What I’ve learnt from sadness

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Mostly, what I’ve learnt is that I don’t want to be sad. It seems like a stupid, empty thing to say – that darkness teaches you to appreciate the light. But in the saddest times, when it had only just happened and every thought and emotion was intense and awful, the sunlight seemed most magical. It was spring. The buds beginning to grow and open – I don’t remember ever noticing them quite like that before or since. I remember seeing things and thinking how wonderful life is, how good it was to see this, and at the same time feeling this tidal wave of grief because he wasn’t seeing this, he was missing this. If only he had seen this.

Sadness has taught me that I want to live. By that I mean, really be alive. Because I think I’ve learnt that you can be alive – living and breathing – but dead inside. All the things that make you dead inside – sadness, anger, fear, worry – they all carve something from you, taking away that sense of joy and freedom that simple things like riding your bike down a hill, or hugging a loved one, or picking up a tiny kitten, used to bring you. They take away hope, that you will feel happy ever again. Without hope, all of us are dead inside I think.

Sadness has taught me that happiness is a choice. It’s a harder choice now sometimes than it used to be. I fight my own thoughts and feelings sometimes, strive towards the way I want to think and feel. Eat right, sleep well, exercise, tell myself I am worth the love I’m given by my family and friends. Choose to see the good in other people. Choose to see the joy in little everyday things. Choose to appreciate all that I have.

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