Coping mechanisms

Sadness. Its one of the emotions I have not had space for in my life. Its one that my coping mechanism has always been – bury this or just set it aside, and feel like its released. I have not “dealt” with this emotion in my life. That is not to say I haven’t been exposed – many many times. Its just, when I was young, and I was crying – well I have a couple memories of this to be fair, but the one that seems appropriate is the one where my grandmother, explained to me that my sadness was just short sighted.

The sadness was over the fact that I was trying to control a situation and she explained that it was silly to be sad. I took this, she told me to cry, clean up and then come back out. I took this. I filed it, built pathways, and this has just always been my way of dealing with sadness. Have a personal cry alone, clean up and move on. The sadness is not gone, or dealt with, its just I’m not allowed to feel it.

I’ve come to realize that this is not the healthiest coping mechanism.

I’ve watched other people wallow – its very easy to judge others for needing more time, when you haven’t been taking the necessary time?

What is the necessary time to wallow? To feel “sad” – I don’t know these things.

Talking to my therapist today, she didn’t have an answer either. I’ve watched people I love – still years and years later still able to recall the sadness of a situation – this isn’t something I’m very easily if at all able to do. Somehow this feels a little broken. The strength has always been nice, the ability to talk and share and help someone else when they are feeling sad – has always felt nice. But maybe its not the healthiest thing. Maybe having time to embrace that sadness is a good thing.

The universe has decided maybe its time for me to have or develop a better mechanism for dealing with this emotion.

Depression is one of the scariest, deadliest things for people in my condition – dealing with the big C – science has proven that being depressed shortens your lifespan by 25% regardless of conditions but its easier for them to research this with patients that are always sick. Depression isn’t something I’ve ever been overly concerned with, because I just don’t hold onto or experience the sadness that leads to it.

But now, with these things, that are just making me truly sad, having nothing to do with my condition – just things that are so external to me, just bringing me to a pulse of tears, its easily understandable why people get depressed, and how they fall down this rabbit hole. I can see the rabbit hole right now – and I feel so ironic about this – I feel like the universe wants me to be able to have new tools for experiencing sadness, for truly understanding it – and that its going to keep pushing me into situations until I have a method for embracing this sadness and using IT to get stronger, instead of using my strength to move past it without owning it.

I feel like owning sadness has some benefit. I’m not sure I understand it, but much the way that traveling the world has benefit for educating you on other lives, other experiences, other highs and lows, sadness is something that has benefit – how can you truly help someone that is in the midst of it, without having embraced your own experiences of sadness.

I feel this is a learning time for me, and the harder I try and avoid or follow along my learned coping mechanisms – the more I’ll be afforded opportunities to be more sad. So I’m working hard to embrace these situations I have of sadness, but how long is enough? What am I to learn from these? How do I avoid them pushing me down this rabbit hole? I mean my old coping mechanism could just show me the good, the bright side, the learning from the experience – how do I embrace the loss? without minimizing it, and still seeing and loving the bright side. There is always a bright side. Life is a balance. The sadness is valid, the brightside is valid. Sadness is there, and needed, but its not forever, its not to be held on or overvalued. Its there to help make the happy taste better, to be better. Maybe learning this balance, will help me experience happy stronger.

I’m trying to grow. My little starbuck and I are still trying to redevelop trust. I’m just sad when I look at him, and remember all the times as a pup that I held him and loved him so unconditionally, I’m trying not to be so sad about the incident, and to see the good of it, and to understand that it was just an accident, to try not to flinch when he comes to me. It isn’t the same as it was. I have been bitten by other dogs before, this wasn’t the first. Starbuck as nipped at me unsuccessfully before. I think part of why its so sad, is that we were both mostly sleepy, and so he bit harder, more aggressively, and I was not fast, and my skin is so thin – so it was worse than it would have been given other conditions. Its not the end of the world, but my trust is just not there – he knows it, I know it. We are trying to rebuild that, and I’m trying to embrace this sad, but its not easy.

Today he came and sat on my lap and gave me a hug. It felt good, its been a few days before I let him do that. I need him – especially in this hug deficit. He was one of the unconditional ones that I still need strongly. So this sadness needs to be fixed, but it also needs to teach me. To allow me to embrace this sadness, to learn and evolve and understand it.

I don’t know how long sadness is supposed to last, I don’t know how long is enough. Given that time is an illusion, I guess its forever and never. So its not about how long as about, how long for me.

No more burying or holding on to sadness, time to let it go – thanks Elsa.

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