Are you happy?

“Are you happy?”

I stayed silent on the other end of the phone. Ugh, I don’t even know what that question means. I think for most people not suffering from chronic depression it’s pretty straight forward. I paused for my thoughts.

“What do you mean?”

He laughed, “I MEAN are you happy?”

I scan my brain for what happy looks like. I see myself laughing at various moments in life, I see others laughing, I see movies I’ve watched with characters that smile and hug. I’m hoping some of these flashes mean something that can help me answer this question. I got nothing.

I shifted my shoulders, “Happy in general or right now?”

I could hear him biting his lip, “Jesus Mel, just answer how you want.”

“Ok, ok well I guess I’m happy. I mean I think so? It depends. It depends on the moment, the time, the day. It changes, I don’t know how to explain it.”

I always feel so uncomfortable with this question. I guess because I know the real answer, I don’t even know what being happy feels like. I have moments of peace and joy, I laugh but overall do I feel comfort in knowing I’m happy? Fuck, your guess is better than mine and I’m pretty sure you already have the answer to his question. Can you tell him for me?

I come back to the conversation. “It’s complicated, the ups and the downs. I want to be happy, I’m working really hard on trying to be happy.”

The truth is, it’s been years and I have no clue if I’ll ever truly feel happy. But I can’t tell him that. I can’t tell him that this is just me. One of us has to have hope in me getting better. I wish it were me, but you can’t count on the depressed person and that’s too much pressure on him.

I’m not completely hopeless, like I said, some days are good. I meditate, I eat well, I cut down on drinking and smoking. I’m mindful of the way I affect others. When I see myself plummeting I say my affirmations, I spend time alone in nature, I seek help but not too much so that I don’t burden anyone. I get massaged and do therapy when I can afford it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I work my ass off when it comes to counteracting these attacks. But they still come.

He cleared his throat, “Do you still want to get married?”

I cupped my hands around my forehead. “Yes, of course. That’s the one thing that does make me happy, well not the ONE thing, there are others, but yes, I’m sure.”

It’s true, I love him so much. He’s so patient with my shit, he loves me, he makes me feel safe and I need all the safe I can get. It’s easy mostly and when it’s fucking hard, it’s still pretty easy. We get each other and that’s everything.

“Do YOU still want to get married to me?”

He took a deep breathe in, “Na.”

We both started laughing.

I decided to go for a run on the lake on the wealthier side of town. Let’s face it, they get better views and I needed some scenery. Running helps my depression, so I run. I began to wonder what it’s like being with someone like me. I know it’s not easy. I also know it’s not boring.  I try to imagine being in my partner’s shoes and I began to run faster for a few minutes until I realized I need to slow down.

I heard a faint noise through my headphones and as I began to turn around a large man brisked past startling me and I squealed.

“What’s a matter girl, never seen a black man in this neighborhood?”

I laughed, “Actually no I haven’t but it’s not that. I was raped by two white dudes, my fear of men isn’t racist.”

He snapped his head around surprised, “Damn girl, comin’ with the real shit! I feel you.”

“Thanks, man.”

We smiled at each other and moved on.

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