Monday, May 5, 2008

Sadness vs. Depression

I just read Chandra Alexander's post on whether a person is sad or depressed. After surviving for several years in the numbed state that antidepressants put me into, her motto "to heal is to feel" makes a lot of sense to me. It is natural to feel sad sometimes, and accepting sadness as a normal, healthy emotion is important.

I'm not sure that I agree with Chandra that depression results from not dealing with sadness. Maybe it is the phasing, but she makes it sound as if depression is a choice or personal failure. I've been pretty much as low as someone can go. I don't know that I would be alive today without medication. When depression hits, it can be so debilitating that dealing with one's malaise on one's own isn't a viable option.

That being said, I think Chandra is correct that there is a lot of power in dealing with one's emotions and accepting that sadness is a normal part of life. As someone who has been on antidepressants long term, I am embracing the ability to feel again. Even "unpleasant" emotions such as sadness and anger are amazing to feel. I can't believe how alive I feel as emotion over emotion washes over me.

Accepting one's emotions and allowing oneself to feel them fully, yet not allowing them to spiral out of control is a fine line to walk. Sadness is often an appropriate emotion. Allowing oneself to accept sad feelings as a normal part of life is important for maintaining emotional balance.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Very true. I found it hard to accept bad emotions years ago. I found great solace in a book written by Scott Peck entitled "The Road Less Traveled". He put it simply: "Once we understand, truly understand, that life is difficult; Life becomes easy". We need to Truly understand the complexities of life, the ups and the downs, and expect them. Then we can be happy because we know what to expect. If that makes sense! haha. I"m no Scott Peck! Read his book.