you know there’s a pill for that?

So I’ve been feeling a little sad lately.
It’s a hard thing to talk about these days because admitting to sadness often seems like such a failure. Clearly I’m doing something wrong if I’m not happy, right? I must not be meeting my professional goals, or be making enough money, or be in the right relationship. Maybe I need a bigger house or plastic surgery or a convertible? At the very least I should keep quiet about it because no one wants to be around someone who’s sad. I should just take a pill and keep smiling.

Even when the sadness has a defined cause, like the death of a loved one or a divorce, there seems to be an accepted amount of time to grieve and then you’re supposed to go right back to “normal”. I have dear friends who are generally sadder and more introspective than most, and society would like to tell them they must medicate, that their natural state is unacceptable. There are countless books and programs on “How to be Happy”, yet I suspect the only people they’re helping is whoever is collecting the money.

I’d like to suggest that “How to be Happy” can often start with recognizing and respecting why you are feeling sad in the first place, and then actually allowing yourself to feel the emotion without guilt.

For me, the sadness usually comes around when I’m feeling stifled and don’t see an outlet for some creative pursuit, or a way to satisfy a need. In the past when I’ve hit this point, I’ve pretty much just tossed everything out the window and moved on to something else, which is really just a messier way of ignoring the problem.

So this time, I’m just going to admit it. Things are not quite right, and I’m not entirely sure how to regain my sense of balance. I’m working on it though. I’m not asking for sympathy or advice for a quick fix. I’m just trying to be open about it, and wishing we could all be a little more tolerant of the uncomfortable emotions, myself included.

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5 thoughts on “you know there’s a pill for that?

  1. *hug*

    Takes a brave woman to buck the pro-pharm trend in regards to being open to/respecting/experiencing emotions.

    I had a therapist tell me one time that we have to experience ALL of the emotions, not just the good ones to be healthy physically and psychologically. For me, I can see how years of pushing down hurts/indignities and suppressing creativity has done a number on my body and my coconut. But we can change that in the now…just like you’re doing, being open about it.

  2. I totally agree. Our culture, in particular, seems to feel that if you’re not doing cartwheels of glee and high-fiving your f’n “teammates” that you need fixin.

    Screw that. Some people, some times, some lives just are this way. I’ve always considered life kind of a long dark journey with brief moments of happiness… some mild and some incandescent and transcendent. That’s just how it goes…

    Sometimes there is no lodestar.

  3. One of the Red, White or Blue movies has a scene in which Juliette Binoche eats an ice cream with espresso on it in a cafe, which makes me think about a commentary made by a French woman about America, that melancholy wasn’t allowed here but people in France will leave you alone to be unsmiling. Not that I, therefore, associate France with melancholy, but if I’m feeling the sort of blue that seems out of context, I would like to mentally change my context to fit. Perhaps I’ll imagine that it is raining outside and I have an espresso. (Cue the accordion music.)

  4. Oh, honey, well expressed and I empathize. The bits of dark sadness in our lives make us appreciate the “up” times that much more. It’s taken me a lifetime just to begin to realize that life doesn’t have to be all glitter and giggles. But it’s difficult not to put a “brave smile” on my public face. I’m still evolving . . .

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