…with 1 being the unhappiest you have ever been, and 10 being the happiest you have ever been, how do you feel today?”
This is a question I have been asked countless times by countless medical professionals. For a GP, it is the first question they have to ask on their little checklist when you tell them you might be depressed. For a psychiatrist, it is the first question they may ask when a session begins, so they can gauge how you are feeling. But for me, it’s a question I hate answering, because it means having to explain how low I’ve been feeling.
I have been living at around a 3 out of 10 for the past six months. I struggle to find enjoyment in the things that used to bring me pleasure, and my motivation to get out of the house and do things I used to enjoy is at an all time low.
Admitting this to anyone is extremely difficult; seeing the shock on a medical professional’s face when you express what you actually think and feel is difficult to say the least, and whilst this expression is hard to take the false sympathy is even worse.
It’s a long time since I’ve been at a 10, but I must have experienced a 10 to know what a 10 truly is. For me a 10 is a Glastonbury moment, when the speakers have broken and you can hear thousands of people singing. A 10 is watching a sunset, and a 10 is a beach holiday with a cocktail in hand.
I don’t expect to live at a 10 all the time, I can be realistic here; I understand that life has it’s ups and downs, it’s just that I’m having a few more downs that your average person at the moment.
Whilst life at a 3 is difficult, I must continually push myself to be at a higher level. Spontaneity is my friend, and whilst I do not experience it very often, when I do act on my impulses it actually leads to me being happier. A while ago I had made plans to see my Grandad, however I cancelled the day before due to anxiety. On the day, I somehow to just get up and out with no thought about it, until I found myself on the train! There was a definite feeling of achievement and I was no longer at a 3.
When you have a moment where you could get to a 5 or 6, you must take it; if you get an invitation to go somewhere, go. If you have the opportunity to be the slightest bit happier then seize it with both hands, any chance to change our mindset should be welcomed.