Do you get frustrated when you're not in the highly-functional and kicking-ass zone? I am happiest when I'm in the 6's and 7's. But I'm learning to love myself even when I'm in the 3's.
Divorce is not something you just "get over." And with kids, you never really get over it. I am learning to continuously forgive and forge ahead with my own life as a single dad.
I was sad from Nov - Mar, but I was not clinically depressed. I was doing all the healthy things I could do to get my energy and spirit back on the right track in my life. And while I was not immediately joyous as a result of these efforts, I learned that by sticking with the program, my program of healthy and conscious living, I could have all the things I wanted in my life.
My recovery focused on a lot of supportive activities and rituals. The Al-anon meetings provided a healthy and spiritual community for me to stay connected. My Al-anon sponsor continued to show up in my life as a guide and cheerleader.
Depression is truly a soul killer. And it might be a slippery slope towards suicide if we don't get a handle on it, both personally and as a society.
If mental illness was more like typical illness we'd have a lot more sympathy for the suffering. If it's a disease, then we need to stop pushing and grinding ourselves…
What I am learning in my recovery from depression and anxiety is that my feelings are never the complete answer. And often, my feelings just are. If I can separate from them just a bit I can see myself as safe and healthy, even as my bear-feelings are shrieking, "Holy crap, you know what happens when things start feeling this good!"
I'm not perfect. I don't have the answer to this question of how to be happy all the time. But I am learning to see my emotions, my feelings, as something that are a part of me, but are not all of me. That's my meta-view.