Aug 1, 2006

A friend of mine asked me if she seemed depressed. You know, in a real, material, time for the perscription, lets call this medical, kind of way.

It's a strange question: this question of happiness. Satisfaction. Relative pleasure and contentment with one's lot. And the other end. What is an extreme level of frustration, sadness, exhaustion with life's daily pressures and pleasures. What is problematic. What is sick.

And as they say, all comparison leads to suffering.
But nonetheless, there is always the relative scale. One has to invoke some standard, right? There must be some context when assessing whether a person seems happy or depressed, at peace or at odds.

And I don't know how happy people are. I mean, I can see the extremes, the low points in which those I love suddenly seem at a loss to handle what they once took in stride, or the ongoing lows that punctuate some existences more than others. I can see how some people seem to experience a certain mental ease in times of change, seem to make decisions more easily, seem to apply action to decision making processes.

But how happy they are? I don't know. I don't even know how happy *I* am most of the time. I can apply the extremes, for context, once again. I pass bridges and windows without much thought. I tend to keep my jobs and friends. I don't pass out every night in a drug addled stupor or count how many bites I eat at dinner. I am not substantially neurotic and or depressed according to medical stands and the DSM manual. But am I happy? Are you? Is she? Is she, more to the point, NOT happy? Is that normal? What does that mean?

I don't know, but sometimes I wonder how often people feel happy and what that means to them. And I'm not talking about amused or titillated or gleeful in a moment, although I'm sure incidence rate in such has a direct correlation. But really how happy the people I know and love consider themselves.

Sometimes you get a whisper and window and you notice how truly, deeply sad someone has become, or you get a glimpse of true contentment, and it's startling. Other times the true issue is how to call the question. and how to assess, within the myriad of ways people express themselves, what the answer truly is and what it means to you.

1 comment:

Bjetsey said...

and to add my confusion about medicating depression - when do you know that medicating will help and not just delay? I know many folks who have taken anti-D drugs for months or years but haven't felt they were helped by them. Sure, their general mood lifted, but the underlying problems didn't go away. It's hard. no question about it.