Still behind on projects, so writing here will be shorter for a bit.
I had what seems like one of the best evenings of my life last night. I was at a friend's birthday party. It was a chance for human physical contact; I gave three backrubs and got one very skillful and caring one, which was the first time I've been touched extensively (more than, say, a hug) by someone who wanted to make me feel good since February. Once most of the guests were gone, me and probably my four favorite people in the world (one of whom was the married woman who gave me a backrub after getting one from me) sat around an outdoor fire and talked until one in the morning. We got to have some adult talk; mostly someone's teenagers are around.
It illustrates something about happiness. After that long with little human touch, that backrub was unquestionably better than most of my physical experiences of any kind, including sexual ones; and it unquestionably made me happier than most of those experiences. Yet in times when I've had nearly as much touch, especially sexual touch, as I want, the same skillful nonsexual massage I got last night would have meant little for me.
It's a reminder of the incredibly difficult and challenging fact that I could potentially be happy with my situation now. Yes, it's been a tough past year; I lost one of my dogs (car accident), my job and my wife, in a few months; the loss of my wife also meant the loss of the usual savings buffer I kept for bad times, after the loss of the job, and furthermore, put me in debt; and I've been sick with some kind of low-energy thing that no one's been able to pin down, likely a mix of allergies, some mild autoimmune thing (I've got borderline ANA numbers), and depression. Those things would make anyone sad, but my wife left many months ago. I should be more recovered.
The devil of depression (probably not clinical) is that feeling guilty about still feeling depressed makes me feel worthless and depressed. Then I veg and don't do anything useful, and that makes me more depressed about myself. The most useful thing I've come up with is that the only way I can be morally defeated by this depression is by not trying. If what I try fails, but I honestly applied all my intelligence and effort, I still have a moral victory. This world is not my true home and success in it is up to God once I've done my best. All he asks of me is that I do do my best.