Why I am Grateful For my Sadness

There is this song that I love called “The Story,” one particular line says “all of my friends who think that I am blessed, they don’t know that I am a mess.” I am always a sucker for positivity, I love looking at the brighter side of things, thinking that there is a rainbow in the midst of the storm, thinking that the glass half full, thinking that “there is a reason” for whatever is happening. 

I try to be as supportive as I can so that I can be a blessing for people, to offer solutions instead of problems. When I decided to become a psychotherapist, I thought about changing the world. My motto was : “even if I am not able to change the whole world, I can at least help change one person’s world.” I have the energy to move mountains, to manage a home, to be a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a psychotherapist and a friend.

Then, there are days where my well is dry, where the sky is gray, where the sun is nowhere to be found.  Those are the days I never tell anyone about, those are the days I don’t want anyone to see me. These are the days where my vulnerability reigns and where tears flow down my face without an end.  There is a huge abyss where I have fallen, and no matter how many times I try to get out, I can’t because I continue falling deeper and deeper.

These are the days that sadness has taken over, triggered by the many reasons we call life.  I am tired, my temper is short, my children’s voices are all loud at the same time, and those rainbows have disappeared. I lay in bed and close my eyes to pretend nothing exists, but the thoughts in my head ruminate screaming about all the things I haven’t done, all the things I’m not good at and how good I am at failing. My husband tries to cheer me up, to console me, but no matter what he does, the tears won’t stop falling.  These are the dark days that I am grateful for my sadness. 

Those days full of sadness provide a sense of despair, a sense of hopelessness, and a sense of melancholy. Yet, in the midst of all these unwanted feelings and emotions, somehow, I manage to  find hope and compassion. I am not only talking about hope and compassion for those around me, but for myself. I look at my life and try to restructure the thoughts that I am having and replacing them with gratitude.  I look at my children and the love they offer me, genuine, pure and passionate love. I look at the flower my son picks from the ground, from the picture he drew to symbolize our family, to the dance and funny faces trying to get a smile from my face.  I look in the mirror and realize that I am no longer in my 20s and my body feels it.

I hear a voice behind me tell me that I am beautiful, that I am more than just a body, but my mind fights it. As I continue to fight my sabotaging mind, that hope and compassion start rising.  This is the body that died for a minute and fought to stay alive. This is the body that contains a brain that doctors said might be damaged. I am a woman and all of the lines across my face really do tell a story. All of the stretch marks across my abdomen are a story of all the different growth spurts my children went through to come into my arms. 

My life has not been easy, yet somehow, I manage to get up every time that I fall. I am bruised, my body hurts and my mind looks like I’ve been through war.  I always say that God is a jokester, letting you go through these moments of pain and sadness to be able to understand the human condition in a more empathetic and compassionate way.  Sometimes, I close my eyes and I just laugh as I cry, I ask God to use this pain, to use me as a tool to help guide others outside of the darkness. Sometimes we may feel that our inner light has completely diminished, but even if a spark of light remains, we are not fully in the dark. 

So why am I grateful for my sadness? Because of sadness, we appreciate the moments of joy, because of sadness we are grateful for those moments of happiness. Because of this sadness, I understand my patient’s pain, I understand that they are more than a diagnosis, more than a mental health condition. I see a person that needs understanding and hope to believe that the sun will shine tomorrow.

Even when there is only a spark of light left in me, I’ll let that little light of mine shine as bright as it can; because as long as I let it shine, I know that I will never be completely in the dark!