Don’t Hide Your Sadness

We’re living in difficult times socially, politically, economically, and spiritually. I speak with many people and what I hear in one form or another is they feel like they are being dive bombed by stimuli thrown at us, mailed to us, yelled at us, and preached to us. I can’t believe the rate of sadness and depression isn’t higher than reported.

All of this is superimposed on the factors, prior to the pandemic, like divorce, loss of jobs, moving, and other social experiences causing stress and sadness. So why are we hiding our sadness or depression?

It’s important to understand the difference between feeling depressed and being diagnosed with depression. We all experience feeling depressed because life isn’t perfect. We’re up against challenges daily because life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. We’re constantly in trial and error mode and believe it or not, sometimes we fail.

Depression is a diagnosis given by a mental health provider or sometimes a medical provider. There are a host of criteria one must meet before receiving the diagnosis of depression. Treatment for clinical depression may be different than feeling depressed but there may also be some similarities.

Our emotional health, in these turbulent times, may be in constant flux. We may be surprised at how far and how fast the emotional pendulum swings with or without any notice. Humans are complex beings. We are living lives which go beyond simply trying to survive. We need social contact, a sense of meaning and purpose, along with basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter.

If we hide our emotional being, we may believe we’re protecting ourselves from judgment. We may believe we’re protecting others from the dark cloud hanging over our heads. In fact, we’re not doing any of that, what we’re doing is blocking the natural outlet for emotional challenges. We prevent ourselves and others from either receiving or offering care.

Were the singing group The Carpenters right? Do “Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get us Down?” There are lots of things getting us down but teasing out the cause is a process. Perhaps we need a mental health professional to guide our process. We may need a spiritual director to help us unleash our personal demons. There are support groups and crisis lines at our disposal to eliminate our isolation and terminal uniqueness.

Look around, watch, and listen to others. You’ll be surprised at the number of people walking around with a dark cloud following them around while putting on a smiling face. We need to live our truth. It’s important to get the help we need to live full lives. Suicide rates are on the rise because there is too much stigma associated with mental health challenges and treatment.

Ending the stigma and judgment about mental health, we should be celebrated the lives of those facing their challenges and showing us it’s possible to get through our dark times.

Greg Katz, MS, PhD is a psychotherapist and visual anthropologist. He works to change health, change communities, and change societies through creative expression. Follow Greg on Instagram @drfiber for visual art you can use for prompts or self-discover. Looking for a workshop leader or coach, go to http://www.gregkatz.com for more information.