The Discomfort of Happiness

I was leaving my therapist’s office last week and looked me in the eye and told me how wonderful it was to see me smile.  It was not long before this that my partner Gray said similar.  I have to tell you that both times I became uncomfortable.

You have to understand.  I have “dealt” with my depression for a very long time.  I didn’t get help or treatment for at least twenty years.  I just lived with it.  I don’t really even notice if I am not smiling so sometimes I am surprised to hear that it is rare.

I am curious if anyone else out there experiences that?  Do you go through your day not realizing that you are not smiling.  I am also curious if those of you working through your clinical depression ever feel woozy when your happy? I have this sneaking suspicion that I am not alone.  If you have spent years depressed then those moments of true happiness can be unsettling.  Understand, I do not mean that they are bad.

Imagine having spent your life on an emotional roller coaster, mostly on the downslope.  I had not realized how accustomed I had become to drama. (No, we are going to call them theatrics)  I am not beating myself up by saying this, at the time I didn’t know any differently.  I now find that the quiet moments of peace and joy feel awkward.  It’s as if something is horribly wrong yet I’m happy. Sigh. Writing that out makes me shake my head.

I guess I bring this up because I am lucky to have a loving patient partner.  I know it is frustrating to have everything going well and have me sort of bristle.  I am working on it.  I have years of neural pathways to overcome.  I just want to tell all of those out there loving and supporting and yes, swallowing a good deal of frustration, Thank you. THANK YOU! We love you and we know it must be so hard sometimes.


This post is hard today.  The thoughts that have been most present in my mind have come from my therapist asking me to step back and look at my triggers (when they happen) and try to relate them to the abuse I grew up with. I am to look at the connections and not assign blame but try to figure out ways to re-route my reactions or actions in my brain.

This process is not easy, far from it.  I am having to learn to accept that what I experienced as a child is a form of abuse. It’s not physical which makes it harder to spot.  I am an only child so there really was no one to witness it. I spent years thinking that I was intelligent because I didn’t follow the path that my father laid out in front of me.

Why am I telling you this?

As I sit down to write this post I have quit my job in a cafe and I am starting to work from home for myself.  I am full of fear about being a burden to my partner Gray.  I am terrified of failing.  I am doing the thing I was brought up to believe was not the “smart” thing.

Where does this fear come from?  Thanks to my therapist and cognitive behavioral therapy I am beginning to see the effects of the behavior modeled by my parents in my thinking process.

All I can do is get up every morning and remind myself that I am not what my fears make me.  I have the love and support of my partners and friends and I have the strength of my own abilities to create new ways of thinking.

“Do not confuse my bad days as a sign of weakness. Those are actually the days I am fighting my hardest.”  -Unknown