What color is sadness?

sadnessSadness feels gray to me. At times it’s an all-encompassing cloud of dirty cotton batting from which I am unable to emerge.  When life brings sadness to my doorstep, it is hard to know how to answer it. Having recently experienced a bout of intense grayness due to the death of my dad, it became necessary to once again acquaint myself with the tried and true strategies. Below are a few thoughts I had…

  • Crying.  I am a truly ugly cry-er – all blotchy, red and twisted during the cry; all blotchy, red and swollen after.  Thankfully, however, in the midst of true grief/sorrow, how it all looks is of very little concern. Crying  —   do it!
  • Don’t forget to eat.  Sadness seems to hollow you out and shroud your desire to take care of yourself.  Having some basic foodstuffs/comfort foods around is a good idea – chicken noodle soup, saltines, fruit, maybe a meatloaf.
  • Invest in some actual facial tissue (Kleenex, etc…).  It is much kinder on a frequently tear-stained face and drippy nose.  Do not rely on toilet tissue or paper towels – OUCH!
  • When you feel like it, talk to someone about your sadness.  Regardless of what caused the gray, talking about it can provide some clarity, a release, a sense of not being alone.  Situational sadness is one thing.  For unremitting sadness that prevents day-to-day functioning in the long-term, do not be afraid or embarrassed to ask for additional help (from family doctor, clergy, mental health professional for example).
  • Humor!  This might seem counter-intuitive, but – HOLY COW – it can make a huge dent in the weight of sorrow.  For some reason (and this might just me and probably is) gallows humor can be particularly effective.
  • Try to leave your bed, house, yard if at all possible.  Sitting in a park, walking around a grocery store or visiting the local zoo and seeing life happen around you can take you out of yourself a little and offer a respite from the true work of taking out the gray.
  • If you are a music lover (and even if you aren’t) try turning on some tunes.  All types of music genres can be of assistance – to help you cry, give you energy, make you move, to let you know other people have felt as bad as you are feeling now.  A perennial favorite of mine is the song below (Hang on Little Tomato by Pink Martini – there is a long musical intro and then the singing starts.  It’s nice.).

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