The Totally Depressed Person's Guide To Be Being Happy

Photo: Andrey Zhorov/Shutter Stock
how to be happy

I'm a person with depression.

I'm also a person with anxiety. 

Basically what I'm saying is that I am a pleasure to know.

All joking aside, I know what it's like to wake up wanting to die and not being able to do anything to fix it. 

It seems like the internet is full of people who are more than eager to give depressed people advice on how to be happy when you're depressed.

They are all well-intentioned, but they are also all ... well ... not depressed people. 

Telling us to take a bath and harness our chi isn't going to magically transform us overnight. 

If you want to know how to be happy when you're depressed, sometimes you have to listen to another depressed person.

Someone like me, who manages their depression, but is fully aware of just what it's like to find it impossible to summon the ability to care about anything. 

Here are five things I do to summon happiness when it seems totally out of reach. 

1. Talk about your unhappiness.


Depression is insidious, silent and invisible. 

You might be crumbling under the strain of it, but no one around you can see it, as hard as that might be to believe. 

I have found a really helpful way to externalize that depression and make it easier to handle is by talking about it.

You can talk about it with a therapist, but you don't have to. 

Talk to your family, talk to your friends, tell that what's going on inside your brain.

Having someone to help you carry that load makes it lighter, and that lightness can lead to happiness, even if only momentarily. 

2. Change your situation.

Stagnation is a common side effect of depression.

Sometimes you find yourself stuck — in your bed, your house, your bad relationship or your dead end job. 

Try changing just one thing about your daily routine, and you'll be surprised at the jolt of happiness it can provide. 

It can be something major, like starting to take anti-depressants, or it can be something minor, like changing the route you take to walk home every day. 

Forcing yourself out of the malaise that depression can cause can sometimes mean the world. 

3. Move your body. 


I know, I know.

When depression has you in its thrall, the last thing you want to do is move any part of your body.

But moving your body helps, even if only in the short term.

A walk around the block, a visit to the gym, even going to the mailbox and back can flood your body with serotonin, the happiness hormones. 

Exercise can help people with depression, but what people don't say is that that exercise doesn't have to be a five-mile run. 

(See aforementioned walk to mailbox.)

4. Accept defeat. 

There are going to be days when you won't be able to feel happy.

You'll try and you'll try but you'll dissolve into tears or worse, feel like a total zombie.

That's going to happen some days.

That's how being depressed works. 

Don't make it worse by beating yourself up for failing to "fix" yourself.

You're perfect exactly how you are. 

5. Seek out people. 


Depression likes to isolate us. 

It keeps up locked up in little rooms of sadness and self-loathing. 

People are the cure. 

If you need a dose of happiness, connect with someone in your life.

Get coffee, or just text a friend to see what's up.

Getting outside of yourself and reconnecting with the world can often be the trigger to a prolonged spell of happiness.