This is what I affectionately call my Happy Box. For the last three years, it’s sat by my bedside, storing my supply of antidepressants. Currently, it holds some copper coins, two Panadol Extra Strength tablets, a contact lens with an outdated prescription (left eye, I reckon) and a plastic Green Lantern ring; hardly life’s essential items. I’m not generally an overly sentimental person, and I know I should probably just throw it out, but for some reason, I don’t feel quite ready for that just yet.
It’s a weird and rather unsettling feeling, being nostalgic about psychoactive prescription medications, and yet that’s what I am. I’ve been off antidepressants for three weeks or so now, and every lunch time I catch myself panicking over whether I took my pill or not that morning. Then I chuckle wryly to myself, and remind myself that I no longer take those pills, because I’m not depressed! And surely, the proof is right there, in my wry chuckle! Depressed people, as we all know, don’t chuckle, and certainly not wryly. You might get the odd bitter, sarcastic ‘ha’ out of them, but its disingeuousness is easily recognised. It is in fact one of the ways to spot the depressives when out and about. Look for the ones who don’t chuckle, even at chuckle-worthy happenings. Watch those ones.
It’s a weird business, recovering from depression. Sometimes I realise I’m genuinely happy about something, and the fact that I’m able to feel happy about things makes me even happier, and I go into a weird sort of happiness feedback, and before you know it, I’m smiling at pretty girls as they pass on the street, and whistling show tunes. I imagine it’s like a mild version of how manic depressives feel, on a manic swing. It’s fantastic, although I’d probably not think so if I went from whistling show tunes to stealing cars and driving across the country to buy crumpets. I’ll stick with regular brand happy, thank you very much. Happiness is weird when you’re depressed; you know you should be feeling happy about something, that you usually would feel happy about it, but the feeling just isn’t there. Or rather, it’s like all the happiness is there, sloshing around in your brain, but between it, and you and the feelings jar you need to pour it into, there’s a Perspex wall, and you can see all that lovely happiness out there, but you can’t get it where it needs to go, so it’s useless. And not being able to feel happy makes you feel sad, and if there’s one thing a depressed brain can do extremely well, it’s feel sad. In fact, sometimes it’s so good at feeling sad, that when something sad happens, you can’t tell if you’re sad because of it, or because of your broken brain, and your sadness for genuinely sad things becomes tainted, and that just makes you sadder, and suddenly you’re into the opposite of the whistling show tunes bit. So, when you’re recovering from depression, and coming off the medication, or ending whatever treatment you’ve been having, it’s not about never feeling sad; because now, even when you feel sad, you know that you’re genuinely feeling it for a reason. And in a weird way, that can make you happy. And happiness is awesome.