How to be happy when depressed? Can the two exist together? Yes! First off, we have to feel that we deserve happiness. Happiness is our natural born right! But many, and I mean a countless many, inwardly believe that they do not deserve happiness.
Where does this false belief come from? Most likely from a dysfunctional family and childhood, and most likely from being treated as though we are the bottom of the rung, repeatedly.
If we are treated poorly by our closest caretakers, we grow up feeling as though we deserve that treatment and lack of loving kindness. We grow up believing that somehow we are innately bad, undeserving of love and unlovable. Therefore, by extension, we feel that happiness itself is something we also do not deserve. If we believe we are bad, then how in the world do we deserve to be happy?
That is a falsehood! We all deserve to be happy in life, no matter what false beliefs have been ingrained in us since childhood.
That being said, there are many reasons why people become depressed. Many do feel they deserve happiness in life, yet just cannot seem to achieve a happy state of mind for X, Y or Z reasons. This can be due to unfortunate life circumstances, a horrible job they hate, a career path they do not want or enjoy, an unhappy relationship or marriage, a troubled childhood or any number of other reasons.
Depression itself is both a chemical imbalance within the brain and a condition created or caused by our environment. Negative or toxic environmental conditions can worsen the preexisting chemical imbalance and create deeper or prolonged depression.
In order to resolve this, depression must be treated with both anti-depressants and individual therapy. Anti-depressants will not eliminate depression; they simply help a person to cope better and to function at a more normal level of functioning. Individual therapy is where the real work is at in order to achieve a happier state of mind. Yet I see all too often the situation where a person’s deeply ingrained beliefs interfere more than the depression itself on their ability to be happy.
People can experience feelings of happiness, despite dealing with such a condition, with proper treatment and most especially individual therapy. But the two treatments combined are necessary and vital in order for treatment to be fully effective. Individual therapy with a well trained, effective therapist helps us to overcome the mental challenges and barriers to our own happiness. Therapy helps to break down our false beliefs that we have been conditioned to believe all of our lives (in most cases).
Yet I have run across so many cases where people complain that individual therapy does not work. Why is that? It’s either that the therapist is no good and not well trained, or it’s the individual being stubborn and not willing to do the work.
True, there are lots of bad therapists out there; I have run across many myself. Sometimes, we have to therapist-shop to find a good one. Too often though, people become discouraged after one bad therapist and quit altogether. More often, however, I find that many give up on therapy before even really trying. Therapy is work, and it can be exhausting, draining, painful and difficult. Because of this, people often put up road blocks or quit therapy and shy away from it.
Therapy is hard, let’s face it. But the hardest things in life bring us the greatest rewards and are well worth the effort. After all, aren’t our own happiness and emotional well-being well worth the pain of trying and working at it?
We deserve to be happy; it can take work, but we can get there if we try. And once the first steps towards achieving happiness and alleviating depression are taken, we can feel better about ourselves and naturally, feeling better about ourselves contributes to improving our overall happiness on a day-to-day basis.
So there are some tips on how to be happy when depressed. Here’s to being happy!