But if you would have told me yesterday, the day that I cried probably more times than I can count on my fingers, that I would feel happy again, I wouldn't have believed you. I would have told you that I had never felt happy before and that I would never feel happy again, and I would have been telling you what felt like the absolute truth.
That was just yesterday, not weeks or months ago. Yesterday.
That tells me a few things:
- Depression skews your perception of reality. Every time I am surrounded by the darkness of depression, I forget what it feels like to be happy, and I am absolutely, 100% convinced that I was never happy before. I am convinced that, whatever I thought was happiness, was just me trying to feel better and that it wasn't real. Could anything be farther from the truth? Of course, I have felt happy before. Of course, I have had good days. Of course, I have smiled before when I actually felt like smiling and wasn't just faking it. But trying to remind me of that when I am depressed is like trying to talk to a piece of cardboard. No amount of reminding me of specific happy moments can convince me that I have felt happiness before, when I don't feel it at the time. This is why journal writing has become such an important thing to me, because I need to write when I am happy, so that I can remember that happiness, when I am weighed down by sadness.
- Don't give up! Can you imagine if I would have given in to the lie that I would never feel happy again? I didn't know yesterday that I was only hours away from experiencing a break in the clouds and the sun shining through. I didn't know that I would actually feel happiness today, instead of relying on my journal to tell me that I must have felt happy before. Please, please, PLEASE hold on to any amount of hope you have. Or if you don't have any of your own hope to hold on to, latch onto someone else's hope (my hope), and let that carry you for a while. You WILL feel happiness again. I promise!
- Joy is real and can be felt, even when your happiness is temporarily gone. Do you want to know what held me through yesterday? Focusing on joy. Focusing on the fact that I would one day feel better, even though I thought it would be much later than the next day. Focusing on the tender mercies that God had shown me and the ways that He had let me feel His love, even though I didn't feel it in my heart like I normally would. JOY has the power to help you find happiness again. And may I dare say that the happiness feels even sweeter when it returns, when you have focused on trying to be joyful, even in sorrow.
You are loved.
You are needed.
Happy days are ahead.
Happy days are ahead.