you why I’m sad or hear happy things about how everything is going to get better – again, this has more to do with my introversion and cynical personality than my depression.
There are many facets to my character. I choose to live all of them as wholly as I can – especially when I’m not depressed. This means I’m not always going to fit into people’s boxes of a well-adjusted adult (read: extroverted and always happy). I’m okay with that – I like living my life outside the boxes.