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Depression and optimism - at the same time?

Author: Aubyn de Lisle
Published: Jun 18 2012

Is it possible to be both optimistic and depressed? Yes, or perhaps I should say, it depends what you mean by 'optimistic'. Our minds function on different levels at once, and it helps us to cope, form considered opinions and take action even when we're tired, frightened or doubtful. Lots of people who experience depression are high achievers, because they are so good at functioning that way. The little voice that urges you on, that tells you to put your bad feelings it optimism, or something more like a strict task master? It may have served you well up to now, but perhaps your body, feelings or mind are beginning to protest under the strain.

What does that look like? How does that part of you that has had 'enough' protest? Maybe by crying when you thought you were laughing hilariously. Or crying for no reason when you were doing something completely mundane, or in your sleep. Perhaps by making you forget things. By waking you from sleep with a gasp and a racing heart. Perhaps by making you have silly accidents.

Being optimistic is a wonderful quality to hang on to when times are tough. However when you're seriously depressed, such optimism can sabotage your justified thoughts about getting help. Whilst there's a powerful underlying feeling dragging you down, the optismistic 'coper' is that voice that says "it'll be ok, just battle on, you can manage, pull yourself together, you're strong, you can win, use your week, next year this will change..."

Be kind to yourself too. Allow your depression to be heard and expressed. It's amazing to feel real optimism again.

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