1 In People & Places

Why Feeling Sad Is Sometimes The Right Thing To Do

Today, like so many days lately, was awash in chaos. I awoke after only three hours of sleep to get my 5-year-old daughter up for school. I cobbled together an impromptu breakfast of grapes, a string cheese, and a piece of toast, poured myself a cup of coffee the size of my head, and stumbled through the dark to wake up my far more reticent to rise 3 1/2-year-old son.

After dropping my daughter off to school, I began the daily battle of trying to balance being a full-time work-at-home mom with a busy career and being a full-time stay-at-home mom with a busy little boy. After he spilled a cup of water on my keyboard for the second time, I decided we needed to get out of the house. We ducked out a few minutes early to pick up his sister, and then we had to make the roughly 20-mile jaunt to North Charleston to make a withdrawal from our bank.

Typically, this would not be too terribly complicated. Sadly, though, there was a horrible accident heading off the island. As we inched past a crumpled car resting on its hood, I tried not to think about who may have been in the car and what their fate might be. It took 2 1/2 hours to make the trip to North Charleston and back, by which point I had worked myself into a pretty solid funk.

What’s they say about no rest for the weary, though? Ah, yes … there is none. I struggled my way through the rest of the day, trying to put on any face but the tired one I actually have for my kids so I could help with homework, give baths, read bedtime stories and not lose my everloving mind every time they started bickering about something as inconsequential as what shade of purple my daughter’s nightgown actually was.

Then, after collapsing in bed to take a break before logging a few more hours of work, I got a phone call that reminded me just how sad and awful the world can be. The loss of someone you love is never easy — especially when you know you let life railroad you into making the kind of excuses that kept you from seeing them.

Unsure of what to do upon hearing this heartbreaking news and honestly still largely in denial, I sought catharsis through writing. I tried to log into my blog to no avail. I’ve been hacked more than once already this year, and this last hack apparently led to some sort of massive backup corruption.

Long story short, my blog was no more.

As in, everything The Squeeze was is gone. The kicker? My external harddrive, upon which I backed up all of my blog files, did not survive Hurricane Matthew. Aside from the bits and pieces I squirreled away on my desktop, the last few years of my life in this little corner of the internet have been wiped clean.

So here we are. I spent the last hour talking to my “tech team” so that we could get The Squeeze back online. And, yes, I will have to rebuild Her from scratch.

In this fresh hell I have now found myself, I do not have my husband to buffer the darkness rushing in on me from all directions. He is currently in an intensive education program that requires him to be out of town Monday through Thursday (and sometimes Friday). For more than a year, I’ve had to figure out how to shoulder the weight of our world on my own.

And while I feel like I do a decent job most days, the weight can seem unbearable when the rest of the world is heavy with sadness too.

It was fortuitous then that I came across a friend’s blog post pledging her commitment to NaBloPoMo — the promise to post every single day for National Blog Posting Month. The writing prompt for today? What to do to help yourself when you’re having a bad mental health day.

I’m generally an upbeat person. Most people who know me know this about me. If I do seem downtrodden, it tends to greatly alarm those around me and send the cosmic order of my connections out of balance. But the truth of the matter is that sometimes, when I feel this sad, I don’t want to feel better immediately.

I want to surrender to the darkness ever so slightly and give myself the room to feel everything I’m feeling. The thing about feelings, y’all, is that they are meant to be felt. On the occasions I do try to shove them down, they sit in my gut like a ton of bricks, dragging me down to that shadowy between place before healing but after hurt.

There are mental and physiological benefits to giving yourself over to sadness every once in awhile as well. According to psychotherapist Jennifer Rollin, LGSW, “Ultimately, the way to truly heal and move through painful experiences is to let yourself feel. Whether it is by writing in a journal, through artwork, talking to a friend, or seeking help from a therapist, there are so many healthy ways to process your emotions.”

As for me, I choose writing. I defer to Ernest Hemingway, who once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

I don’t expect every post I write to be as heavy as this one. Life is about both the light and the dark, and I expect both will pour out of me onto these pages as I begin rebuilding my blog. The hope, of course, is that participating in this posting pledge will mellow me out on the darker days.

#NaBloPoMo & chill, anyone?

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Sabrina O'Brien
    November 2, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Jules, I have saved many of your posts and have even printed out some of your marvelous work so I can pull it out when I want to be truly entertained…Sorry this happened to you….feel your hurt, and let me know when you want company and maybe some sweet potato pudding.Love you.

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