Sharing Joy When Coping With Depression
This subject is really a matter of balance. On one side, you have to be honest and remain true to how you are feeling, while on the other side you also have to recognize that while depression has a lot of emotional side effects, we are still primarily in control of how we react and respond to situations around us. It's not an easy balance to find, nor is it easy to step back and consciously choose how to react - but it is possible.
First of all, don't fake it; forcing false emotions will only create an uncomfortable situation for all involved. It's important to be honest and open with those you care about. Forcing yourself to be or feel something you're not will likely only add to the negative connotations and stigma around depression. By lying about how you feel you could be setting an example that depression is an illness to be hidden. Instead, focus on yourself and your healing. Talk to those around you and if necessary, explain to the person that while you are happy for them, you're not in an emotional state to properly express yourself.
In my experience with depression and those who are affected by it, each individual goes through it differently, experiencing different symptoms and side effects as well as the initial cause of the illness. Finding the balance between understanding and accepting how you feel and consciously deciding how to respond will be more difficult for some than for others. This doesn't just apply to those with depression but for anybody who experiences strong emotions and reactions. Depression presents itself in a wide range of emotions; this could be sadness, anger, frustration, despair, or even indifference. For most people who are affected by depression, while these negative feelings are often strong and constantly present, we are still able to control our responses and reactions.
In order to do this, we must first be aware and accepting of how we naturally feel. In many cases, this awareness will provide us the opportunity to respond in a more positive way. For example, if someone is in a bad mood and is responding to those around them in a negative and harsh manner, often if this mood is pointed out, the person is then made aware of how they are behaving and is ultimately given the chance to change this. Understand that with depression, this may seem like a daunting task and could be a lot harder than it would be for the average person as the emotions are a lot stronger. But it's incredibly empowering to realize that you have this opportunity; that to an extent, you are able to choose how you respond to a situation.