Monday, 17 December 2012

What's so bad about sad?

Call me crazy, but it seems to me that society today is moving towards a state where being sad for any reason aside from an obvious personal tragedy is unacceptable. Especially as someone who is diagnosed bipolar, if I randomly say "I'm sad", people immediately respond with "are you off your meds?"

No, I'm not. I'm just sad.

The recent tragedy in Connecticut is a very potent example of how the world and human society can sometimes be a sad place to be. Sometimes, its okay to put your finger on the pulse of that inherent sadness in human existence, and just feel sad.  Just like its okay to put your finger on the pulse of the joys of human life and just be happy, too.

Feeling sad . .. even feeling sad for no direct personal reason. . .isn't a problem. Like all things, it is only a problem when it is taken in excess. Sadness is only a problem when you let it overwhelm you and spend weeks in bed with the curtains shut and the doors locked and your phone off bawling your eyes out (although no one would grudge those who have experienced a true personal tragedy the right to do so). Sad is only bad when you let it paralyze you in the long term. Even being paralyzed by it for a short period of time isn't a bad thing. Its okay to spend a few days now and then feeling down in the dumps.

I guess what I'm saying is, there is no shame in occasionally feeling things on the negative end of the emotional spectrum. Our capacity to feel so much, so intensely, is part of what makes us human. If we were to sacrifice that, we would sacrifice a great deal of what makes us ourselves.

Everyone is working so hard to live a happy, perfect life. But that just isn't possible. Better to aim to live a full life, that takes the good with the bad, and appreciates both.

So go ahead. . .feel sad. Some terribly sad things have happened in the world here recently, and its okay to break down for a moment, have your own cry. It doesn't make you weaker, and it doesn't mean you are wallowing in melancholia. It means you are human.

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