Sad Sunset

Cloudy red sunset

When The Sun Sets, The Sadness Rises

Couple more hours ’till 7 pm . . . the sun approaches 5 pm and your sadness is thriving. You scratch your head wondering why this repeats year after year. It’s because it’s normal to not enjoy darkness; it makes the day feel shorter. Shorter means less fun. Less fun means more isolation. More isolation means you feel sad. Feeling sad means you’re in a rotten state of mind again. And the pattern continues down the rabbit hole.

The key is to learn to stay positive regardless of your environment. You don’t have control over what happens around you, but you have control over your mind. It’s when you lose control over your mind that you become most susceptible to outside forces. And when this happens . . . well, you become an easy target.

Keep a positive mindset handy at all times.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Embrace Sadness

Sad woman in black cardigan near trees

See Where Sadness Takes You

Don’t fret it. Don’t hide it. Don’t bury it. See where it takes you. See what it makes you feel. See what thoughts it brings to the surface. We all tend to shy away for sadness. We all tend to use the unconscious, immature defense mechanism known as denial. We all tend to carry on like sadness is “not me.” But it is you! It is us! There are times when sadness becomes prevalent and we have to stare it in the eye and tell it, “You’re back . . . what are you going to teach me this time?”

Sadness is not something that should bring you embarrassment; it happens for a reason. Your job is to find out that reason and learn from it. If you suppress your sadness, do you think that it’ll go away? Maybe only temporarily. Suppression means that you are consciously moving a negative emotion or thought into your unconscious and no longer dealing with it in the present moment. But one day, it’ll come back out and you’ll have to encounter it once more.

So why deal with suppressed sadness at a future date when you can just deal with it today? Don’t shy away. Sadness is here to teach you a lesson; learn from it!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Experience Your Sadness

Sad woman leaning on windowsill staring outside

Not Running Away From Sadness

Whenever we experience sadness, we tend to bury it right away rather than allowing it to linger. This is because nobody likes the feeling of sadness so it’s easier to just brush it under the carpet and clean it up later. The problem with doing so is that you are not processing what is making you feel sad in the first place. Even though sadness is an uncomfortable emotion, you want to fully immerse yourself in it and see what thoughts and feelings will come out of it.

For some, it’s not an easy process because they feel like their ego is being jeopardized. They believe that if they feel sad, their masculinity is being threatened. For others on the opposite end of the spectrum, they tend to spend too much time dwelling over their sadness, experiencing it all day and never letting go of it. You don’t want to be at any end of the spectrum; the happy medium is always best.

This involves experiencing sadness when it kicks in but also knowing when to turn it off when certain circumstances arise. If you’re at work, it’s better to suppress it for the time being and revisit it later on. But if you’re at home and have nothing important to do, you can try practicing mindfulness while also becoming in touch with your sadness. This will allow you to process the thoughts associated with your sadness and potentially help you recover from it.

It’s always better to process your sadness rather than leaving it unhinged. There’s almost always a reason that you are feeling sad and you need to get to the bottom of it. Don’t be afraid to reveal new thoughts and feelings which are foreign to you; this is the process of growing in life. And always remember that you are never alone in experiencing sadness; millions of people all over the world are experiencing it with you this very moment.

What are some things that you are sad about?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Stuck In An Inpatient Psychiatric Unit

Depressed woman holding finger against mouth shut with tape

So Depressed That Light Can’t Get In

Think coronavirus is bad? Wait till you get your first glimpse of depression, which I hope you never do by the way! Everyone in this world has experienced sadness but not everyone has experienced depression; they’re completely different entities. Sadness is a normal emotion that you experience when bad things happen in your life. Depression is abnormal and is considered a mental illness; depression can get you stuck in an inpatient psychiatric unit with no end in sight.

When you feel sad, you eventually get over it; whether that’s in a few hours, a week or even 6 months such as when you’re grieving the loss of a person, you eventually recover. With depression, it’s like you become paralyzed by a force who is constantly sucking the life out of you. There are different types of depression, some more severe than others, but all forms of depression can be debilitating.

Imagine receiving antidepressants your whole life with no effect and you’re not even 25. Whatever the doctors have tried has not brought you any happiness; you continue to feel as if suicide is the only way out of this world. You start to entertain suicide because you have so much pain that you carry on a daily basis and you don’t know how to get rid of it. This pain is what is inflicted onto you by the force that is causing depression.

What is this force? Who knows. Is there something biologically altered in your brain? You bet. But the point of this article is to understand the pain and psychology behind people who experience treatment-resistant depression. Even with conventional treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), many times they barely seem to budge one’s depression; they view their life as empty of light and full of darkness from morning to night; someone or something has permanently shut off the lights in their world.

We as psychiatrists talk to them on a daily basis and attempt to understand their suffering; we empathize with them as much as we can. When these patients inform us that their mood is “neutral”, we become very excited because we start to see a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel. But whether that light will last or whether we will ever come out of this tunnel, we never truly know.

The end of this tunnel must be reached by both the patient and the provider. If the patient fails to ever come out of the tunnel, then we have failed as psychiatrists. Some doctors don’t care as much, but I do! I want to step out of that tunnel with my patient and see him or her smile for the first time in 7 years. Then I’ll know that I did my best to set him or her on the right path to happiness.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Invisibility Of Depression

Depressed man standing in front of large window

Sadness In The Shadows

Depression is like an invisible dark cloud that hovers in the stratosphere, looming all around us and ready to attack when in our weakest states of mind. The invisibility of depression can be observed through the actions of those affected: avolition, abulia, apathy, anhedonia and more. Sadness in the shadows is much more common than you would think.

Just because someone may not act like it or talk about it, does not mean that they are not experiencing depression. Many suicides that occur are never seen coming, “He was the last person I imagined would ever do that”, “She always seemed so happy! I never saw any signs of depression in her.”

You can never assume that every person who you meet is showing their true feelings. Many people mask their depression out of fear of embarrassment and ridicule. It’s not easy nor comfortable to experience depression: it lowers your self-esteem, makes you feel worthless and crashes your self-confidence.

With the symptoms mentioned above, it’s no surprise why many people find it difficult to share their depressive feelings with others. The fear of people not understanding or the thought of others viewing them differently is sometimes too much to handle. They prefer not to take the chance and just deal with the symptoms in the shadows.

Hiding your depressive feelings is what makes up the invisibility of depression; no one can see it if you don’t reveal it to others. It’s as if you’re wearing an invisibility cloak, but deep inside there is something tortuous and potentially deadly brewing. That’s why it’s so important to keep fighting for the end of mental health stigma.

As long as the stigma prevails, the invisibility of depression will continue striving in the shadows, attacking potential victims at its first opportunity. The importance of eliminating stigma cannot be stressed enough, and this can only be done with openness, support, comfort and honesty.

The DSM Ready community calls on everyone from all walks of life to come together and help eliminate mental health stigma. Together we can and we will!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

It Smells Like December

Young brunette woman wearing winter coat and blowing snow on her gloves outdoors

Happiness Is In The Air

Christmas is around the corner. Snowstorms are approaching. Our digestive track is still recovering from Thanksgiving treats. 30 more days until the new year. It definitely smells like December. This is the time of year where you either feel more depressed than ever, or jolly and optimistic.

December is a beautiful month overall, because it signals the ending of the current year and the beginning of a new one. If 2019 wasn’t so great for you, then this is the time to leave all of your baggage in the past and mentally prepare yourself for 2020. Do not take with you what should be left behind; a new year is a new you!

Many people are depressed during the month of December because they are in the midst of fighting seasonal affective disorder (SAD). For these people, it becomes much more difficult to enjoy the Christmas spirit. But remind yourselves that you have a fairly good control over your mental illness; do not allow SAD to take away your chance of enjoying the holidays!

Some people are sad during the month of December because they are alone. Even if you are alone, your sadness is created by your mindset; it’s all about the way you interpret and view your surroundings and current situation. If you tell your mind that sadness = being alone, then you are conditioning your mind to be sad.

Besides people with schizoid personality disorder, most would agree that they would prefer to be around others during the holidays. But this does not mean that you should leave your mind marinating in sadness, just because you don’t have anyone to be around with. You have yourself! And you have God who is always by your side!

Rather than viewing December as a hit or miss month in terms of happiness, adjust your lenses and start viewing it as a peaceful, relaxing and beautiful month. December is like the change in seasons: out with the old and in with the new! In this case, a new year is approaching, full of new opportunities and new relationships!

If you are ever feeling lonely, by all means, feel free to contact The DSM Ready Community. We are always here to help!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Disappointments In Life

Disappointed young man wearing blue hoodie and covering face with both hands

Dealing With Disappointments

They can hit you unexpectedly, leaving you wondering “why me?” A disappointment is sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations. Sometimes you don’t see a disappointment coming, while at other times, you can expect one.

It is always easier said than done, but you almost have to train your mind to expect future disappointments. Living with the belief that everything is going well is a great mindset to have, but know that somewhere along the way, the pattern will be broken by an upset.

It’s just the way life works. It may or may not be your fault. Sometimes you understand what led to the disappointment, allowing you to learn and grow from the mistake. Other times, you may never find out why a disappointment has occurred; there’s nothing wrong with that!

Not all disappointments are learning lessons. Sometimes you are just meant to experience the suffering and pain. Some of you may ask, “how much pain am I supposed to go through in life? That’s all I ever experience, pain!” A lot of us feel this way too! It’s not an easy question to answer.

But the best thing that you can do is to stay positive. It may feel as if this advice is overplayed, but in reality, it’s so underused! Be honest with yourself and recount how much negativity there truly is in your life:

  • People in your surroundings
  • Arguments with friends, coworkers and family
  • Your own thoughts chirping away in the background

Set this truth into your mind today: do not be upset with disappointments, for they help you appreciate what is positive and beautiful in life.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Spurts of Hope

Woman hoping and praying beside tree

My Living Hope

There are days when everything seems gloomy and all hope is lost; we can all relate. You lose interest in all of your activities and become bombarded with a deep feeling of sadness as if an elephant were sitting on your chest. The last thing you want to do is smile and be optimistic.

You wonder if life is even worth living anymore. You search for cracks of happiness only to return back to square one: sadness. You somehow find the strength to engage in some of your usual activities but with much less passion and enjoyment. You wonder if there is a magic pill that can take away the gloominess; there never was and never will be one.

As the day passes, you appreciate the short spurts of hope that creep into your consciousness; they somehow alleviate the pain, at least momentarily. But the key is to build off these spurts of hope and dig yourself out of the blackhole. These spurts of hope are the antidote to the start of depression; use them to avoid the development of a serious mental illness.

Feeling sad is part of life; there is no way to avoid it. The important thing is how you handle the sadness; some get over it and move on while others spiral down into major depressive disorder. Sadness is the yang and happiness is the yin; complementary forces in which the whole is greater than the individual emotions.

To appreciate happiness is to experience sadness; without the negative emotion, we would not know what happiness would feel like. But when there is way too much yin or yang, there is concern for mania or depression. Therefore, a healthy balance is always key to enjoying life.

Find your living hope and allow it to help you today!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

What To Tell Someone Who Is Sad

Sad person crying

Genuine And Gentle Support

Sadness is part of everyday life. The emotions feel like they are boiling in your chest; your mind wonders if the pain will ever go away. Experiencing sadness can be very difficult because it can make your mindset very negative; you start turning against yourself, losing self-confidence and feeling like a failure.

The first thing to understand when someone you know is sad is to give them their space; nobody likes an annoying person attempting to be of help. Giving a sad person their space allows them to decide how to handle their situation. As long as they know that you are available for support, then that is all that matters.

If a sad person is willing to talk to you, make sure to approach the conversation very gently; approaching from the wrong angle may make their situation worse. The most important step is to listen to them; don’t jump into the conversation with suggestions and sympathy. Listen to what they have to say; be their shoulder to cry on.

A sad person will be much more appreciative of your presence if you show them that you are listening carefully; it feels good to be heard. After letting them spill their emotions onto you, recite some of the things that they have told you along with some gentle suggestions; this will reinforce the fact that you were carefully listening to them.

Your suggestions, advice and empathy should be done genuinely and wholeheartedly. Why waste your time trying to help a sad person if you are not going to use your heart? It is very easy to tell when someone is genuine or fake.

Be the genuine person!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)