Is sadness the new happiness?
“Hello old friend, we meet again. Your dark essence I can see now, don’t stay too long. Let’s keep it a short visit this time”. Every day seems fine until melancholy kicks in. You start thinking, humming Lana’s tune “feet don’t fail me now, take me to the finish line”. This feeling does not seem to be an abstract idea; on the contrary you are drowned inside its flood. The flood swells at its own pace. It doesn’t leave you alone until it chooses to do so. That’s very reassuring you think sarcastically, it already been a millennium since you’ve felt joy. Your “face seems slowly sinking, wasting crumbling like pastries”. Some of you might be already acquainted with the extreme state of sadness. Feeling helpless you succumb to this emotion. This feeling seems to be a devious one, it grabs your thoughts to only bend and warp them, transforming them to dark creatures. Your perception is now fogged and plagued with negativity, a cloud filled with sadness is pouring endlessly over your mind. When will a rainbow appear from within these bitter clouds? –You ponder desperately. When will the thieves of joy give you back what is rightfully yours? You are unable to reach your desires and dreams. You have become the lone mockingbird who had lost his song. You are in conflict with yourself, the battle with your mind is one of the hardest that you will face as you are up against your own fears and insecurities. At that point, you feel lost and unaware of how to act until you surpass this test.
Each of us has a metaphorical cross strapped to his/her back, this cross represents issues that might stop you from moving forward, if you let it that must be carried throughout life. The cross may be your financial situation, physical or mental health, and even an abusive parent amongst other situations. It is how you deal with your cross that matters, how heavy it is is irrelevant. Your negative outlook on life will cloud your judgment and make you blind to the ways you can make your cross lighter; when you are positive you are more likely to find solutions to go around obstacles (represented by the cross) to reach your goals and aspirations. Sadly, we tend to surrender to our minds instead of controlling them; you become consumed by thoughts that dig you deeper into a void limiting you from moving forward. Although sadness is not a feeling that we enjoy, it’s also a feeling that shouldn’t be ignored either. You cannot convince yourself of your “happiness” when deep down you’re immersed with melancholy. I say this out of experience; instead of accepting sadness I took on too many obligations and hobbies in an attempt of masking sadness. Many of us do this as a defense mechanism to avoid the taboo emotion of sadness. In my story I ended up having a full-blown emotional breakdown induced by insomnia, panic attacks, low appetite and the nasty habit of smoking. At that point my mind was gone I was spinning into a hysterical existence, I felt like I was living in a different world than the world lived in by the people around me. Some of my senses were heightened, such as my hearing, making any noise irritating. My other senses were numbed by fatigue, pain and denial.
You might not know other ways of dealing with unhappiness, other than through denying and ignoring it.
There are better ways of dealing with such a challenging emotion. It is very hard to try this in the beginning but eventually it’s worth trying as it usually works in the end. You must surrender in a way to this emotion (not completely though), become submerged; let every cell of your body feel it. Accept it, befriend it. These are the keys to living with sadness, and you will, even if only subliminally. And if you have heard of song “Someone like you”, a ballad singer Adele wrote about a botched love affair, which she performed at the Brit Awards, making everyone (including herself) cry, you’d know that accepting our-not-so intriguing emotions is in fact part of a person’s emotion cycle, and strangely, much needed. But, does Adele ever feel exposed up there, belting her heart out? “But that’s the way I’ve always done it. I don’t know any different. So it’s really normal for me.” Adele tells UK Vogue. However, I tried my own advice, and it has succeeded, even though I was in a lot of denial in the beginning, not to mention being extremely impatient. Most of us decide to hide or ignore our sadness for mainly one reason: what other people might think or tell us.
“If one doesn’t feel pain then the outcome is pointless, we must feel pain in order to admire its absence… When you are happy there is nothing substantial to write about, yet, when you are angry or sad many of your heightened emotions flow out of you, as sadness and anger are stronger emotions than happiness or contentment.”
People around you start analyzing your situation; they break down your dilemmas into small simple pieces. Think of a puzzle, before you assemble it, the pieces seem irrelevant and well, small. Yet, when the puzzle is created, a larger picture emerges, that is when you can realize how each small piece contributes to that piece of art. When all the small issues that secretly and quietly bother you come together you feel that sadness and helplessness take over. Basically, people looking into your life might belittle your issues making you feel that your emotions shouldn’t be validated. As Amy Winehouse says, “in this blue shade, my tears dry on their own”. You should come to realize that no one can really walk in your shoes, each has his/her own set of experiences. These experiences shape up your personality that is partially your attitude that affects your reactions and perception to events and incidents. Never feel inadequate and most importantly do not belittle your feelings. If you discard your feelings you will not be able to fix your problem/s, as the first step to recovery is acknowledging that you have a problem. Sadness must be given your full attention before it leaves, you must acknowledge its presence. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustave Jung says that “the word happiness would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness”. If one doesn’t feel pain then the outcome is pointless, we must feel pain in order to admire its absence.