I’ve been feeling rather low for the past two weeks. Or maybe even longer. A close family friend of ours in his mid-fifties recently left the world. He was himself a messiah of hope and life for the countless many he had healed as a brilliant oncologist and yet when it came to his own suffering, he lost the battle on extremely unfair terms. I’m sure there were many others who knew him closely, would also have felt the same. I cannot imagine what his immediate family went through as he fought a brave battle until he succumbed to it in the end.
Ever since I’ve heard the news, every morning when I wake up, I am filled with morbid thoughts. Life seems so uncertain. One minute, we are making grand plans for ourselves and the very next, we are made aware of the fragility of our very existence. Maybe it is sadness, grief and worry all rolled into one. So many fears raged on in the mind that they drowned even the most wonderful holiday memories for me. And, then, like a constant, the feeling just lingered on and on and on…like a dull pain that never leaves your side, that colours your thoughts and takes over your mind slowly! I felt like bursting into tears through the whole of last week and yet, I held on, and went about my duties, did my thing to cheer up the boy who was having a bad day, called my mom and told her all the positive things to lighten up her mood because someone had been rude to her and she couldn’t get over it. But, the mirror just stared at me and laughed, a bit scornfully, I think.
Coming face to face with my fears hasn’t been easy. Talking about it, even worse and yet, I choose to speak up because I must not only deal with sadness but also overcome it. I know it isn’t unusual to feel this way. We all feel sad sometimes. Sadness is a normal human emotion which in many cases, accompanies loss. I remember hating the whole cycle of seeing off someone or bidding farewells as a kid because it made me cry. I never wanted to cry before anyone and yet, I would end up doing so, much to own embarrassment. Baring my feelings in the open has made me vulnerable. It still does. But, it also relieves in a strange kind of way. Especially, when you can do nothing about it!
And, after some soul-searching, I also found out that there are ways to experience normal sadness in healthy ways, even when things don’t seem to take us anywhere and we can actually allow this seemingly negative emotion to enrich our life.
How do we do it?
Firstly, allow ourselves to be sad. Yes. Seems strange, but it works. It did for me. Denying such feelings may force them underground, where they can do more damage with time. Cry if you feel like it. I noticed I felt relief after the tears stopped. You might too.
Write in a journal and share your thoughts with others. Call up a friend or a family member you’re close to. Or, you could doodle if you love to draw, or listen to music, if that’s your thing, and sit in the sun and soak in some warmth and light to fill up the soul! That’s my thing.
I’m not sure if you tried this, but I do—think about the context of the sad feelings. Are they related to a loss or an unhappy event? Think about the feelings in a non-judging way and ride the wave of that experience.
Sadness can result from a change that you didn’t expect, or it can signal that you might need to make changes in your life. Emotions are changing and will come and go. Sad thoughts also come and go. But, if the feeling persists and there are other changes or a constant fatigue and weight loss accompanied by an inability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, or recurring suicidal thoughts, I would strongly suggest you seek professional help.
I cannot stress enough why it is important to get help if this happens, rather than getting stuck in it. For all you know, you might just be on the brink of an impending collapse, without being aware of it yourself. I’ve lost a family member who didn’t seek help and, in spite of a flourishing career and all the trappings of a so-called happy life, called it quits, leaving behind a heartbroken family and a child for whom the world was never the same.
In the end, I think, we end up healing ourselves because we always tend to underestimate the power of who we are— always seeking from others what we forget we have within ourselves, all along!
I’ve also realised another thing. Sadness helps us appreciate happiness. Did you ever notice that? When our mood eventually changes from sadness toward happiness, the sense of contrast adds to the enjoyment of the mood.
Tell me, how do you cope with sadness? How do you get over those feelings?