Everyone gets sad at some point in their lives. Be it in between the day, or week, or month, or year, we all feel it. I get sad too, and often, my bouts of sadness last for a week or two, and it is a terrible feeling. My sadness is never uninvited, it is often caused by an extremely bad day which works as a secret key to unlock the locked door in me that has stored the ‘worst days of my life’. And once the contents stored behind this locked door start pouring out, they plague me with negativity, lethargy and sadness. It is almost like a Patronus Charm is casted on me, and instead of the feelings of happiness and clarity, the cloud is filled with a kind of sadness that is almost suffocating. And then, as days pass, the cloud starts to fade and I begin to feel alright again. I begin to feel good. I begin to feel happy. During my sad-days, I tend to close up. I avoid most things, and focus myself on only one thing, or one routine – get out of bed, eat, sit, eat, sit, eat, sit, and then jump back into bed again. Sadness is sickening, but it doesn’t have to win. Here is my personal take on overcoming sadness, which I have practiced for around three years now. And although the forces of sadness still linger inside me, having the ability to battle with this force leaves me hopeful, and with the constant reminder to try a little harder each day.
1. Express how you feel – unapologetically and honestly. – Are you angry or upset about something? Express it – either by writing about, talking about it, drawing about it. Just don’t let that negativity grow inside you, because it will feed on your happiness, and one day you will explode (trust me, I know). I often tend to write about how I am feeling – I used to keep a journal and I would express EVERYTHING – even if it was about the amount of anger I felt at the treatment of women in India. I wrote, I expressed. I also talked about some stuff to my close friends and family, but all the stuff I was hesitant about, I wrote, and wrote recklessly. I spelled out my negativity with poorly constructed sentences and disorganised paragraphs – but I expressed openly.
2. Talk to someone. – You must be wondering what the difference between point one and this one is, well, when I say talk to someone, I mean get professional help. I know seeking counselling or therapy is often frowned upon and is so often considered shameful. But, sweep all that shame that society has constructed aside, and talk to someone that understands the complexities of the human mind. Just keep in mind that in this large picture that is life, what matters more than what society thinks, is how you feel. I was in counselling for about a month, that’s it, one month made a massive difference to my life and I was back on track. Trust me, it is helpful.
3. Evaluate and the re-evaluate. – Right, you’re probably thinking, ‘how the F, or what the F’. Well, think about everything in your life. Think about how far you have come, and how far you still have to go. Think about what you want. Think about what you have to do to get there, and make that your focus. Work towards that. For me, I always ALWAYS wanted to be a Journalist, so when I was in Uni and was having one of those what-the-heck-is-the-point-of-this-life days, I remember sitting in my room and thinking about this dream of being a Journalist. I sat there and thought and thought about how I would get there, and how I would need to take control of my life and just set some focus. I evaluated most of my life decisions, then I re-evaluated them, then I decided to use those experiences to help me build myself up, to build my future. And yes, I do fall sometimes, I do wonder what the point is, but I am trying to stay focused and I am trying. Trying and not giving up. And remember, when terrible things happen, you are going to come out of it SO much stronger. Really.
4. Do not compare your journey to someone else’s. – This, my dear readers, is a recipe for disaster. We are all at different walks in life, and we all walk at a different pace. Remember, this is not a race, you do not have to achieve everything all at once – go one step at a time, go at your speed. And you have to remember that people are going to discourage you, they are going to look at you and snicker, because they think you are stupid or foolish. BUT, you have to remember that you know your struggle. You know how far you have come. You know what you are aiming at. This is your journey, you are the driver, and the pace you want to go at is your choice. Me, personally I feel that I haven’t achieved what I intended to, but I am on the way to achieving it, and it keeps me going. And when I find myself comparing my life to others, I just fight off the feeling and remind my self that this is MY journey, I am not THEM, I don’t have the SAME skill or privilege as them, but I have my OWN skill. And most importantly, that this is NOT a race. And that it doesn’t matter how slow we go, as long as we get there in the end.
5. Remember. – I want you to remember a few things. You are not alone. Your friends love you. Your family loves you. You are important, you are special, you matter, and you can do this. I may or may not know you, but I believe in you. And I want you to believe in yourself enough to understand that you can do this. When I was 16 years old, I had a teacher who said these simple words to me: I believe in you, Meera. That’s it. That was all it took. And in times of utter misery, I remember those words. I remember her encouraging smile and her undying support. And I soldier on. I remember all the people that have told me they love me and how awesome they think I am. And I want you to remember, you are special and you got this.
6. Self-belief, self-acceptance and self-love. Lastly, please understand that you have to believe you are strong enough to achieve your goals. You have to believe in yourself. You have to love yourself. We live in a world that judges people on their race, religion, sexuality, gender and social status. And you have to accept yourself first, love yourself first, and believe in yourself enough to fight for yourself – to achieve what you want to achieve. Growing up, I always had a sort of identity-crisis, where I didn’t want to identify with who I was and I always wanted to be something/someone else. And until I started to accept myself for who I was, my identity-crisis was eating me up from the inside and I had zero levels of confidence. I am not fully there yet, but I am trying. There are parts of me that I know won’t be accepted – have I made my peace with this? Yes and no, but I am working on it. Another thing, I am a woman, and I hated it before, I hated being the inferior gender. But I accepted myself, I fell in love with being a woman, and now I would never want to be anything but a woman. WE are strong, we are capable and we are simply amazing. And lastly, I am a brown person (Indian descent)…oh and trust me, when I was a kid I wanted to be white. Why? Well, it is such a cool race. Everyone loves white people. No one makes fun of their culture. No one looks down on them. White, white is cool. White is beautiful. White is number one in everything. This feeling stopped only recently. Trust me. Only when I believed that being brown is no less than any other race. (Kinda going off topic here). But my point is, you have to FULLY believe, love and accept yourself so that you can battle our messed up world.
I am not saying I am fully recovered from any feelings of sadness, but I am fighting and the points above are my strongest weapons. Another one of strong weapons are books and t.v. shows, they keep me sane, really. My friends, my family, all my loved ones as well. I guess I dedicate this post to anyone and anything that has helped me become a stronger person.
(This once again is more of a personal view on the topic, I am not a professional on mental health, but this is my way of dealing with my mental health when it is close to reaching rock-bottom. If you are feeling seriously sad, please consider getting help. There are many helplines, etc, available all over the country that you live in. Click on this link to find all the crisis centres/helplines. There are tons and tons of people that will be lost without you, please remember that. You are so important. You are so loved. I once read that things will get better and people have to be alive to see it. Think it was an Ellen DeGeneres quote, and I second that, listen to Ellen, everybody.)
This may be my most emotional post on here, but it is important.
I love you guys, thanks for reading my work.