On Being Sad

Writing by Isa Denney Strother // Photograph by Chiara Baldassarri

I can’t take your sadness from you–No one can. I can’t take the depression out of your veins and push it into my own (I don’t think I could hold it). I wish I could. I wish I could be doubly sad so you wouldn’t be sad anymore, but I don’t think I could handle it. I wish I could. I wish I could find some cure, and give it to everyone. I wish everyone was as happy as you could be.

I wish I was happy and content. I wish I knew how to fix all the problems that keep me out of sleep and make my heart pound so fast I forget how to breath properly. I wish I knew how to pull myself out of the potholes I find myself constantly falling into. I wish I could find the monster that keeps dragging us down, trying to get us to give up and drown, but we are human and fight to survive on instinct.

I don’t have answers, and I’m sorry that I don’t. I don’t have any sure fire solutions, or quick fixes. Just a few ideas that work sometimes, and sometimes they don’t, but 60/40 is better than nothing.

When I’m sad, which happens more often then I would like to admit, I like to make myself feel worse. I think this is how sadness works; When you’re sad you start to like feeling sad, and the idea of being happy seems out of control and scary. When you’re sad you want to make yourself feel worse because for some twisted reason, you think that will make you feel better, or that you deserve it.

When I’m sad and melancholy I’m lucky enough to have people who push me to do what I really want, and not what I think I want (to curl up in bed at 5 pm and sleep, or eat at 3 am because I forgot dinner). I am lucky enough to have someone who turns on loud pop music and dances, and someone who pushes me out of the house to go hang out with people who make me smile. I am lucky enough to have someone who hands me my art supplies and makes me sandwiches. I’m lucky enough to have someone who’ll pick me up from wherever I am and hug me until I feel better.

Of course, it’s not always so easy. Sometimes sadness lasts a long time, and though you know you should be pushing it away, you can always say “just one more day” and tell yourself you’ll get back up tomorrow. Sometimes “tomorrow” means the day after next week’s Friday.

Sometimes you can’t get it away from you, even though you can shrug it off. You can feel it looking over your shoulder, ready to pounce the minute you let yourself fall from whatever tower you’ve let yourself climb on to.

I know that being content isn’t always easy, and that being sad is often much easier, but I think that once you get away from it and take a look at what you were feeling from the outside, you often realize that it wasn’t as normal as it felt. While sometimes it feels like everyone is out to hunt you, and make you feel worse, in reality those people are just trying to get you to smile. They aren’t trying to hurt you, but the opposite; they’re trying to make you feel better.

I think that once you get out from under the cloud you have lived under for however long (even if it was just a few days, or even an hour), everything starts to make sense again, even when it didn’t make sense minutes ago.

In the end, I don’t think there is any cure for sadness. Sure, there are medications and treatments, but I don’t believe that’s a cure. I don’t know if there will ever be a cure, though I hope there will be. I don’t think people are the cure, or music, or dancing. I think in the end, the closest thing to a cure for sadness is whatever works for you and there is no uniform answer for all people. There is only a constant journey; a road map with no destination, but thousands of stops, each one with the same name: happiness.

You should never feel bad for being prescribed and taking medication, and you should never feel bad for not wanting to. You shouldn’t feel bad for doing what you love, especially if it makes you happy. You should never feel bad for saying no when you don’t want to do something. Dancing, music, singing, playing, painting, drawing, cooking…anything that makes you feel happy and doesn’t hurt you or someone else in the long run could be your answer. Medicine is an answer. Mixed-media (meds, spiritual healing, etc.) can be an answer.

The only answer that is unacceptable is to hurt yourself in anyway. The world needs you, even if you don’t think so at that moment. Some day you’re going to do something no one else has ever done, even if it’s just a simple thought that you never voice. That thought could be the most important thing in the world. You could be the most important thing in the world to any number of people. The only answer that you should never accept as a truth are the bad thoughts that bother you when you can’t seem to push them away. Those thoughts aren’t solutions, they’re just the sadness trying to get you on it’s level. You don’t have to listen to it, because you are better than it is. You are better than it will ever be.

Don’t be ashamed to ask for help; if you fall and you can’t get back on your feet, there is someone willing to help you. All you have to do is ask. If you need someone to talk to, there is always someone. If you just need someone to come and tell you everything’s gonna be alright again, there is always someone to help you; sometimes you just have to look for them.

I know what it’s like to be sad, to feel hopeless and lost (after all, I’m a teenager. No one get’s upset like teenagers do). I don’t know what I’m doing in this world, but I do know that I’m going to do something. I don’t know if it will be big or great but I do know it will be important. I know if I ever need help, wherever I am, I’ll be able to ask for it. I hope that I’d always help if asked. I know that sometimes what I want when I am sad isn’t what I know will make me feel better, and so I can’t always trust myself to know best. Sometimes I have to step back and have someone else tell me where to go and how to put clothes on and get out of the house and do something, even if it’s for something as little as going to get a cup of tea and talk about things with a friend. I know that talking to people and interacting with people (as long as they’re the right people) can make almost anyone feel better, and I know that taking a break and turning up the music and dancing as if no one can see you is almost always a good answer.

I know that even when I’m sad, somewhere inside, I want to feel better. I know that when I’m sad, somehow, I’ll get back up again, even if I have to drag myself to where I have to be and force a smile until it’s real.

I know that I’m lucky and that not everyone has the family and friends that I do, but I also know there’s always a good person looking for someone to help out and talk to, and that all you have to do is look for them. I know that I’m important, and that you are too, and that you deserve to be content.

In the end, all I know is that we all deserve to be content and happy. I wish everyone could be as happy as I can be. I wish no one was sad, and while I know I can’t help everyone (I can’t even help myself sometimes) that doesn’t stop me wishing I could make everyone smile. If you’re reading this, I hope you smile.

I hope you smile, and laugh, and live as you wish. I hope you’re happy, and eating well. I hope you called your parents or your best friend to tell them you love them. I hope someone’s called you at 2 am to tell you that you’re great, and lovely, and that you make them happy. I hope you’ve made friends with a random person on the street, and I hope your coffee isn’t burnt.

So, most basically, I hope you aren’t sad or upset or hurting. I hope you are happy, or trying to be. I hope you are content where you are, or trying to find a place where you can be. I hope you will be exactly where you need to be in the end.


Isa Denney Strother

Isa is an American teen living in Christ Church, she dreams of living in Europe and making music. Her life is an adventure and there is always the option for, “Just one more,”.

Chiara Baldassarri

Chiara Baldassarri is a 26-year-old Italian photographer. She loves to represent her emotions through digital and analog photography. Find her on Flickr, TumblrFacebook, Behance, and her website.

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