Your journey includes words, concepts, vagueness, and vagaries. Please make sense of stuff in a way that works for you.
But, hear me out.
The antidote to depression is Okayness, not happiness. Okayness is when the depression abates, enough, or when it is out of the way, off the floor, around the corner, enough. Okayness is not perfection, but good enough-ness.
Depression may not be curable, or antidote-able, at all. It may ebb and flow. Subside randomly. And seep back in whenevs.
Rather than “curing” depression, the best approach may be to treat with kindness. Working towards Okayness and Good Enoughness might be your best course of action to take.
So, what, then, of happiness?
In good times, we experience negative emotions. In bad times, we experience positive emotions. “I contain multitudes,” wrote Walt Whitman. Amidst the haze of depression we can still own our deeply held values. We can still believe in meaning.
Happiness can and does happen next to depression, or nearby. They are two passengers on the same train.
They can cohabitate in your home. They can be collinear, concurrent, and coexistent.
They are not necessarily opposites at all. In despair, happiness and depression may feel like they go together in this universe like shimmering light and wide black holes. Most of the rest of the time, the H-thing and the D-thing could just be two different celestial bodies, floating about, both taking up spacetime.
So, really, the bottom line for me is that I don’t have to “end” depression to experience happiness.
And I don’t have to impose the hefty weight of curing depression on the shoulders of happiness. They can be separate, distinct, and unrelated.
I can play by the stream with the kids, throwing sticks in the water and seeing how fast they float away. We pretend they are boats, racing. Pure glee.
The headwind, the fog, the confusion, might have been weighing me down that morning in bed, or might tomorrow morning.
Maybe it’s sad to say the D-thing might never be over. But it feels freeing to free depression and happiness from each other. And maybe it’s a loving truth.