Friday, 25 July 2014

It's OK to feel sad


This post is a bit different from my usual posts, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for quite a while. I guess I’m writing this to convince myself more than anything, but also to reassure you that feelings of sadness are OK.

Image from Weheartit


Do you ever get those days when you just feel sad? Life might be plodding on OK. Maybe you’re in a great relationship, you’ve got a fantastic job or a brilliant group of friends – everything outwardly seems great. But, for some unknown reason, you just feel sad. I often get this and sometimes I can understand it. I get sad about my health and about not being able to do all the things I want my body to be able to do. But other times, even when I tell myself I’m happy, I get days when I really struggle.

I often beat myself up for feeling sad. After all, compared to a lot of people I’ve got so much to be happy about. I’ve got a great family, some really supportive friends and am able to get out of the house, even just into the garden, most days. I know that I’m lucky, and this is when I beat myself up. I shouldn’t be feeling sad. I should be grateful for what I have and what I can do. But I’m now beginning to accept that everyone feels sad sometimes and you don’t have to have a reason. Sometimes it’s OK to just feel sad. You don’t need to have a reason. Life could be going great. Feeling sad is completely normal so don’t be too hard on yourself.

Image from Weheartit


So, when you’re feeling sad, what can you do to help yourself? Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, you can accept the feelings of sadness. Own them and tell yourself it’s OK for you to feel them. Don’t spend your time searching for reasons not to feel sad because you’ll only beat yourself up with these reasons. Just accept that right at this moment you don’t feel 100% and that that’s OK. I guess this is a bit like mindfulness, living in the here and now rather than thinking back to the past or looking too much into the future. I find this approach really helps me when I’m struggling. Accepting how I feel means I’m no longer fighting with myself to feel something else. I’m by no means advocating wallowing – that’s not very healthy. But there’s a big difference between wallowing and accepting the way things are.

If there’s something specific that’s making you feel sad then address it. You may not be able to change it, but you can look at the situation and perhaps look at different ways to deal with it. For example, I often feel sad thinking of people I’ve lost in my life, which is, of course, incredibly normal. Everyone grieves differently, so you need to do what is best for you, but again this comes back to acceptance. Accept that this person has gone and that makes you sad. Tell yourself this is completely normal, but that it’s also OK for you to not feel sad all the time. Feeling happy doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten about them. Going out and enjoying yourself doesn’t mean you no longer care. They would want you to get on with your life and as soon as you can accept that you are allowed to move on with your life things will become easier. I’m not saying the hurt will ever go away, because in reality it won’t. But, over time, you will learn to deal with that sadness.

This can apply to any situation – not only the biggies like losing someone close, but any situation that brings about negative feelings – not getting a job you’ve applied to, breaking up with your boyfriend, having an argument with someone you love – anything that makes you get that sinking feeling deep in your stomach. I’ve found the more I over-analyse a situation, the worse I feel. Whereas if I just say to myself ‘OK, so this situation has made me feel sad, but that’s OK and I can cope with that’ then I can learn to live with this feeling and move on with my life.

Image from Weheartit


If you’re a friend of someone who is feeling sad, then please don’t say anything to them about how they have nothing to feel sad about. Chances are they’re already beating themselves up about that very fact, so hearing it from you isn’t going to help. Instead, why not acknowledge that they feel sad and tell them that it’s OK for them to feel like that. You can then focus on working through that feeling and finding ways to deal with it.

Obviously if you are feeling sad all the time then you might need to have a chat with your doctor. Sadness is a big part of depression and there are various treatment methods that can help. But they’re not going to completely take away that sadness all the time. This is where I really struggle. I’ve suffered with depression for many years, and for a long time my goal was that I would never feel sad or down. I related these feelings solely to my depression, so told myself that to be free of depression I must not feel these things any more. But that’s not how life goes. Everyone feels sad sometimes. It doesn’t mean they have depression though – it’s a normal part of every day life. So, if you struggle with depression, try not to put pressure on yourself to be happy all the time because it’s not a realistic goal. Life is about feeling a whole range of emotions, both negative and positive. It’s about learning to deal with those difficult feelings, accept them as part of you and know it’s OK to feel the way you do.

Image from Weheartit


I’m by no means saying I’m an expert on any of this. It’s mainly just what I’ve learnt through my own personal experiences of depression and life, and I wanted to share my thoughts with you. I hope this has helped to reassure you about your feelings and put you more at ease when dealing with these feelings.

How do you deal with sadness? Do you beat yourself up for feeling sad or have you learnt to accept it as just another emotion?


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6 comments:

  1. I love this Jenny. Beautifully written and very honest. I like you beat myself up and you are right in that we shouldn't but also when others tell you 'you should be happy' and 'you've got nothing to be sad or down about' makes in ten times worse. My family, especially my Dad is like that, happy go lucky type of man. When I feel like this I try to tell myself it's ok and it will pass, but it never easy, is it?

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    1. Thank you Zoe I hope it's helped reading that someone else feels like this too xx

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  2. Thanks for sharing this post Jenny. This week I've been feeling a bit sad/ frustrated with myself. I haven't been having a good week with my me/cfs. It's hard sometimes as there are a lot of ups and downs! But I just try and think about how well I've been going and how I was a year ago and that cheers me up a bit. Each day I am able to get up and get outside into the backyard with the sunshine! :)

    Lennae xxx
    www.lennae87.wordpress.com

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    1. That's OK Leanne I'm glad you've found it helpful. I'm sorry to hear you've been feeling sad and frustrated but it's good to hear you're able to see the good side of things too :) xx

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  3. Reading this is like being inside my own head, I often feel bad because outwardly things look good. I beat myself up for the fact I should feel great all the time as I know I'm lucky, but I can't help the way I feel. It's been especially difficult the last month or so because on top of everything else, I'm now trying to find out what's wrong with my tummy, so a new journey is starting and it's just as hard as the others, I feel like I live at the Doctor's at the moment. Thank you for this post, I've been trying to focus on the positives more and understand that sometimes it will get to me, this whole journey is hard and exhausting, but it's OK if I feel a bit sad, I just have to try and not let the dark cloud consume me otherwise I'll sink into depression again. I too, have suffered on and off for years, it's just awful, people who don't suffer tend to not really get it and they think we should just cheer ourselves up, but it just isn't like that. I'm glad that you're posting about your journey as it helps other people know they're not alone.

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comment Annie - I'm sorry to hear you're having such a difficult time at the moment, but am glad reading this has helped you to feel less alone. I also struggle with tummy issues so can sympathise with what you are going through. I hope you get some answers soon xx

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