Tuesday, August 9, 2016

When Sadness Scares People

I am a sad person.  I will admit it. I have more sad days than good and usually when I am happy, I have an underlying feeling of melancholy because I am usually waiting for that sadness to creep up.  I don't know if it is because I have accepted (and possibly embraced) my sadness or if it is because I realize it is one of our primary emotions and thus it is not a bad thing.  I don't know.  I am not one of those overly optimistic people - I tend to expect and think the worst.  My glass isn't usually half empty or half full, it is shattered with liquid leaking out.  Do I like being sad? Not particularly.  Do I choose to be sad? Not all the time.  Would life be better if I was happier?  Probably.  But I think sadness actually helps people and can be a positive thing.  Crazy sounding, right?! 

Whatever happens in our life, our emotions are there.  Unless you are apathetic.  And that would be a crappy way of living.  Shit happens and we have feelings about it.  Sometimes happy things happen.  Sometimes sad things happen.  Sometimes frustrating things happen.  And I have learned through my many years, that it is best to feel those feelings when it happens and not suppress them.   One has to acknowledge those feelings and work through them. Suppressing them sucks.  For a long time, I thought it was better to not show any sort of emotion other than happy.  If I was feeling sad, I had to portray happiness.  If I was feeling angry, I had to portray happiness.  If I was anxious, I had to portray happiness.  Sometimes, I still feel like I have to do that as people just don't want to see anything but happiness.  They don't want to hear anything except happiness.  And always, constantly, having to be an emotion you are not is taxing.  It wears a person down, physically and mentally and emotionally.  It makes it tiring to live life.  And nobody should have to go through life like that. 

Sadness is on a spectrum.  You have those sad moments when your tea place is out of your favorite tea.  Or you have those sad moments when you go into hysterical laughter.  Or you have those sad moments when you want to crawl into bed and never, ever, get out.  I have experienced all those moments.  And more.  But, as Timothy Q. Mouse has said "the very things that hold you down are going to lift you up".  Maybe when my tea place is out of my favorite tea, it makes me choose a different one and that one will be fantastic.  Or maybe the hysterical sadness-laughter will make other people smile a little in your craziness in their time of sadness.  I believe that sadness allows us to see the happiness that is out there.  It is the old adage in that you can't know one thing without knowing its opposite. And if that isn't an old adage, then maybe it should be a new adage.  I don't even know if that is an adage.  

However, people panic at sadness.  Also when people don't expect it.  But we are human.  Emotions are a part of us.  It *should* be hard for most people to distance themselves from their emotions in any given situation.  Why is it okay for a person to cry at a funeral because they are sad but not at work when they are going through that sadness?  Why is it okay for a person to feel frustrated at friends but not feel frustrated with co-workers?  It seems like society and/or people have put limitations on when and where people can feel emotions.  If that emotion is out of the boundary of what is acceptable, people panic.  

For example, I just went to a funeral.  It was heartbreaking.  Now, I can normally handle myself during funerals.  Shed some tears.  Keep some decorum.  Maintain composure.  But this funeral, I had difficulty doing that.  Some people apparently thought that I had a complete breakdown.  They panicked at my portrayal of sadness.  But my sadness was just different than their sadness.  And when it comes to death, and grieving and sadness, everyone is different.  Some people cope a hell of a lot better than others.  Nobody knows what is going on with that person or what is making them feel what they are feeling.  And I don't think it is in anybody's place to judge how a person grieves. Or how their sadness is portrayed.  

I know some people who almost refuse to be sad.  They look for the happiness, the silver lining in everything.  Everything.  It gets exhausting sometimes because when I want to, or need to, acknowledge some unhappiness, they basically turn away from it and try to say why I shouldn't be unhappy.  BE UNHAPPY PEOPLE!!!!!!  It is completely fine.  Just don't let it turn maladaptive or harmful to yourself.  There is a fine line and most people, most, know where that line is.  Me, not sure if I know that line.  But others, way more competent people, they know that line.  And you need to take the unhappiness with the happiness.  You need to know what pains feels like to appreciate the pleasure.  Sadness/unhappiness - it strengths a person.  I would hope.  It is usually when you are at the bottom of your life that you realize what you have above you and what you appreciate.  

Moral of this blog:  F*#k it and let yourself feel sad.  Let others be sad.  Don't judge.  Don't be afraid of sadness.  Embrace and be in awe of the people who are strong enough to feel sadness and express it because they are amazing people who don't fear emotions.