There were, of course, various answers. Some were pretty positive: happy, amorous, euphoric, many more were on what I would call the negative spectrum: shaky, depressed (a lot of depressed), sad, holding back tears, etc.
Then there was a response reading: “Its much easier to be happy- being miserable takes too much energy. Why not just decide to be happy?”
GRRRR! This statement made me so angry so I wrote a brief response. I did not call the writer any names or use ALL CAPS to show my rage about the ignorance around mental (and other) invisible illnesses, but I sure wanted to. I simply stated that for many of us our moods are very complicated and so totally beyond our control that being happy is not “just” a “decision.”
I’m so tired and weary of the “snap out of it” mentality. Just because someone is functioning on the job, at university, going out to dinner (or staying in) with friends or an intimate partner or simply going through the motions of life and others don’t recognize how hard that is for them does not mean they are not depressed or even despairing.
We all know this, but how do we transmit our message to others who are not aware? How much of educating others about mental illness and erasing stigma is on us and how much understanding is the responsibility of other (seemingly) intelligent people on this planet who are our friends, family, co-workers, colleagues, readers, healthcare providers, media, the guy on the bus, the gal in the grocery store, the proverbial man on the street?