Saturday, May 26, 2012

I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues

“I did not know how to reach him, how to catch up with him... The land of tears is so mysterious.”

~~~~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

We are not allowed to be sad anymore. Sadness is now equated to depression which is equated to a medical condition that somehow must be treated.  Usually with medication.

It used to be okay to be sad. To feel bad about losing something or someone. It was once okay to sit and cry and be alone.  Most of us got over it by doing this. Sometimes it lasted for days, this overwhelming sadness.  But we leaned into our grief and found that it was not so empty, it lifted us back up and we went on.

Not so much anymore. You are not allowed to cry anymore. No one wants to see it, hear it or be around it.  It is like we are somehow supposed to be happy 24/7, and if we are not happy, then at least we should be content.

The problem with that is no one is always happy. And it is a strain to have to pretend. And that strain leads to more sadness, and it goes on and on.

Some people are really truly, clinically depressed.  They may have a chemical imbalance that leads them to medical treatment and psychotherapy.  They get much needed help and many get better.  Some continue to be depressed, but it becomes more manageable.

But the majority of people are not depressed.  They are situationally sad, have the blues, feel "out of sorts."  Medicine may not help these people. They may be sad because a relationship broke up, or someone they loved has died. They may be sad because they are not finding anything that makes them happy, be it a job, a hobby or a friend. Or, they may just be sad for no particular reason that they can place their finger on.

But these people are not depressed.  I am tired of hearing people, who are clearly not depressed, telling me how depressed they are.

"I am so depressed. They just took my favorite show off the air." Really?  Depressed?  How about disappointed or maybe even sad. But not depressed.

We bandy the word depressed around too much.  I think we need to change that.  Too many people are starting to believe they are truly depressed when they are not.  Many, in fact, are taking medication for a problem that does not exist for them. Antidepressants are the number one prescribed medication in this country. And we are not talking about adults only here.  Many children have been misdiagnosed and now have a label of depression attached to them.  That in itself is sad.

Why is it no one is allowed to be sad anymore? When we see someone sad, why do we automatically try to cheer them up?  Why can't we just be present with the sadness? What is it that makes us so uncomfortable around it.

After my mom died and I was standing at her grave after the funeral service and crying, a friend walked up to me and said, "Are you okay?"  I turned to look at her, tears streaming down my face and she looked bewildered.  She said to me, "I guess you are not okay."  Then she didn't know quite what to do, so she said, "Lets find something to cheer you up."  Cheer me up? My mother just died. Why was it not okay for me to be sad?

I think this is what is making people more stressed out, and, interestingly, more sad; this incessant need for us to always show a happy face. It is virtually impossible to be happy all of the time.  It is not natural. It is a curse and and a strain.  We need our sad time.  Our blues. Our melancholy. They are part of who we are. It is okay to stay home and cry once in awhile. Life is hard. We must allow ourselves the ability to own that and weep. Embracing our sadness can be empowering and beneficial to our health. There should be no stigma attached to occasionally having the blues.

Don't wish it away

Don't look at it like it's forever
Between you and me
I could honestly say
That things can only get better

And while I'm away
Dust out the demons inside
And it won't be long
Before you and me run
To the place in our hearts
Where we hide

And I guess that's why
They call it the blues........

“We enjoy warmth because we have been cold. We appreciate light because we have been in darkness.
By the same token, we can experience joy because we have known sadness.”
~~~David Weatherford

“People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.”
~~~Jim Morrison

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
~~~Hunter S. Thompson


  1. Janice: These commenters appear to be spammers. I get them on my site, too. I'd delete them if I were you. They usually try to leave some generic comment about how great your blog is, but they never say anything specific about your post! And they always leave a spammy link for some enterprise that is totally unrelated to the topic.

  2. Thanks, I have deleted them and changed my settings to detect spam!