Balance

by marmaladescreams

It is too often the quality of happiness that you feel at every moment its fragility, while depression seems when you are in it to be a state that will never pass. Even if you accept that moods change, that whatever you feel today will be different tomorrow, you cannot relax into happiness as you can into sadness. For me, sadness always has been and still is a more powerful feeling; and if that is not a universal experience, perhaps it is the base from which depression grows. I hated being depressed, but it was also in depression that I learned my own acreage, the full extent of my soul. When I am happy, I feel slightly distracted by happiness, as though it fails to use some part of my mind and brain that wants the exercise. Depression is something to do. My grasp tightens and becomes acute in moments of loss: I can see the beauty of glass objects fully at the moment when they slip from my hand toward the floor. ‘We find pleasure much less pleasurable, pain much more painful than we had anticipated,’ Schopenhauer wrote. ‘We require at all times a certain quantity of care or sorrow or want, as a ship requires ballast, to keep on a straight course.’

 – Page 24, The Noonday Demon (2001), Andrew Solomon