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What percentage of your life do you feel truly alive?

I struggle with depression, so this question really means a lot to me. I feel like it steals my life from me and just makes it a wasteland of pain a lot of the time. I am just curious what other people's answer is.

Levi_Hinton 7 Aug 16

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In my youth I met a psychologist who helped me with advice I practice to this day. I had graduated from college in December and moved to a small southern city for my first job. It was always dark, my college girlfriend broke up. You know the story.

So he said what made me happy in college. Well I hiked in the mountains with my friends. Had u done that since I moved to small town? No. What else do you like he said . He made me keep going until I named 20 things

And then he said. So before we meet next week I want you to do five of these 20. And I did. I learned that we are happy when we do things that make us happy. I still practice this . I walk 5 miles a week four times. I find two new musical acts I like. I garden. I read a book. I try a new wine. I joined I just got back from Alaska.

Most of it is small and doesnt cost anything. Live what you like.


I feel alive all the time, although I’m in a lot of pain for most of it. If you mean happy/ecstatic/in awe relatively little of it. Maybe 5% if I’m lucky. Herb, nature, music, comedy, star gazing, yoga/martial arts/the moment manual labor is done and human connection are what make me feel most alive. I can usually be making a concerted effort to put more of those things in my life but sometimes when you’re already depressed it’s hard to make yourself get up to bother. I get it, I’m there myself most days. Try to do it anyways though.

I just noticed a significant increase in my energy today by resisting carbs and eating two massive salads for dinner. It’s little things like that that you’ve gotta identify and make habits of. I love carbs but damn I’m starting to confirm for myself that refined sugar and simple carbs are poison to the mind/motivation/gut flora all over. If you want to feel better about yourself finish the things you start and make improvements in your habits. Don’t try to change everything at once, pick something relatively big you wanna do like give up smoking, sugar or carbs, or start exercising and start one thing at a time, hold yourself to it for a couple weeks and notice how much better you feel. Relish in each new bit of energy or strength you build and channel it into a new hobby. Keep up each new habit for a couple weeks to a month before trying to change something else big about your life and your willpower will build momentum.

I know it’s easier said than done but by no means impossible. I’ve lost 100 lbs twice and regained it 2 1/2 times, working on getting rid of that extra half again now. I’m no personal trainer but looking back on what I learned during my quickest weight loss and getting myself out of a rut, that’s mostly what did it for me. Free your mind and your ass will follow works both ways. Free your ass and your mind will follow.

Learning to play drums and doing hot yoga for the hips was really mentally liberating as well as physically. Look up psoas release yoga on YouTube; sounds crazy but that’s where most of our emotional tension gets stored: your hips. Dance or roll around on tennis balls or go get a massage, anything to loosen up your hips and your mental state will change I guarantee it. Take any form of creative exercise that gets you in touch with your body and/or nature and throw yourself into it little by little while changing your habits one at a time. Productive sweat and self discipline are the way to a satisfied mind from what I can tell so far. It’s more fun than it sounds once you start feeling the benefits, let’s do it. Go go go do the thing!

Looks interesting! Thanks for the yoga suggestion


Maybe I don't understand the question, but I feel alive 100% of the time. I'm not always happy, but I'm alive and I'm happy that I am alive...


I guess I'm not a person that suffers with depression some days are better than others and some resemble a bowl of f*** but I feel alive all the time I interact with people daily I also take my quiet time in the park generally on the way home from work. I like to wander around in my own little world for a bit. (I put up mirrors to make it look bigger) my dog's Dudley and Fenwick give me great satisfaction and if I am down I think of Eric Idle hanging on the cross singing always look at the bright side of life.


Wow I can totally relate.
For me feeling truly alive, throughout my life, was me dealing with my anxiety/depression. As you stated that leaves very little room for pretty much anything else, including shifting the focus from dealing with the anxiety to something more fulfilling.
Very recently, I decided that I am going to move my 'feeling truly alive' in another direction and focus on making sure that I have things in my life that will provide me with hope, happiness, peace ie: something to look forward to. That something could be an event, a song, a person, a smelling of the roses moment......I don't know how it will work out but just deciding to go in that direction has already given me hope. I think that is a sign of a good start.


5% maybe. I'm annoying everyone around me with my extreme depression. All my family knows how to do is yell, which makes it so much worse. I receive zero support.

So sorry to hear that.

@patchoullijulie Thanks so much. I'm stuck in a perpetual state of hopelessness with no one to talk to.

@TheDarkNolanite I wish I could come up with a solution for you. I don't know your situation but if you can't get access to some kind of counseling, perhaps you might consider books from the library (if you haven't already) on the condition. I have read books by a Dr. Claire Weekes and found that they helped me.


If you mean happy or excited a few hours a days most days so 20%. The rest is sleep or survival.


As a born optimist, I find the wonder and joy in life. The infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand, the joy of tasting a juicy, ripe peach. Intense, playful, passionate and determined, I have fun every day.

I love hiking to alpine lakes surrounded by white glaciers and jagged mountain peaks. After dark, I look up and feel awed by the glowing Milky Way and billions of sparkling stars. We all need more low-level ecstasy in our lives.

See that's what I said


i get what your saying 4 yrs spent almost totally in bed seeing no one thought it was over then last sunday it reappeared and with it the idea that suicide isnt that bad anyway maybe 10%

Yep been there. But here I am 30+ years later, still kicking and screaming my way through life. It does reappear from time to time, (currently), so I understand your thought.

@patchoullijulie thank you


I suffer from Schizoaffective disorder. A good part of that is major depression, so I know what you mean.

I have two things that I do in life that make me feel not only alive, but good about myself.
One is my writing and recording music. I feel creative, and it takes my mind off of what ever down feelings I may have at the time.

The other is I volunteer at a homeless shelter most of the week.
That has many things that help me feel alive and good about myself.
I love helping others, I've needed help before so I know what kindness can do for a person.
Plus it's a form of therapy, I have a tremendous fear of being around people.
My work there helps me over come that a lot.

You are using your creativity and also being useful. Those are the things my therapist has always recommended. I am not creative but I have a very good career doing great work to help others. Keeps me going when I can feel myself spiraling down.

Depression is such a complex state. Sometimes it's a sane response having live in a not especially evolved culture like ours here in the West where the cards are stacked against us if we're unable live up certain highly unrealistic societal standards. Maybe that's universal--I don't know.

Many of us grew up believing that we weren't smart enough, beautiful enough, talented, or lucky enough be considered worth getting know. That's why I've been drawn contemporary Zen--it has a fresh and pragmatic way of dealing with issues like this, and when I make the effort try and follow a few of the coping techniques, certain troubling situations become more manageable.

It's my belief that the more sensitive among us (the musicians, artists, creators,) have a bigger struggle--our brain chemistry makes us more vulnerable, and we have to be careful what we allow into our consciousness. We sometimes lack the capacity to shield ourselves from toxic people and situations, and it hits hard.

Elaine Aaron wrote a book called "The Highly Sensitive Person" which is well worth reading. I think it might resonate with you.

My biggest escapes have always been music, literature, and art. I also enjoy the company of kindred spirits who "get" who I am, and vice versa.


Lucky you! Are you working?

@Bigwavedave no

@MissKathleen figures

@Bigwavedave I had my turn at it.


This is your LIFE, not a rehearsal.

Wow, such a helpful comment. I will remember it when I feel close to handing myself over to ER, or when I am having a panic attack. It’s not a rehearsal, live life! ?


Bruce is a clinical counselor who lives in Dallas. My daughter has panic attacks and PTSD after being brutally raped at age 19. The rapist attacked her when she was asleep. Claire, 28, still wakes up screaming.

"My patients who have panic attacks have been greatly helped by doing this simple exercise," Bruce said. "It stops panic attacks immediately. When they practice three times a day for ten minutes, after a month, their panic attacks completely go away."

  1. Lace your hands behind your neck. Press your elbows outward as far as you can, keeping your elbows out.

"With panics attacks, you breathe from your upper chest," Bruce explained. "Shallow breathing is an involuntary muscular response. You can retrain your body. This position locks your upper chest muscles, forcing you to breathe deeply."

  1. Slowly breathe in for a count of five.

  2. Slowly breathe out for a county of seven.

  3. Repeat for 10 minutes.

@LiterateHiker Thank you. I will try that technique. I deeply feel for your daughter. I have a different reason for PTSD, anxiety etc. and it’s not as serious as her reason. I hope that in any way, she will have some relief from her symptoms. Thank you for responding to me so kindly.


3 years ago, I would have perhaps replied 70%. That has all been taken away and now I would answer maybe 2-3%, but that is still probably too high. Realistically, fractions of a percent.


Depression is a beast.




Since my deportation from my family in the UK, I'm not sure If I'm alI've at all.
I'm an avid gamer with a new playstation pro and smart TV only feet in front of me and at least a 100 gaming friends.
I have pretty high school girls texting me that I work with with this and that and what not.
Lovely adult ladies making forbidden promises of a good time.
Friends that go back to the forth grade reminding me of good times but all I can feel is how empty my life is.

If there's a solution I'd like to know.

Shit! Sorry about your family separation. I am British, our government sucks. They were Trump before Trump. The Tories are very nasty about immigration and I am truly sorry.

@Livia thanks. It's a horrible thing when one day to the next it's over. I have a long road ahead of me to get back if that's even an option anymore.

@MartinG to be honest Martin, I moved to the USA for work and I am here on a visa. I go home about 2 or 3 times a year. Since the mid 2000s Britain has lost its charm. London is still a great city but Brexit has made us very economically vulnerable, and my sister was telling me that it’s even affecting food in supermarkets in terms of availability and price. Racism is growing- which I had not really been exposed to before, and it’s become generally shit. I am not going back. I know you must miss those you love (as I do too) you might actually be better off here. I hope your family can come to visit you. Here is a poem about England by William Blake 1794.

@Livia I love my wife and the child I put 6 years full time into but when I consider my age and capabilities I just don't think it makes since to return without facing deportation again.


I've had seasons of depression, but they were temporary - triggered by circumstances. I feel for you.

Otherwise life goes on mostly pleasantly enough, punctuated by highs that I know I can create, but often am too busy hiding from

I try to maintain my attitude of gratitude, as I know I'm so much better off than so many.


100%. I feel for you. I am fortunate in that even though I have experienced great sadness in my life-monster father, loss of a child-I do not get depressed. Ever. Sad, yes. Good luck finding a path that works for you.


About 2%, maybe 3%. If I'm underwater with all my critter relatives, then I'm up in the 80% to 90%.


I have had some extremely sad and tragic episodes in my life, but I have never suffered from depression. I can't even conceive of what it must be like to go through life like that. I am very sorry. I feel alive 100% of the time, even when I have been in the depths of despair. I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, that would help, but I know they would ring hollow. All I can offer is that, although I don't know what it is like, I feel compassion for a person that lives in such sadness.

Wow! I can’t imagine what it’s like to be without depression. I have had it ever since I can remember- 3 years old! To never have it is so beautifully lucky or perhaps deeply wise. Whatever it is, it’s wonderful. I am really pleased to hear that.


I am living in terms of existing. That’s all really. I empathize with your feelings about being robbed of actual living. My situation is weird. Monday to Friday, 9-5 I appear vivacious and cheerful (what people annoyingly call a “people person&rdquo😉 I have a senior position at work and would be classed as a “high performer” blah blah.
The truth is that outside work I manage my inner pain with prescription drugs, which is turning into an issue. I come home from work and eat a microwave meal and go to bed. People drain my energy and I don’t really feel like I like human beings very much, and every weekend I just sleep because I am so depressed. I came to the USA 4 years ago, to Chicago, and I haven’t even seen around the city. I know this isn’t actually living. I guess what I am trying to say in a long winded way is you will never know how many people are suffering from mental health issues. At all socio-economic levels, all genders, all races people have overt or secret struggles and are not actually living life. You are not alone. Everyone has terrible moments of depression in their lives and for 1 in 3 of us, it’s a permanent condition. I think many many people will empathize about the way you feel. You can message me if you feel really low and want a kind word.

Livia Level 6 Aug 16, 2018

God knows how that emoji got there! Lol. Sorry.


Oh, man. I dunno. I'm deep in the depression hole myself, so my number is low. Very low. I exist more than anything.


I feel very alive but sometimes the constant struggle seems like too much and I wish I wasn't alive. I guess that makes me depressed but it just feels like common sense to me.

@Quazi right? I'm not a fan of being a disposable tool instead of living my life.


point something


How do you define "truly alive"?

i guess not living in perpetual sadness is 1 definition

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