How to survive being (truly) Sad

How to survive being (truly) Sad

No one ever talks about how to be sad. Usually, people talk about how to go around sadness. I'm here to talk about how to survive going through it.

Right now, people I care about are going through some big stuff. I know people who are inching their way through unfathomable grief. More than one friend has just been blindsided by a most wicked fork in the road. One friend is being maliciously bullied by an ex.

I have my own revolving door of spiritual dogfights, some of them demanding full battle attire. You know the kind: those sharp cornered boomerangs that keep Trojan Horsing themselves into your life....scorpions crawling out of your damn ice cream….

And pooling in the bottom of these hearts is Sadness.

I am not speaking of the kind of sadness that you forget about by the end of a long commute. Nor am I speaking of the kind that a good ugly-cry can purge.

I’m speaking about Soul Sadness.

I want to offer you some thoughts and ideas about how to move through Soul Sadness. I want to make suggestions that go beyond the well-worn path of “spa days” and “gratitude lists.” Those are certainly good ideas, but are not always helpful on those days you can’t even get up from the couch. So …

  • Separate the sad from the mad. In my experience, anger and rage are what pin the sadness to the wall, rendering it unable to squirm free. If sadness was a drug, anger would be the artificial filler that cheapens/dilutes it to make the stash last longer.  Peel away the anger, then put it into a separate space.  Save it for later. It's probably not going anywhere. (If you find yourself having trouble finding where one ends and the other begins, the anger/rage is usually in close proximity to any “blame”  associated with the issue/s tied to that stake. Remove the blame, and the anger scurries like bugs out from under a rock.)
  • Allow yourself the purity of the grief that stands in the center of it all.  And if you care to take this leap with me - sometimes pure Soul Sadness can feel almost transcendental. Yep. It can feel  almost trippy in its ability to break down established patterns of sight and sound.
  •  Let someone know where you are, emotionally. During intense periods of Soul Sadness, the space between you and the world can get pretty thick and echoey and quiet. Throw out a flare. Make sure someone knows where you are. I keep the Sadness pretty close to my chest, but reach out to one or two people just so I don’t start fooling myself into thinking I’m invisible.
  • Breathe into the eternity of it all. Yah, yah, yah..everyone tells you to breathe. But so what? No one ever truly forgets to breathe. Come on…  So I say: Do more. Empower the exhalation with intent.  Move the grief forward though time and space on the air of your exhalation.  Visualize it. With each exhalation, inch your sadness a few more seconds into an eternity that will outlive your current darkness, and mightily so.
  •  Decide what you truly believe about Life/God/Truth. Now is not the time to adhere to something you don’t truly believe in your heart of hearts. It’s time to get real about what makes sense to you. What is it that clicks something into place in your chest when you hear it? ‘Cause I've got news for you: whatever you believe - works. There’s a magical substance between moments that takes the shape of your cries for order, and delivers. You secretly and totally believe in voodoo? Work it, brother.  You believe that Christ died for your sins? He absolutely did!  You’ve known since you were ten that you are a witch? Cast your spell, sister. Whatever it takes.

Ask the hard questions of yourself.  Seek. Find.  Here’s a secret: You probably already know what you truly believe. It might have been too scary to admit before now. Don’t worry. You don’t have to fly it up a flagpole. Just jostle it out of the rafters. Shake it out of the breeze. Air it out. Roll around in it.  If you are truly experiencing Soul Sadness, you are going to need some sort of Momentum to grab ahold of, friend.  I’m the closest to That Which Might Be in my windows of Soul Sadness. It’s a very intimate time.

  • Find quotes on Goodreads about what you are feeling.  No. I’m not being silly. Not today.  Not about this.  People have been where you are. Messages in bottles and books have been launched from your exact emotional coordinates, and the words of the castaways have been sorted and catalogued on Bottom of the page: “Quotes.” Life’s assaults, when expressed by strangers doing their very best to be clear  - just –wow.

Reading those quotes is like opening the window from inside a dark, stale room. A trickle of air hums the room a few degrees cooler.  The sparse cut of sunlight across the back wall changes the whole ambience of the room. It is more refreshing than it should be to recognize that we are not especially unique in our current experience. It is just our turn to carry the torch of

“betrayal”... “grief”....“loneliness”....“solitude”

.... “despair”....“sadness”


or …


Logially speaking, it seems it would be just the opposite, right? Like the piling on of "more" would make it all too heavy to bear. But connecting with the signal emitted by those who have gone before us can be a lifeline to a sparkley hope:

Oh. It’s just my turn, is all. It’s just my turn to experience _______.

  •  Stay open to the possibility of meds.  Look, this ain’t a race. No one wins when they prove themselves to be the “best and strongest” at bearing Sadness. Afraid? Set a time period. Give yourself a deadline.  One month. Six weeks. We’ll see how it goes. We’ll reassess.

It’s not for everyone, and I’m certainly not pushing the idea onto anyone. It kind of comes down to the above suggestion about deciding what you truly believe.  At the end of the day, I am the only person who truly knows what is best for me, and same goes for you. I am just prying open a trap door in the floor just a crack for those who might have had the room shut and padlocked by someone else, without ever being given the chance to decide for themselves.

That's my piece, and that's my peace.  I will leave you with a quote from Goodreads…

“Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.” -- Kahlil Gibran

(See what I mean?)


Thank you for taking the time to read this. It means the world. Carry on..

Old Single Mom
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