Is Sadness better than Disappointment?

The following Video Blog contains the written blog below plus my random thoughts;

I saw a familiar ad online which read;
“Feeling depressed and nothing has worked? Take part in this clinical study. Possible compensation.”

Now having had a lot of experience with Depression, I can tell you the phrasing on that is both depressing and disheartening. While I am glad they don’t promise compensation (because when you are depressed, the last thing you need is yet another empty promise) I’m ever so slightly annoyed they loosely promise it.

For any of us who know anything about Depression, we know we don’t bother setting ourselves up for any chance of disappointment. We don’t look at the word ‘possible’ as a positive possibility; we actually see it as a glaring negative reinforcing our ‘Why Bother?’ platform.

For the depressed person, life is one gigantic disappointment stepping on the face of mini disappointments. It is easier to stay in a state of sadness rather than attempt anything or risk the set-up and inevitable fall.

Sadness is sad. Sadness is gloomy. Sadness is depressing and ugly but one thing it doesn’t seem to be is very hard. Remember when they would try to tell you in school that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile? What a gigantic crock. I mean, it’s made enough impact to stick with me, but the reason it’s not applicable to a depressed person is because contrary to popular belief, we aren’t sitting around frowning. We just aren’t smiling. If you stay in a state of perpetual sadness, you aren’t doing anything really. You may be way past the point of crying, screaming and well on your way to being numb. Being numb requires almost no emotion. It’s pretty easy really.

What we don’t understand is that Depression is a war waging on the inside. Stomach acid from anxiety eats away at more organs than we know. Inactivity affects many parts of our body. The bigger problem is we have to actually care in order to turn it around and when the ‘Why Bother’ phrase is front and center, ‘possible compensation’ isn’t going to trigger much of a reaction.

So, I have very little confidence that this clinical trial will do much to help. If they actually knew enough about Depression to hold a study, they would have known the phrasing isn’t going to do much at all.

Getting out of Depression requires a series of steps which are often different for each individual and I think one of the common threads between depressed people is the fear of disappointment. ‘Why Bother?’ means just that. If we think nothing good can come of something, we don’t try anything. In some cases we don’t have the serotonin to get up in front of the decision.

My initial question, ‘Is Sadness better than Disappointment?’ is a question I asked because I had a solid answer during my Depression. It wasn’t yes and it wasn’t no. The answer was, ‘Who cares?’ I sometimes would mix it up by answering, ‘Oh, I’m sorry…were you talking to me?’ it reminds me of Robert Downey Jr in Tropic Thunder where he says, ‘Were you talking this whole time?’

It’s almost impossible to answer any question if you don’t care. Think of how many times your spouse or partner has asked you a question where you didn’t care. They want a Yes or No, so you throw them the one which will satisfy them the most so you can go back to not caring. You want to get back to not caring as quickly as possible because it’s simply easier.

For me, sadness was actually the step right before not caring. I needed help from my Doctor (which I mentioned in previous blogs) to start caring again and then I had years where I pulled myself back up to caring again. Once I could care again, I could answer the question, but not before.

Sadness was way better than Disappointment. Disappointment didn’t make me sad, it made me sick. I had such a record-breaking number of frustrations in my life that I chose to not try anything. The way our bodies are made up, we have to actual do stuff to function. We have to try things to learn. We need to risk some areas to succeed in other areas.

The word ‘risk’ is very scary to a sad person. It’s better to pay $800 a month of your crappy apartment than risk setting up a mortgage where your payments could be the same. It’s similar with Depression where it’s not as bad as we think. The difference is we don’t want the responsibility, because we simply can’t take the risk, invisible, inflated or otherwise. It could make us sick.

Life happens in steps and stages. That is all we have to do at any one time. Once I figured out that my body wasn’t caring because it had some chemical issues inhibiting it from caring, I could start my journey back to trying out the possibilities again in life.
Of course life can be unnerving, sucky, unpredictable and unfair. But nobody promised it would be anything else.

If you too are afraid of taking a risk, maybe try a teaspoon of risk over a full cup. We don’t have to turn it all around today. We can give ourselves the permission to take it in Baby Steps.

If you haven’t seen the movie ‘What About Bob?’ you should really rent it. It’s funny and really valid in so many ways.

Baby steps to the door,
Karen :)

“...baby step onto the elevator... baby step into the elevator... I'm *in* the elevator.” ~Bill Murray in ‘What About Bob?’

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