The feeling of a good feeling

stones in flowing river brook“What is it like,” someone asked the other day, “to live without depression?” They could not remember.

How do you describe an apple to a starving person?

I told him to try and remember a time when he tasted apples. That’s what I say to myself when I feel off or I have one of the, as I like to call them, “power drops” (the electrical “good feelings” grid shuts down and I’m in the dark). I say, “Remember other times when you felt good.” But I can acknowledge how infuriating that can feel when you’re nowhere near that kind of feeling.

The other thing I said was to try and find something that feels a little better. And then another thing that feels a little better than that. And so on. From depression to indifference. From indifference to neutrality. From neutrality to curiosity. From curiosity to excitement. Slowly, gently, with no fuss and no hurry. That, I can do and I have been doing for a while (thus this website).

That was the end of the conversation but, for some reason, it stayed with me. I couldn’t tell why until tonight when a thought popped into my head as an answer to a question I was not aware I had.

The question was: “How do you explain to someone, who does not remember and cannot do it on their own, what a good feeling “feels” like?”

The answer that came to me tonight was this: being in the midst of depression (or a bad mood) is like being in the middle of a fast river, looking for a stepping stone to go to the other side. A good feeling is like one of those stepping stones: stable and solid and reliable. It carries you across, no matter how small and far from the other shore.

To feeling better and better,




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