This article first published in The Mead, June 2019
When it comes to sadness, there are two lies we often believe:
Lie 1: We should be happy all the time
Lie 2: We shouldn’t ask for help just for being sad
The reality is, we all get sad. Feeling down is a normal part of human life. When we lose someone or something we love then we feel sad. Whether it’s a person, a relationship, a job or a pet, sadness is a healthy and normal reaction to loss.
Feeling miserable can also be like the warning light on a car dashboard, letting us know there is a problem we need to do something about. Our emotions are connected to our physical bodies, so when we don’t exercise, we eat badly, we are tired or have hormonal changes, we may feel low. We can also feel sad when we don’t have a good work /life balance, or face problems like debts. At these times, our mood is a sign that something in our life isn’t working for us, and we need to make a change.
So sadness comes for lots of reasons. Feeling sad is unpleasant, and we often try to ignore it, escape it, or push it away. Some of the ways we do this (like isolating ourselves, drinking too much or eating junk food) can end up making us feel worse.
In addition, we can also feel ashamed of being so miserable. We don’t tell people when we feel like this because we think ‘I ought to man up’ or ‘other people have enough problems of their own’ or we worry people will judge us.
But the truth is that asking for help is as normal as feeling sad. We all need support at different times and in different ways. When something is wrong with our life and we feel sad then it’s healthy and good to share this with other people. There are lots of people we can tell – for example:
people we trust in our community like church leaders,
local mental health services,
charities and help lines.
So instead of the normal lies, let’s start telling ourselves and others the truth about sadness. The fact is
It’s ok to not be ok, and it’s ok to talk about it.
If you want to talk to someone you can call the Samaritans free on 116 123.