Feeling Joy When You’re Depressed

Schatzie Brunner

In 1981 I was one of the earliest employees at CNN.

I recently came across an article about how important it is to understand a broader definition of depression.  A broader definition would include those of us who can laugh at a good joke, a funny birthday card, or a remark by a friend.

And I remember that even though I can laugh when I’m deeply depressed, that joy lasts only for a moment before the descent into the black hole.  Those around me might have easily thought, “Well she can’t be that depressed if she can laugh at a joke.” But that simply isn’t true and more of us need to remember that those of us who are depressed or have suffered depression in the past do feel joy and moments of happiness even when we’re desperately wishing we would feel better.

People who are depressed are still alive. And those who have never been depressed need to understand that.

Even when I’ve functioned at a high level, like the years I worked at CNN or the years I spent in prep school and college getting good grades, the depression was always lurking in the background trying to take over my life.

It is time for us to educate those who don’t understand depression by telling our stories.  And if you’re feeling especially vulnerable, be sure to choose only a person who deserves to hear your story. Someone you know is empathetic and won’t simply dismiss your comments because you’re having trouble articulating your thoughts.

Remember, the more we talk about it the more people will realize just how many of us fight to survive this awful illness. We are survivors and don’t let anyone tell you aren’t.