What is interesting for me to observe in myself is how I find sadness to be so ‘sucky’. Inward. Absorbing.
There is a difference between grief and sadness but basically both are a loss of something you value.
This can include loss of a job ((eg loss of a job title or going from employed to retired), loss of a person, a friendship or a relationship, a change in status (eg when the kids leave home, loss of an identity (eg being unemployed), loss of a way of living (eg parenting children in a separated family – missing the kids when they are not with you), loss of financial security, a change in physical appearance or health. Or many more…. When you look at all the losses, you can see that it happens all the time in everyone’s life.
We live in a society that puts a very high price on us being happy and positive or at the very worst, we can be ‘bland’. It is definitely not OK to be ‘lost’, sad or flat.
And this is totally inappropriate. It is normal to feel sad and to feel lost.
When we lose something that was once important to us we can experience shock, disbelief, anguish distress, anger and searching. We can also experience a flat or depressed mood, fatigue, loss of interest in life and also (positively and hopefully), acceptance and planning for the future.
At times, we may be more focused on coping with the loss itself, whereas at other times be more focused on adapting to an altered productive life.
When a person dies, we experience divorce or something that our wider community knows about, it is expected that we will feel a range of emotions. The problem for some of us is that the more invisible losses can create a sadnesses that we and others don’t understand.
I remember my mum developing dementia and visiting her interstate about every 6 weeks. I was often travelling to see her by myself so it was both lonely and sad. It took a while for me to understand I was experiencing the grief of losing the mum I knew and loved. It was a slow, deep, sinking grief. Mum isnt dead – what was my issue? This was a question for me… but I lost the mum I know long before she died.
When she eventually passed away that grief was easy in comparison to the slow invisible sadness.
I’ve also experienced other losses – like a loss of direction in life – this is so invisible to others!! And sometimes hard to talk about.
But being lost in life is normal – and helps us reset and ‘find’ ourselves again. I invite you to share your ‘lost’ feelings when you can and help more people feel comfortable to talk about this kind of bewildering sadness.
Clients sometimes come to me to discuss this topic- sometimes it’s a loss of career direction, sometimes it’s the need to let go of friends that are no longer close or moving in other directions, or sadness when children have moved out.
If you are ‘lost’- allow it – acknowledge it and mention it to those who care about you. Make sure you keep yourself moving physically – a walk outside or more does wonders for everyone at all times – and especially when you are flat. Allow yourself to feel flat as well. It will pass if you stay conscious.
Seek help if you need it.