“Are you ever happy?”

I just got off the phone with my grandmother. She was distraught after reading some of my blog posts. “This sounds all too familiar to what we watched you go through before. It has me a little worried,” she said.

After explaining to her the purpose of my blog — to expose what’s it like to live with a mental illness — she asked, “well, are you ever happy?” She perceived my blog posts to indicate that I am always in a depressed state, never able to enjoy life or be happy. “Are you always anxious and depressed?”

There is a significant difference between depression and Depression. Depression — with a capital D — is an illness. In my case, Major Depressive Disorder. It means that my depression is clinical and persistent. It means that there is always a cloud over my head; sometimes it’s white and fluffy with the sun peeking out behind it, other times it yields rain and darkness. The cloud is always there, but it is not always raining.

I can have fun, experience joy, light up with a genuine smile, and laugh myself to tears just like any other person with or without Depression. My days are not always laden with loneliness, isolation, and sadness.

The experiences I articulate in this blog are not the only ones I experience. But if I want to educate the world about mental illness, I need to expose what it can truly look like.