Thursday, April 14, 2011

It’s okay to feel sad

Some days I wake up sad and go to bed sad. It usually starts with something simple that spirals into deep, dark, overwhelming sorrow. This is not the norm for me. I’m not talking about depression or lifelong sadness. I am talking about weepy, emotionally fragile, cry in my coffee, stay in my pajamas all day and feel sorry for myself sadness. Some people would prefer you never to be sad. I am one of those. I HATE to see those I love sad. My husband battled with a heavy heart a few years ago, and it drove me crazy that I could not make him feel better. I took it personally. Sometimes, though, sadness is the only way to feel happiness. If we are truly sad and keep burying those feelings deeper and deeper, we will eventually lose track of them. Yet they will still exist, just waiting to be accidentally discovered at the most inopportune time.

I have found this to be especially true with my children. There are days when one of them will seem out of sorts. They are weepy, sullen and sad. It’s easy to tell them to “get over it,” but that only prolongs the problem. Even though it breaks my heart, I let them be unhappy. We talk about it and, yes, we usually have a good cry. And after a good night’s sleep, they manage to find their joyful spirit again.

So I have realized that, on the days when I am at my lowest, I must embrace my sadness instead of ignoring it. It’s amazing how our cells seem to remember what we try to forget. A smell, a song, a sound or a memory will bring the waves of anguish flooding in. So instead of running up the shoreline, I jump in and get wet. I feel worse for the time being, but once the sadness passes I feel refreshingly lighter.

It’s okay to have a gloomy day of sorrow. So when they come, don’t panic, and warn those around you that you are having a well-deserved “sad day.” Take some time for yourself and face whatever you’re feeling head-on. Cry, wail and weep. Then get a good night’s sleep, and hopefully by the morning you’ll find your joy again.

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