I’m not a sad person, generally.
But I have been. For months I have been a kind of sad that pales all other sads I have ever experienced.
Officially, it is depression. I have a therapist who says so. She makes me take a little quiz at my sessions about it. My depression score is getting lower. That is a good thing.
Having been raised in the tradition that holds depression as a character flaw, a weakness, a lack of faith, it is not easy to confess my sadness. Or even to call it depression.
Which is bollocks. Really.
But bollocks that is entrenched in my imperfect mammal brain, and one of the many erroneous beliefs about myself and the world around me that I have been slowly unpacking these past few years.
I have learned some things during The Sad (TM). Some really, like, groovy things. Some things that, approaching the other side of The Sad, I can be thankful for.
Here is an incomplete list:
- I learned to make space for my emotions. I have been so miserable and so desperate to figure out why, and so angry and railing against my inability to figure it all out, I realized I was wasting energy and started to practice mindfulness about my emotions. Like, whenever they surfaced, I had a chat with them. I asked them what they were about. I tried to trace their impetuses, I found my inner child who feels so ignored and trounced. Whenever I can look at and name these feelings, I can also talk about them in a way that has always felt frustrating and impossible in the past.
- I learned that owning sadness is strong. Sadness is not a character flaw or a weakness. To confess to sadness and begin to sort through it requires thigh muscles of titanium, because The Sad is fucking heavy, like water. And it’s working hard to keep you down. And you lose all your natural buoyancy, and sometimes it is really tempting to just give up and breathe in The Sad you’re under till it literally kills you.
- The Sad helped me unpack some important, pivotal, revelatory stuff about myself: I’d lost sight of my goals. I’d made so many employment and work decisions out of desperation that I forgot what I really *want* to do with my life. I forgot that I still have access to pursuing that goal. I forgot that failing once does not mean failing forever. I forgot about the opportunity in failure.
- The Sad helped me to realize that my intuition is powerful and I should listen to it. Whenever my lady nuts tell me something, I ought to listen.
- The Sad helped me to rediscover my spiritual self, and to learn to practice a spirituality on my own terms, that is non-judgemental, and that does not come with a specific special book full of ancient stories that are up for (mis)interpretation, or that have been hijacked by the patriarchy.
I’m glad to be feeling more like myself lately, to begin to shake The Sad. But I am grateful for this season, despite its vast unpleasantness.