Blogust 2019: The Series

Day 6: Sadness is an Emotion, Not Just a Reaction.

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Dear, guys – welcome back to Letters From Liz!

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer thus far; whether you’re working, in summer school, or just cooped up in the house, I hope everyone is enjoying the warmer weather in their own way! Of course, if you are a person who gets a bit depressed in the warmer seasons, then I hope you are finding (healthy) ways to beat that depression and enjoy yourself!

As a person who’s been very active in their own mental health awareness within the last year, I’ve noticed that there are just times where I feel an intense wave of sadness. I could have a really awesome day before, and then the next day comes and it’s a complete 180. Sometimes, I am able to identify the things that get me sad, meaning that at times, my sadness acts as a reaction, but there are just times when I have no idea what is causing this sudden wave of sadness. The people around you will continuously ask you what’s wrong, yet you don’t even know what’s wrong yourself.

As a person battling their own waves of depression, I’m here to tell those who may be battling it themselves AND the people who may not understand it that sadness is first and foremost an emotion, and like other emotions, it is about the chemicals in your brain.

The average person normally looks at depression as just sadness, which to a certain extent is true. Although depression is simply not just sadness, it is a contributing part yet it isn’t always because something is happening or because something has happened to us. Sadness, like happiness, can occur at any moment. While we can be happy and content for no apparent reason, the same applies to sadness, and that’s because both emotions are caused by chemicals in our brain.

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When we are feeling happy, we have a lot of serotonin going on in our brain, because serotonin is a “feel good” type of chemical. Dopamine, another chemical in our brain, is sorta the same thing, but it plays more on our pleasure elements in our emotions. In anxiety, our dopamine is low because instead of enjoying ourselves, we are very fearful and worrisome, whereas in Schizophrenia it’s extremely high, often leaving people with the disorder having a grandioso persona of themselves, and having a feeling of invincibility as well. In depression, both our dopamine and serotonin are low, which causes us not to just feel sad, but unmotivated to do anything as well. It’s why you hear many people with depression having a hard time getting out of bed, struggling to pass their courses, and even keep their jobs. Having MDD (major depression disorder) is actually considered a disability because in severe cases, it leaves people unable to function in society.

But in less severe cases, like mine, I just sometimes get sad out of nowhere without knowing the true meaning behind it, and I’ve learned to accept it for what it is. “Yeah, I’m feeling sad in this exact moment, and even if I don’t know why I’m sad, I know I’ll be okay.”

To an extent, I’m saying that it’s okay to be sad. It truly is; we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t experience the ups and downs of our emotions. It happens, but like happiness, IT’S TEMPORARY AND THINGS WILL GET BETTER. Acknowledge your unspecified sadness and realize it’s just an emotion; not everything in life has an answer, so why would your emotions have one too? As a society, we are so caught up on the fact that if we are sad, it’s because something made us sad when truly, that’s only half of the reason! We could be sad because, at this exact moment, our chemicals in our brain are not running high and that’s okay! It will go up again! Stop trying to figure out what is wrong with you when you don’t know what it may be; truth be told, forcing a reason for you to be sad is just going to actually make you even sadder.

Make it apparent to yourself and those around you that just because you may be feeling sad today, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world and it doesn’t mean that you are “broken and have to be fixed.”

For me, it took me a while to stop trying to find out the reason that I was feeling sad whenever there wasn’t no true reason behind it. Yes, there were times when I was sad and there was a reason, but I honestly accepted sadness as its own entity when I accepted that it’s just another human emotion, and there will be days when I feel it, and there will be other days when I don’t. It’s that simple. 

So, the next time someone in your life notices that you’re sad and asks you what’s wrong, just tell them, “Nothing’s wrong, really. I’m just feeling sad today, but I’ll be okay.”

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