Wednesday, November 16, 2011

why I write sometimes about being sad

I'm feeling Peace, again, of the 'mostly' kind. It's a welcome feeling. It's kind of fluid, kind of wobbly, mostly kind of nice.

This is what it looks like
I think.

It looks a little bit like acceptance. Like letting life Be.
Because life keeps on Being, doesn't it? No matter what.
It Be's and Be's and Be's. And before you know it, you're Being along with it. You can't help yourself. Life's like a jig you hear—you can't help but tap your feet.

'Mostly Peace' moves, with moods that shift like the wind. A gloomy, gusty wind, sometimes. Other times, a low breeze, calm and soothing. Wind over lake water, bringing the morning calls of birds. Sometimes it brings rain—majestic, maybe, or thunderous. Sometimes it's a rain to dance to. Sometimes, it's just rain.

'Mostly Peace' looks like

looking around. And noticing

all the love that's here, in the room and outside it.

There's a whole lot of love, I've noticed. How beautiful that is to see.

'Mostly Peace' isn't 'All-the-way-through Peace.' I'd be lying if I said, 'Hey! All I see is sun!'

Because I think I've come to realise something very important.

Depression, that mysterious thing—the thing that can topple a person, bring them to their knees—the thing that sometimes (maybe even Often, or Usually) you get to leave far behind—is a part of me. As much as any other part of me might be.

I used to be so afraid of that. I have been as afraid of being sad as someone might be of shark attacks or spiders or bears.

I believed that sadness, suffering a pervasive, often inexplicable sadness some days, and succumbing to it some days, meant I'd failed. I'd failed at being Normal. At being happy. At Life.

But that's not possible.

Because look: I am here. Aren't I?

Living it.

I get out of bed, almost every single day. I cook, I eat, I talk, I laugh, most of the time. I love my children to the ends of the earth, all of the time. I love with all my heart. Faithfully and foolishly. Giddily and always. This much and this big.

I walk my dog and don't walk my dog. I weep and I don't weep. I feel hollowed out and devastated and then I don't.

And still: I am here.

Even on the hardest days.

And in this moment, I want to explain why I write about this thing called Depression.

This thing that is Being Sad.

I write about it because

living, truly living,

matters so much to me.

I write about it
because I think,
If even one person reads this and feels less alone or hollow, then my words have done something

I write about it
because there are lots of us.
If you close your eyes and feel the threads of us, here we are—a translucent web, connected. Truly, you and I are not alone.

I write about it,
because what I care most about, and believe is possible

is the getting UP.

Finding the joy.

I write about that often, don't I?

More than that—I write how I find it.

Sometimes it's in something as simple as stirring porridge. Sometimes it takes a beach and a dog and holding hands with someone small. Sometimes it's hearing a bird call or seeing how light moves through a leaf, altering it. Sometimes it's in a movie, or a moment on the couch with your hands around a cup of tea. Or in talking to people you love, or sharing a meal, or getting a hug just when you need it most.

Joy is there. It's always there, waiting.

I write about looking UP.
Because I have spent months sometimes, looking down. Look up, I tell myself. I say it and say it. Look up, if you can. Even if it's only a little. Look up.

And I write about living

as much and as big as I can,

even if some days the Big is kind of small.
Even if all I have inside are small steps.

Those are wonderful. Those steps can be the most important ones you take.

I write about it all because I am so very glad for This.

This Peace, and Mostly Peace, and Elusive Peace, and the Peace that comes and surprises me just when I think I might never see it again. It's waiting there,
a lot like Joy.

I think sometimes they sit together, you know? Peace and Joy. Like two old men at the bus stop. Just waiting for you to pass by, and pick them up.



  1. So many people in my life are touched by depression, and your thoughts help me understand a bit better what that person next to me might be feeling right now. It is so easy to disregard someone for not being who I think they should be "for me" right now. I strive to be more compassionate, and your thoughts help me be that person.

  2. Hey Lovely

    Thanks for sharing

    I think I need to pop past that bus stop soon

  3. Helena, this was beautiful, just beautiful...and just what I needed this dreary, rainy day. I feel the inexplicable sadness too sometimes and have learned to remember that peace is just around the corner. I like your analogy of peace and joy hanging out together at a bus stop; I will keep that picture in mind next time I'm sad, it's sure to bring a smile to my face and sometimes that's all it takes to turn the tide, you know?

  4. Everything you write is beautiful, even when you write about the sad. Finding the joy everyday and looking up is a perfect way to lift oneself out of it though. Wish I could hug you in person, but for now sending you a spiritual hug filled with healing LOVE. xoxoxoxox

  5. I appreciate reading your words SO MUCH, Helena! I understand the sad very well, and your words often bring me perspective that I need. Thank you for that.
    I am so happy to read that you are in a better place now :)

  6. Helena, I love the way you express yourself in writing. I totally love this: "even if some days the Big is kind of small" and so much more, but for some reason this line made me grin out loud. Much love and peace to you!

  7. Another wonderful post Helena. The few minutes I lose myself in your words every few days are special indeed - no matter what the content. Happy, sad, up, down, busy, still... your words nourish me. Thankyou.

  8. Your words bring me UP, Helena. You make that translucent web visible, palpable, and comforting. Thank you for your talent and generosity and honesty. I love you.

  9. Everyone has 'sad' some more than others. You write about your 'sad' with a beauty that touches my heart and soul. I do not believe that yours words, the words that you write each post, could be as beautiful and soaring and full of joy and brimming with happiness if you didn't have the 'sad' days. Hugs Helena and thank you for sharing so much of you.

    "Finding the joy" ..yes and yes

  10. Beautiful Helena, and while I feel sad that your spirit swims in the darkness sometimes, I also know it is your depth of feeling that brings the brightness too. Much love to you friend

  11. I stumbled upon your blog and this post seems as though we are in the same mind. It is nice to hear other people speak about "the unspeakable". Many people do not understand and think you should just put on a smile and quit complaining! Nice to hear others put it into words. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Today I read this blog post for the third time and I thought of something amazing. Sharon and Dominick were standing in my backyard this summer, and Sharon said, "I love that blog on your site, 'Respect of Learning,' and I said, "That's Helena's blog" and Dominic said, "Eric's wife?" They were gobsmacked. They love the blog like I do, and they didn't know it was you. And here we are, we three women, you, Sharon and I, connected by the men in our lives, and connected by these blogs, like we were three women in a tight community yet we're flung as far away from each other as we could be.

    Thank you for everything you write, and for HOW you write it.


I love hearing from you! Thank you for your heartfelt, thoughtful responses—they lift me, and give me light.