As we often hear from members of The Depression Project's community, a big misconception surrounding depression is that if someone struggles with this illness, then it means that they’re miserable 100% of the time. Consequently, if someone suffering from depression says that they’re having a “good day”, then it can lead their friends and family to falsely conclude that either:
- They were previously "faking it", "making it up", "looking for attention" or just being "overdramatic" when they said that they struggled with depression; or:
- If they did struggle with depression, then they are now “over it” – which means that if at any point in the future they claim to be feeling depressed, then they must be "faking it", "making it up", "looking for attention" or just being "overdramatic".
However, in reality, people with depression can – and almost certainly will! – have some “good days”, in spite of the fact that they are indeed struggling with depression.
The reason why is due to the fact that people with depression experience varying intensities of symptoms at different times – as opposed to feeling miserable and suffering from the most extreme form of their symptoms 100% of the time.
To help explain this point in more depth, we’d now like to introduce you to the Storm To Sun Framework - which is something that professional counsellor & Depression Project co-founder Mathew Baker created to, among other things, make it easier to understand the different ways that depression can impact people.
The Storm To Sun Framework - A Framework That Helps Explain Why People With Depression Can Have "Good Days" Too
As you can see above, there are three different “Zones” that at any point in time, people with depression may find themselves in.
The Storm Zone
This is when depression's symptoms are very severe – i.e., when it feels like there’s a storm raging in your mind. When you're in this Zone:
- You're usually being bombarded with negative thoughts; those negative thoughts are usually at their most distorted, negative and catastrophic; and you're usually at your most attached to those negative thoughts (i.e. more so than at any other time, you believe them to be true).
- Emotions like misery, shame, worthlessness, hopelessness, etcetera, are felt more intensely than ever.
- Your ability to function tends to be significantly compromised – to such an extent that fulfilling your day-to-day responsibilities can feel unmanageable (and often are); and even simple tasks like getting out of bed or having a shower may feel like climbing a mountain.
- Faking a smile and pretending to be “OK” may be impossible.
- In the “Storm Zone”, it’s common for you to feel so miserable, broken, and hopeless that you may be unable to envision the storm ever passing.
The Rain Zone
The Rain Zone is where the symptoms of depression are moderately intense. In this Zone:
- The storm in your mind has calmed down or not yet started – but it could flare up on short notice.
- Because the symptoms of depression are only moderately severe (as compared to "very severe" in the Storm Zone), you can likely still uphold your responsibilities and carry on with life – but you’ll probably get tired much quicker than you otherwise would.
- Feeling “burned out” is common, and you may be prone to snapping easily.
- Socialising and/or interacting with others – while possible – often feels too draining.
The Cloud Zone
This is where depression's symptoms are mild. In this Zone:
- You feel more or less “normal” – in the sense that your days are only minimally – if at all – impacted by depression.
- You’re able to function relatively well without becoming easily tired.
- You’re much more likely to want to socialise with friends and family and interact with other people.
- In the Cloud Zone, your motivation is at its highest, so you’re most able to do the things that you may’ve been putting off doing while you were in the Storm or Rain Zones.
What Having A "Good Day" Really Means
Now, returning to the point that we made earlier, if someone with depression says that they’re “having a good day”, what it means is that they’re likely in the Cloud Zone of the Storm To Sun Framework (or perhaps the Rain Zone if they’d previously been in the Storm Zone for an extended period of time). And, for this reason, if you ever hear someone with depression say that they're "having a good day", then:
- Please don’t accuse them of "faking it", "making it up", "looking for attention" or just being "overdramatic" for having previously said that they’re struggling with depression.
- In the future, if they do tell you that the symptoms of their depression have returned, please don’t accuse them of "faking it", "making it up", "looking for attention" or just being "overdramatic" – based on their admission that they had a good day recently.
We hope you've found this blog post helpful ❤️
All our love,
The Depression Project Team.