I am sad and stressed.
“No, you’re just not grateful enough.”
“No, you’re too young/old to say this”.
“No, you were happy the other day. It doesn’t just come and go”
The problem with mental health stigmatisation today, is that often you will be brutally judged based upon where your life stands. “You’re too blessed to be sad over anything at all”. As people see it, since you have a loving family, a circle of friends, and the perfect life, you have absolutely no right to feel this way whatsoever.
I often question this entire dilemma. Why is it so demanding to understand a simple fact: we all have the down days. You don’t have to be medically diagnosed with depression or anxiety to have your down days validated. You don’t have to miss out on all your meals for 30 days. Sometimes, you can be singing to your favorite song with your sister at 6pm and lie down the next moment because your head feels too heavy. You can be making your morning coffee and suddenly get a hunch to crouch in a corner for a while. You can be laughing with your friends and want to leave out of the blue the following moment. You can be chasing your dreams one day, and spend the next two sleeping away your anxiety attacks. Your down days don’t have to be dramatic like the ones in movies. Your down days can be as simple as zoning out of life for a few days, and they would still matter as much as if it was any other way.
Why has it become an established fact that talking about sadness is ought to be an uncomfortable topic? Why have we dramatized the entire concept of being sad? Why does it have to be black roses and poetic chalk scribbles on your wall? Why can’t it be as simple as forgetting to wear your favorite socks to school because the stress overwhelmed you that morning?
How often do we even allow ourselves to be sad? The minute sadness comes bubbling up at our door we run for the escapes, we run until we’re numb. We’re never ready to accept it in its raw shape because we’re afraid. We’re afraid to feel the depth of the emotions and ride them out. We’d rather stifle and silence our emotions than let it come, and settle in.
Unknowingly, we’ve imposed invisible timelines upon ourselves.
Your grandfather passed away 5 years back. It was a monday morning when the sky was the color of a pink velvet ribbon falling over the city. Today in art class, you were asked to paint about sunset you’d never forget .It broke your heart, but your couldn’t cry when you picked up the palette and brush because “Its been 5 years. It’s all in the past”.
Walking down street 14 today reminded you of your grade 7 best friend. Your cycle was a faded pink with two lilies hanging down the front basket, while hers was a warm yellow- a blue bell neatly tucked near her hand. Distance crept in and you don’t remember the last time you both laughed over the phone. The sky still looks the same, but you can’t cry because” It’s been ages.Aren’t you over it now?”.
Sadness doesn’t always come furiously breaking doors. At times it silently creeps in when you’re playing basketball and the thought of your failed exam makes you throw up. It might just be the 3 hours you spent crying because remembering all your losses made you nauseous. It’s not always dreary existential crisis, but might be as simple as missing out on your favorite cake because the emotions weighed you down.
If you’re not okay, that’s okay too. Give yourself permission to just feel. Maybe the next time sadness comes knocking at our door, we don’t have to run down the hill. Maybe this time, we can just invite it in, allow it to sit tight for a second and breathe.