Sadness is felt when we experience a loss.
Variations: Grief, disappointment, pity
Benefits: Makes us appreciate good times and simple pleasures.
Potential Pitfalls: When experienced for long periods of time, and goes unexpressed or unprocessed, it may develop into depression.
Sadness, the Hero
KALMers,have you ever watched the Pixar movie Inside Out? If you have, you must know that the emotion Sadness is the hero of the movie. Just like the movie, sadness can be our hero in dealing with the changes and longings in our life too!
Unfortunately, we often hear, “Don’t be sad,” from parents, friends, coworkers – and because of that, we keep our sadness bottled up and try and avoid feeling it through eating, watching, and other activities.
Sadness that is experienced for long periods of time, and goes unexpressed or unprocessed, may develop into depression.
KALMers, 15,6 million Indonesians experience depression. According to the Chairperson of the Indonesian Mental Medicine Specialist Association (Perhimpunan Dokter Spesialis Kedokteran Jiwa Indonesia, PDSKJI), Dr Eka Viora, SpKJ, only 8% of that number seek treatment or professional help.
Don’t underestimate Major Depression Disorder (MDD)! According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every 40 seconds someone passes away because of suicide and more than 50% of the victims suffered from MDD. Seeking help is an important decision to anyone who has been diagnosed with this illness.
Do skip to the end of this article to differentiate what makes Sadness different to Major Depression Disorder (MDD)!
Now, let’s learn about Sadness, the emotion.
Feeling Loss is Not A Bad Thing
Psychologically, sadness is the response we feel when something is missing or lost in our lives.
In the movie Inside Out, a big change in Riley’s life, a girl who’s usually always happy and cheerful, is moving away from her home town. This change shatters her sense of self that is rooted in many aspects of living in her home town.
Her memories of playing hockey, playing with her old friends, and many more, start causing her emotional pain because of her new experiences in this new town. Those new experiences only remind her of the things she once loved, that she now feels is lost forever.
The emotion of Anger makes her want to run away from home.
The emotion of Happiness keeps trying to make her relive her happy memories, but it certainly does not work.
Only the emotion of Sadness gives Riley the best resolution: expressing her loss to her parents. And her parents receive her feelings with understanding and sympathy, helping her create new memories that are a healthy mix of happy and sad.
Her happy memories, now tinged with the sadness of loss, gives Riley a new direction: what can I do next? How can I keep going after this change?
Overcoming Change and Longing
KALMers, without change we cannot grow. Learning new things give us wants and longings that continue to accumulate. Because of it, we must change our habit of bottling up sadness when we lose something we want or when we haven’t achieved it.
Learning how to identify what we’ve lost/what we long for, expressing sadness about it, and deciding on what to do next is an important life skill! This skill is what will help you reduce stress and make you feel more at peace with yourself.
Here is a step-by-step guide to acknowledging and expressing your sadness!
- Admit that you’re sad! Go ahead, it’s okay.
- What caused it? Try and remember a specific event or a specific phrase someone said that made you sad. Or is it a big change in your life? If you are finding trouble identifying it, try talking to a friend or journaling.
- What did you lose, or what did you feel was missing?
- Someone important?
- Feeling belonging in a community or group of people?
- The feeling of pride over your work or achievements?
- A freedom to express yourself?
- Something else?
4 Choose your next step: Do you still need time to be sad and grieve? Remember both the good and the bad. Find a friend or someone who understands and can listen to you.
- Feeling angry or wronged? Read about anger in this article.
- Need to replace something that was lost? Go and find a new way to be respected, to feel free, loved, etc.
- Longing for something you don’t have yet? Use this feeling of sadness to motivate you to go and fight for that thing you long for!
Read on if you feel that your sadness is uncontrollable or often comes without a cause.
Sadness vs. Depression
Depression is prolonged sadness that comes with these symptoms:
- Loss of interest and enjoyment of any activities, even your own hobbies.
- Weight loss without doing any diet program. Or a sudden drastic increase in weight (about 5% of usual body mass within a month). Sudden unexplainable drastic increase or drastic decrease of appetite.
- Insomnia (can’t sleep or a difficulty to stay asleep) or hypersomnia (wanting to sleep all the time).
- Feeling lethargic for long periods of time. A small activity such as showering or changing clothes can feel difficult or will take a very long time.
- Feeling unworthy or shame or “too much”.
- Your ability to think or concentrate decreases, and you can become very indecisive (often confused and find difficulty remembering things).
- Thoughts of death and committing suicide occur often.
- Sudden bursts of purposeless, excessive motoric activity that leads to fatigue. For example, pacing back and forth in the room for no reason. It can even be dangerous, such as biting your lip and nails until they bleed.
Do read more about Major Depression Disorder (MDD) in one of our articles, here.
Don’t feel guilty or ashamed, KALMers! Find help from a psychologist or counsellor, online
through KALM app or offline and in person. Finding help is one of the bravest choices you can make, and it can truly change and renew your life!
We are always cheering you on in achieving even greater mental health, KALMers! Let’s go!
By: Evannia Handoyo
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