Sadness Is Not a Strong Enough Word

I have been so painfully sad today. 

I have done everything I had committed to do, practising ultimate Opposite Action and Mindfulness all day, and yet the sadness will not budge. I am so very full of sadness. 

I did not try to push it away. I did not let it dictate my day. But it has been there consistently and intensely. I keep thinking I have reached my peak level of sadness, but then it just hits harder. It is not a mere 5 on the scale – it is infinite. 

I am trying not to drown.


4 thoughts on “Sadness Is Not a Strong Enough Word

  1. If we have got used to avoiding sadness then sometimes when you just ‘let it be’ it can become overwhelming, almost like a pony let out of the stable after a long confinement – it gambols into every part of your day. You have to retrain it to be there appropriately. So first identify the loss – for example the loss of your therapist. Then think what is the level of sadness you think is appropriate to this loss (not what is understandable, because it makes sense that as you have difficulty with emotion your sadness will be off the scale, but what level is the level you would want as a normal caring person? So it is sad but is it a tragedy? Then identify times when your loss might appropriately peak – for example your usual appointment time. At that time when you feel sad, say, “at this moment I am sad because it is my appointment time and I miss my therapist” let yourself cry if you feel like it, but do no more than 7 minutes of ‘willing tears’. Don’t howl – because that would be too big for this loss. Reserve ‘tragic sadness’ for truly awful tragedies.You have to kind of override your natural inclination till your brain gets the idea that sadness is appropriate at certain times in certain amounts. If you feel sad at the supermarket checkout, say to yourself, “Right now I am sad about the loss of my therapist, but actually I would NOT be in contact with her in this moment – so I will act opposite to sadness. This means holding your body upright with a little more tension than normal (no sagging) and keeping your voice low and smooth not high and sobby. It takes a lot of work for your brain to get more discipline in its emotional experiencing. Lots of people I know get great relief from just saying to themselves quite firmly, “this is sad but not tragically sad, when the loss is most appropriate I shall allow myself to have it.” When you do this you are being mindful. Hope this is helpful.

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    • Thanks so much Christine. I wasn’t actually thinking that the sadness is entirely correlated with me therapist, just that I’ve been deeply impenetrably sad for a few days and it has felt very generalised. Or I thought maybe it was due to what her not being around represents/ brings up. I have seriously complex and core ‘attachment issues’ (not sure what else to call them), and I guess it’s all been brought to the forefront of my experience of life recently. The thing is I can feel like this when she is around, too. I think it’s come up because I’m about to (hopefully) start relational trauma work and it’s brought up so much unconscious sadness, loss, etc. Almost like I’m grieving for myself as a child, or re-experiencing the pain. Or even experiencing the sadness I always refused to let myself feel on a much more raw level.
      Does what you wrote still apply? I find it so hard to know when sadness is justified or not. I feel like my sadness rarely is. I’m just sad a lot of the time, especially recently, emotions have been really painful.
      Sometimes if I question whether sadness is justified or try to measure the level of how tragic a situation is, I dig myself into a rut because I start invalidating myself. I just can’t do this with regards to my ‘attachment issues’, because it’s ongoing and the biggest source of my sadness, and I think it’s a lot bigger than simply what it appears to be in the moment.
      I hope that makes sense. Thank you so much for your kind message and taking the time for me. Lots of love โค


  2. I think her relative has recently passed away because she just cancelled our (Skype) session for today. Now I just feel totally out of it and like I don’t know what I feel! Obviously I’m really sad for her – as a normal caring person – it’s sad to hear people you care about going through painful times and big losses. But I can’t work out how I feel within myself. It’s so all or nothing! I’m just going to do what you said and try tame the pony, mindfully, gently.


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