How Sadness Makes You Strong
The past month has been filled with a plethora of emotions. I have not found myself wanting to write, or really having anything to say. I have had a couple of intense downward spirals where I confined myself to either the couch or my bed, finding comfort in only my misery. I am continuously working to stay mindful, but it does not help on the days I feel apathetic. I had never experienced this before the accident—becoming so overwhelmed with despair that truly nothing matters and for no apparent reason. This rarely happens to me, yet when it does I do not worry. Most of my days are filled with joy, so on the rare occasion that I am hopelessly sad, I let myself feel it. I know it will not last more than a day, maybe two at most.
I suppose even on those days I am being mindful. Not in a typical sense, but being mindful means focusing on your current experience without judgment, without thinking there is a "right" or "wrong" way to be. I go from being intensely sad to slightly numb. This may sound troublesome, but it has never worried me. I accept that it is how I feel and let myself feel it. I would honestly be more concerned if I never found myself overwhelmed with grief—it has not even been a year yet. There is a fine line between genuinely being okay and running from pain.
I have learned the only way I can pull myself out of that darkness is if I do it myself. No words can ever fully will me out of bed; they may remind me that I am loved, but in the end only I can pull myself out of my hole. Everyone always tells us in more words or less that we create our own happiness. I have experienced this more in the past 11 months than ever in my life, and I think finding myself in such a terrible place truly taught me that.
When I find myself in a place I have never been emotionally, I begin to understand depths of myself I did not know existed. I try to observe my thoughts without passing judgment, and it helps me understand who I am and how I would like to change. I have begun recognizing how and why I handle certain situations the way I do. Since the accident I have felt a desperate need to understand myself and what I want to make of this life. So my moments of depression do not scare me; they simply give me a chance to connect and see myself in a different way.
It is easy to let our pain consume us. It is easy to let our heart-wrenching experiences define us. What is not easy is diving into that pain and allowing ourselves to feel it, understand it, and accept that it is not an absolute way of existing, it is just a feeling in time. I am okay with spending a day wallowing if it means I will come out on the other side with a better understanding of who I am. Each (rare) time it happens, I come out of it stronger than I was before because I choose not to stay there, and each time I spend less and less time there. I am not afraid of the places I go because I am steady in who I am, and I am steady in who I am because of the things I have willed myself to overcome.