It happens weekly. Clients consult me about sadness, ranging in intensity from fleeting to overwhelming. They say that they are sick, and they tell me they want meds "to take the sadness away..."
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Will someone please tell me how and when sadness, even when it is overwhelming, means you need meds? Will someone please tell me when sadness, even overwhelming sadness, began to be labeled as sickness?
A common sense perspective is long overdue: Life can bring great fulfillment and joy. But life, every life, will also bring pain and sadness: Some we love are ill, and despite great effort, cannot be helped. Some we love die. We may be ill, and the end of life will eventually come to us all... some well before their time. And many, many suffer with poverty, loss of employment, inability to bring medical care to their family, betrayal by "friends," connivance of dishonest colleagues...
The list goes on and on.
Sometimes one we love loyally and deeply, be it friend, partner, or lover -- stops loving us. And life teaches that we can work effectively in many ways, but if one does not love you, there is nothing you can do about it when the door to resolve is slammed shut.
We must remember that we are promised only the pursuit of happiness, along with our life and liberty... for happiness, in reality, if we dare to see what is around us, will always be fleeting.
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Yes, there is happiness at great occasions -- our own, and the ones of those we love and care for. And there is happiness when we finally are able to leave the confines and prisons of tormented relationships. There is also happiness when you or one you care about recover from a serious illness. But happiness will ever be fleeting, for life itself will always bring sadness; and despite what we tell children about "happily ever after," before they are ready to face harsh realities -- there is no such thing.
Please, please: Do not view these words as downers. They are said to dispel expectations that are pure myth. They are shared so that none miss the joy that is right here for the asking: build life and love with those who can be trusted; teach your children the importance of respect for others and hard, hard work; know the importance of your own self respect when faced with those who cannot be trusted -- and allow no one to rob you of your dignity... I
n other words, claim your well earned and deserved joy, including well prepared meals shared with others, and enjoyed alone as well, and the ocean and the sunset... and art in every form... For once again, the list goes on and on...
And, if you are sad, do find a friend, a loved one to talk to -- and it is never unwise to consult a professional. Yes, if you are too depressed to function, and you are thinking self destructive thoughts, medication can be the answer.
But a far wiser first step is to talk about it with a few you trust, and cry with them. Write about it, cherishing your words and the tears you shed. Embrace your sadness; it is a love letter to life. It is a sign of humanity.