Sadness is our body’s way of telling us that an event or experience – thoughts, beliefs, memories – has hurt or upset us. It helps us examine the cause and to design and develop a healthy response in order to recover the joy of living. We must strive to live a positive and healthy lifestyle as we deal with ongoing and recurring sadness in the midst of bouncing back. Talk to someone about sadness to help clarify reality. Let’s talk about how to deal with grief and sadness and move toward a full and productive life.
In childhood, sadness communicates our distress to caregivers. Infants know how to get the attention they need. Young children may act out negatively and inappropriately to get the attention they need. How does an adult express the exhaustion and helplessness they may be feeling? We have been told to “suck it up.”
But that only increases the mounting internal pressure. In those times of our life, we need a friend or friends who will listen, without judgment, while we express our thoughts. Often when we hear what we are saying, we find our own path back to happiness. Oh, the joy of having a friend to listen, giving us the space to renew and recover – from whatever type of loss.
How to Communicate Feelings of Sadness
How do we communicate our feelings of sadness with others as we try to commiserate with the burdened? Often, just sitting quietly with someone while they weep, or listening to someone verbalize his inner feelings can help relieve the pain of sadness. An empathetic listener promotes healing – no profound statement of response is needed. In sadness, we need understanding, not judgment. In sadness, we are told to weep with those who weep.
After a period of time, words may flow. A good listener does not quickly offer advice, but rather helps the saddened one visualize their plight and formulate their own recovery. We may guide someone’s thinking, helping the stuck-in-a-rut understand their feelings, and help them plan a recovery pattern. The listener guides the conversation to healing as the sorrowing one verbalizes the pent-up feelings.
Grief and Sadness Caused by the Death of a Loved One
The death of a child, parent, or spouse may cause a sadness that lingers throughout the survivor’s life. The active grieving period usually changes while we are working through the loss, acceptance, and finally resilience. The grief may change from completely overwhelming every day to periods of acute sadness when certain memories, anniversaries, or birthdates are observed. This is normal. That sadness, when adequately grieved and understood, finds a safe and precious place that does not invade our every waking moment of everyday ad infinitum. Remember, we, the ones left behind, still have a purpose and a life to be lived – the abundant life that God promised.
Early grief counseling, including a lot of good grief work by the individual, returns the survivor to a fully functional, albeit altered, lifestyle. The grief has been explored, vented, and prayerfully placed in a protected area of our loving hearts. It no longer makes us immobile, unproductive, or bitter. It is a sadness of sweet memories that should not hinder our return to living a joyful life, even though we are ever mindful of the hurt and the loss.
Prolonged Grief Disorder
A new designation – Prolonged Grief Disorder – has recently been assigned by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Intended to help those incapacitated, pining, and ruminating a year after the loss by death, those unable to return to life as it was before the loss. It will allow insurance to cover the cost for medical treatment of this disorder, and medication be prescribed.
There is and will continue to be controversy over this designation. One faction thinks that grief should be allowed to work itself through without medication for at least a year following the death of a loved one. Others think medication and treatment should be offered sooner. This will be a big controversy, so watch for more information. However, I am very glad to see the subject of helping the grieving individually or in grief recovery groups be addressed. Grievers need understanding and guidance. Too many survivors sit on the sidelines or bury themselves in alcohol or drugs.
If you or someone you know is not making progress with grief recovery, suggest a Grief Recovery Group. Most of us can find help through time, counsel, and by the grace of God to return to a productive lifestyle and gradually a joyous life. This does not mean throwing the sorrow away. It means accepting the loss, allowing God to carry the load, and slowly recovering and bouncing back to a full life. In turn, the recovering (I prefer this word for it is long-term) will reach out to the newly grieving with a helpful hand. In the interim, be kind. Until you have lost a loved one, you have no idea the pain.
If this relates to you directly, please know that there is light at the end of the black tunnel. You are not alone. Our Lord wants us to hold on to Him. Work through the different stages of loss, anger, impotence, fear, and hopelessness with a spirit emboldened by the promises of God. The promise of eternal life, the hope of heaven, the confidence we know when we trust in the price Jesus paid for our forgiveness and our entry to the foreverness of eternity. There we find the comfort and the joy.
Coexistence of Grief and Joy
You are still here. Rejoice. Praise God. Love and help others. Receive all the earthly blessings and opportunities meant for you. You are still here for a purpose. Don’t sit in a corner for the rest of your days. Learn to handle your enormous grief and move forward. And do get help from a friend or a Grief Recovery group. We are not meant to carry our burden alone.
There is Hope for You
Society as a whole is intolerant of sadness. Are you grieving and dysfunctional? Do you feel weak, insipid, without a future, depressed? Do you feel hopeless? Devoid of the ability to plan a future? Hold on. There is Hope for you! Keep reading as you open your heart to this good news. find more about hope here!
Feeling sad, angry, fearful, loving, and joyful are essential features of our Emotional Mind and all play a part in how we emotionally process life’s events.
Trust sadness – own it, embrace it. Let it guide you through your pain and grief. You will be the stronger for it.
Giving Yourself Permission to be Sad
Give yourself permission to explore and validate your sadness. Sadness is one of the more difficult emotions to express because it requires vulnerability. And we are all anxious about showing vulnerability. Sadness is an acceptable emotion. As we respect others during their periods of sadness, we need to allow others to have the opportunity to empathize with us as well. Communicate your needs to others.
Don’t try to “fix” me. Just let me feel sad for a while. Hug me. We must feel it and process it – the only way that sadness will let us move forward. Likewise, show empathy toward others.
Where There’s Life, There’s Hope
Jesus said he came to give us life. Life is hope. Life gives joy. Where is our joy? There are periods in our lives, devastating losses, undeserved attacks, horrendous diagnoses, that seek to destroy us. Hang on to the promise of Christ Jesus: he promises us life eternal and the hope and joy of heaven.
In heaven, we will know no pain, no sorrow, no darts of the enemy. There will be no unfairness or human trafficking. No murders or broken relationships. That may be difficult to process in the NOW. That is why we need the presence of the Holy Spirit to see us through. Please reach out for help. There is Hope for You!
Trust Jesus and lean on him in this life. Lean on a friend. God is with you right here on earth. Closer than a brother, he says. You are not alone. Make yourself available to someone who cares or who will care. There is hope – there is help – there is understanding – right here, right now. Let someone know.
If you feel hopeless and severely depressed, reach out for professional care. That does not mean you are a weak person. We all experience sorrow, but you may need extra help to see you through. That’s okay. Do not hesitate to get help.
National Suicide Prevention Line 1-800-273-8255
You are not alone. Please click the pray for me button, or the connect button and let us know how we can help. You are deeply loved by God. We want you to know Him.