We all get sad. You are not alone.

 

I get sad because I feel like I’m not far enough along in my career, I get sad because I feel like a failure, I get sad because I feel like there is nothing on the horizon, I get sad because I miss people and the world feels like it is marching on without me. I set impossibly high goals for myself, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and when I don’t reach them, when I stumble over the hurdles that life inevitably throws your way, sometimes I just feel like lying down on the track and never getting up.

Even in the good times, when everything is coming up Milhouse

everythings-coming-up-milhouse-memes

there is a part of my brain that has eyes on a swivel, knowing, just KNOWING that the sadness must be creeping in around here somewhere.

image

When you’re on the lookout for something like sadness, you can’t fully relax, and if you do get sad, you think: “I KNEW IT!” and then you fall down your hole, and you have to pull yourself out of it again. Thinking as you are climbing out “well at least I don’t have depression.”

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-11-11-36-am

I read a book recently by a blogger named Allie Brosh, which made me laugh so hysterically late at night that my over-tired and cranky boyfriend threatened to smother me with a pillow.

Among the gut-busting stories of childhood, Allie wrote about her depression, and her story and illustrations really resonated with me:

What was refreshing about Allie’s writing about depression was how honest and painful and unending she made it seem. She really described how she felt numb and couldn’t explain to the rest of the world around her how she felt. She couldn’t “look on the bright side.”

I know that most of the people around me have battled sadness or depression in some form. It could be a sadness connected to an event, a loss. It could be a general malaise around your life because you know deep down that you are not happy, not as happy as you COULD BE. But it doesn’t seem like a topic we all embrace, its hard to talk about. We all ask each other “How are you/things?” and the only acceptable answers are “good/okay, how are you?” we deflect. It’s a social response, no one wants to say:

Mate, I’m fucking miserable. I’m in a dark place and I don’t know how to get out of this headspace. I don’t even like being around myself right now.

We are all so busy Social Media editing our lives to look as amazing as possible. No one wants to be the person admitting to anything other than the amazing lives we have built up all around us.

My two go-to emotional breakdown moves are crying gently in the bath-shower, just a wet enclosed egg of emotion where I feel safe

djioodzmfmxvquw1e6fr

and losing my shit fully, just flat out BAWLING on my bed, intercut with periods of staring at nothing but the wet spot my face made. Is it tears? Is it drool? Is it snot? Or a magical combination of the three?

Both of these tearful situations get old pretty quickly, and as someone with a short attention span, even as I’m losing it, I start to formulate plans on how to change things IMMEDIATELY. I’LL RUN A FUCKING MARATHON AND LOSE FORTY POUNDS! I’ll sign up to do an MBA online. WE’LL DO OUR TEACHING ENGLISH CERTIFICATES ONLINE AND OPEN AN ORPHANAGE IN BOLIVIA. I’ll adopt a cat/get a tattoo/shave my head/ climb a mountain. BUT FIRST I’LL GET OUT OF THE SHOWER! YES! GO ME! 

Am I manic? Maybe. I’ve never learnt how to do or enjoy things in moderation AND I have a fight response to sadness. I’m too afraid to let the perma-sads set in. Perhaps this is why I have never actually hit rock bottom… I’m too afraid of what might be down there in the quagmire. The adrenalin kicks in.

How exhausting for the people around me, this is a process that happens twice a year if I’m busy, maybe once a month if I’m not.

Maybe there are others who suffer from this once a decade, or maybe it hits them once a day. Whenever it hits, sadness sucks.

I know I’m not alone because I’ve seen it. I think the most important thing is to be honest with each other about how we feel. Because the WORST part of the sadness is feeling isolated, like you’re the one big dummy who doesn’t get how to live life as a happy functional adult.

There are many resources out there if the Big Black Dog gets a little too Big:
Canada
Australia
Hong Kong
USA
UK