I have come to realise during the events of the last few weeks that it’s very rare that I feel sad. Annoyed, bored, tired, angry, frustrated, anxious, all those things yes, but pure, chest-achingly hollow sadness, not so much.

Sadness is a funny emotion. Often we try to play it down, attaching it to the word ‘just’ – ‘I just feel a bit sad, it’s nothing really’ – and yet sadness is a very powerful thing. It confuses us because it makes you feel so empty, like your insides are missing and your body is trying to collapse down onto itself, leaving you unable to breathe. It takes you outside your body and shows you yourself, going about your daily life, seemingly devoid of emotion.

Sad squirrel

It’s sneaky too. You’re busy, surrounded by people, feeling pretty much OK, and then for no apparent reason, whoosh, there it is, filling you like a swirling gas and vacuum packing your chest cavity. The pressure builds and you realise your face is wet before you even knew you were going to cry – no dramatic sobs, just tears sort of spilling silently out of your eyes.

The fact that sadness is so often associated with a physical loss confounds the issue and adds to that feeling of having a void to fill. I filled mine alone one night over the weekend by watching Hannibal. I hate horror films or anything gruesome, but was hoping that scaring myself might help to fill the space, that fear might overpower sadness and take over my head.

It didn’t really work. I closed my eyes at the really horrible bits and fear never stood a chance.

Perhaps the only thing to do with the sadness is to just acknowledge it and let it be, stare it out calmly until it gives up and goes away.

I’m staring hard. It had better blink soon.



  1. 24 April, 2014 / 6:57 am

    Would love to say it gets easier… the unfortunate ‘sad days’ will just hit you for a moment out of nowhere. Even knowing what I do about my recent ex, I still miss and the nicer times we had. Easier said than done, but get back on the horse. They got Maverick straight up flying again. Grieve but remember you have to take life by the horns and enjoy it. Xx

  2. 24 April, 2014 / 7:22 am

    Time will help heal wounds, but it’s painful until that happens. Hope you feel better soon.

  3. 24 April, 2014 / 10:18 am

    Sadness is indeed sneaky. It comes in waves when you least expect it. But it does become a more manageable shape in time. Or perhaps you just get more practised at packing it away.

  4. 24 April, 2014 / 12:10 pm

    It’s a total bugger Jo.You did the brave thing, so that was good. But it takes time to adjust to a change that dramatic. Hugs x

  5. 24 April, 2014 / 12:14 pm

    I think that last bit is really wise – acknowledge it and let it be. My counsellor once told me I should ‘tolerate’ negative emotions (my standard tactic is to try and fight them), and I like that word – it says ‘I don’t like you, and I want you to go away, but I’m not going to get myself all stressed about making it happen’. The sadness will (note: ‘will’ not ‘might’) fade – probably very slowly and with little blips where it feels worse – in its own time. Until then, be kind to yourself and grieve in whatever way you need to grieve.

  6. 24 April, 2014 / 3:44 pm

    We all need a good cry every now and again. x x When you’re having a shit time it’s really exhausting to play it down constantly x don’t feel bad for feeling bad xxx

  7. Simon Howes
    24 April, 2014 / 6:48 pm

    I in the camp that says a good wallow every now and then is fine. If the sadness is there, accept it. Find ways to get through, lots of junk food and some weepy films, a spending spree on Amazon. What ever works for you. Accept the sadness, have a good cry and then move on until next time.

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