When was the last time you felt happy?

6 Dec 2014

My therapist asked me this question last week. I was being re-assessed, after claiming that many of my depressive symptoms had gone and I believed I was recovering. I was thrown by the question, but still trawled through 30 years of memories, to try to find the point where I last felt that serene, stable, elusive positivity that is 'happiness'. Oh no, I thought. Don't make me say it.

"I can't remember the last time I felt happy."

And suddenly my claim that I was on the road to recovery sounded utterly foolish. I cried, and she passed me a little box of tissues, and wrote something down.

The question plagued me for the rest of the session. How could I have felt that I was recovering without being happy? It was only later that I started to think that perhaps my answer wasn't the problem. Perhaps the problem was the overly-simplistic question.

If depression is defined as 'prolonged unhappiness', it seems logical that not being depressed should mean the opposite. But in my case, the beginning of recovery didn't mean a sudden onset of happiness at all. It meant a gradual emergence of any feelings that weren't despair. When I felt hopeful after a lovely first date, I knew I was recovering. When I felt joy holding my niece for the first time, I knew I was recovering. When I doubled up with laughter at a comedy gig, I knew I was recovering. Have I felt sublimely happy recently? No, maybe not. But I have felt, and that is the important thing.

Depression is not the negative end of a binary scale, and recovery is not the polar opposite. Recovery is complicated, it looks different for everyone, and there is no tick box that covers it.


A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

Email us at support@moodscope.com to submit your own blog post!


Login or Sign Up to Comment and Read Comments