The Happiest, Sad Girl

Deciding to find light in the darkness of depression.

Photo by Holly Mihelic

I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was 20-years-old. 
People that know me would find that surprising. I’ve been the “happy, bubbly, motivated leader” for my entire life.

Seven years ago, I went to the doctor to see if they could help with my utter exhaustion. I completely dreaded every day, even though I loved my life. I had zero strength in my hands. My pupils were permanently dilated. And I was losing weight without trying (a symptom that I welcomed).

My expectation going in was that I would leave the appointment with a script for Adderall. Not Prozac. I thought I’d get an “easy fix” like my other friends got.

My expectation going in was that I would leave the appointment with a script for Adderall. Not Prozac. I thought I’d get an “easy fix” like my other friends got.

They gave me a test. My score was insanely low and if it’s possible to fail that questionnaire, I did so epically.

As I walked out of the office with my first bottle of “happy pills” already in my purse, I was in total denial telling myself, “I don’t have depression. I don’t want to kill myself. I’m a happy person. But am I?”

I felt embarrassed and ashamed when picking up the prescription, and even more so when calling my mom to tell her what was going on.

But a major part of me was relieved. I thought about the little sad cartoon blob in anti-depressant commercials and how he’d go from rolling around to bouncing around. I wanted to be my bouncy self again. I’d do whatever it’d take to actually feel the way I acted each day.

I’d do whatever it’d take to actually feel the way I acted each day.

I felt like a walking, breathing oxymoron. The bubbly, blue girl. The blessed, bothered girl. The strong, unsteady girl. The positive, pointless girl. 
The happiest, sad girl. 
I wanted to reject and accept myself at the same time.

My healing path over the past seven years has been a winding one. I was on medicine and weaned off of it. I stopped believing in God and then got on my knees and started praying hard. I took up yoga and an obsession with sleep. I’ve had crying spells and then went numb for months. I’d gone vegan and bought bottles on bottles of Turmeric. I’ve been to plenty of doctors and have had a plethora blood work. I’ve done therapy and coaching and acupuncture. I started wearing crystals and went to energy healers. I learned and now practice Transcendental Meditation… the list could go on.

A hard for no reason day unmasked and unfiltered. In bed.

I have tried everything possible to be better.

But that’s exactly it. That’s the story of my life. My constant drive to “Be better. Get better. Do better. You are not enough. More. More. More.”

That little voice is exactly what fuels the depression and keeps it strong. Learning to build a loving relationship with that voice has by far been the hardest “remedy” but it’s slowly and surely the one that’s working.

I’ve found that healing is a lot like aging. When you are in the trenches and seeing yourself every single day, it’s hard to notice the change or progress. But when comparing year to year, the shift is obvious. You will find that you are finally glowing a scattered, yet beaming light. Like when a sun ray peeks through the trees.

It’s taken a lot of time and commitment, but through mindfulness I have accepted my sad self and now love it just as much as my happy self. I’ve also accepted that there isn’t an “all clear” with depression. Every day I consciously choose to explore, rather than battle this burden. Some of my biggest discoveries have been:

  • Way more people can relate to how you feel than you would ever imagine. You are so not alone, so don’t let yourself be.
  • Letting people see you break is a sign of bravery, not weakness.
  • Depression doesn’t mean you are frail, dark and small. You are actually more likely a leader who is a light to our world.
  • The weight is there. It’s not about making it go away, it’s about what you do with it. You can lift it and get stronger or let it crush you. The choice is yours.
  • It’s ok to have hard days without reason. Your climb is real and it’s upward. There will be hard days and you don’t need to explain why. Just honor and love the grudge and trudge.
  • Chasing perfection gets you nowhere fast.
  • Just enough is often more than enough.
  • Cherish and collect, but don’t worship and withhold your energy.
  • Giving and receiving is a complete cycle. Working on balancing it out will do wonders for you.
  • Being sad doesn’t mean being ungrateful.
  • Hiding won’t help. Honesty will.

The weight, the pressure, the pain… It all has a bigger purpose. 
And one day, it will become your service.

Stay connected with me and please reach out with your story. 🙂

Originally published at

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