You Can Be Severely Depressed and Happy at the Same Time

That’s because you’re always miserable.

Pasqual, in Grade 12 English class

In high school I was known for a few things; being a teenaged conservative, wanting to be a soldier, having a dark, wry, cutting sense of humour. Looking back, I think those flowed from two sources, my contrarian nature and my depression.

I didn’t think of myself as depressed or unhappy (that realization came much later), I simply had a different outlook from everyone else. I answered the above stating, no I wasn’t miserable, I was happy.

Oddly enough, in spite of my depression, I thought it true then and I think it true now, because happiness is different for different people.

Last year my psychologist asked me to take the DAS (depression, anxiety and stress) survey a couple of times. The first time, after our first or second session, came back predictably. “Severe depression, moderate stress and low anxiety.”

I say predictably because I was in treatment for severe depression, we were in the midst of Ford’s and Trudeau’s Fascist hellscapes, so who wasn’t stressed, and I was home with my kids most of the time, so why would I be anxious?

After a few months, after a pretty good week. she asked me to take it again. I was feeling pretty good yet the results came back “severe depression, moderate stress and low anxiety.”

Even in good times, my depression is on the border of moderate and severe. It is my normal, and a life of this taught me to find happiness inside of it.

So when I told Pasqual that, no I wasn’t miserable, rather happy, I wasn’t lying. I was happy, for me, because severe depression is my normal, and what you think of as normal is not.