Today my friend asked me if I find writing cathartic for depression and I realized, as much as I intended this site to be focused on sharing my story of depression, I almost never write about it.
More often, when depression hits my first thought isn't let me spend some time writing", instead it's something along the lines of "I'm proud of you for getting out of bed today". Depression is all consuming at times. To the extent that I can't function as a human being. When I'm at that place I have to find the smallest of wins. You got out of bed? NICE WORK! You showered? HUGE SUCCESS!
I've been feeling it a lot lately. Since getting on a new medication in June, I've definitely experience the benefits of the medication working. One of the benefits is that the lows are not so low. One of the less-than-great side effects is that the highs are not as high. Most days in the last eight months I've just felt numb. I was asked the last time I felt joy and I honestly couldn't come up with an answer.
I appreciate the medication for tempering the highs and lows, but there are days that I wish I could feel again. Those days I tend to wish I could feel anything. Even if that feeling is extremely low. The question I posed back, after realizing I couldn't remember the last time I felt joy, was how often can you go last without feeling joy?
My takeaway from our conversation was that I might need to redefine what joy means to me. When I think of joy I think of that moments when I feel deeply connected to another person. The emotion that comes with that is inexplicable as much as I might try. Redefining that, especially for an introvert, is important. If I am consistently exhausted being around people, how can I find joy alone? As important as it is to be connected with other people, I also need to find joy during alone times.
I think there's something to lying to yourself about it as well. I love to read. I feel relaxed and authentic when I am laid back with a book. Maybe it's time to tell myself that relaxing with a good book is my version of joy. If I say it enough as truth, maybe it will become my truth.
What brings you joy? True, authentic, joy. I'm in need of ideas.