Forget Temporary Fixes, The Only Way To Fight Sadness Is To Face It

by Joe Welkie

I have a friend who struggles with alcoholism.

He knows that it is a problem for him and that it's negatively affecting his life, but it seems like he is powerless against alcohol's will. However many times he has said that he will stop and he's serious this time, he always gives in to his addiction.

One day, I asked him why he drinks so much if he understands the potential negative consequences it could have on his life. He told me he drinks because sometimes, it helps him forget about how sad life is. That it serves as an escape from the grim realities of the world and helps him forget about life for awhile.

I've found that a lot of people who struggle with addiction or a vice have similar reasonings. The reason they drink, smoke, do drugs or buy expensive clothes is because they want to forget about how utterly sad life can be.

Most of us have something that makes us feel excited about life despite our dreams slowly dying, and during this time, we see some of our peers succeeding in ways that have eluded us so far.

I'll admit it: I have an escape, too. Since drinking and drugs don't really interest me, my vice is in buying shoes. I have quite a large collection that girls even find to be excessive.

Unfortunately, my shoe rack no longer has room on it. I have overfilled it and now, I again must face the harsh reality of life.

For a few weeks, I haven't been able to buy shoes due to a lack of room and a lack of funds. When I'm home alone, with no room and no money to buy shoes, I have no choice but to sit with my thoughts.

Thoughts are a funny thing; they can supply you with the most imaginative ideas that give people unparalleled success, and they can also devolve you and create epically elaborate nightmares.

Well, let's just say that I haven't yet come up with any world-changing innovations, so many of my thoughts are of doubt, insecurity and failure.

I moved to New York to chase my pipedream of being a comedian (look me up and help make me famous!). I worked as a comedian in college and thought it was a lot of fun, so I decided that it would be the career for me.

But, when the college dust settles and you head out to chase your dreams, you find that it isn't all fun and games. Dream acquisition requires a ton of hard work and yields a lot of failure that you must endure before achieving even a modicum of success.

So, it's easy to understand why people are more depressed than ever these days. People are chasing their dreams, failing and then facing looming debts that need to be paid.

Almost everyone with whom I come in contact isn't happy with where they are in life. We are told to never settle and to keep striving to achieve, but when you are faced with failure so often, it becomes difficult to work up the energy to go out and seize the day.

The next time you are sad; the next time the world kicks you in the gut; the next time you fail at your mission... embrace it. Face that negative energy head on and really feel it.

Don't try to escape it momentarily by going out and drinking or smoking another cigarette or buying another pair of shoes. Just face those feelings and be sad.

The thing about sadness is that it's a completely natural human emotion. So often, we lose at the game of life; however, a lot of other people do, too.

Do you think that our grandparents didn't feel sadness? Most of them grew up during The Great Depression. Sadness has been around since the beginning of time and we must relearn how to use it to our advantage in an age where distractions are constant.

Sadness can be a great motivator. If you are feeling sad, it means you aren't totally happy with something in your life. What is a better motivator for changing your life than constant sadness?

While in a down mood, I have told myself that everything will change tomorrow. While that obviously is an unrealistic goal, it at least puts a motivating notion in your mind.

The change might even be as simple as doing the dishes. Once the dishes are done, you'll feel a great sense of accomplishment that can serve as a building block for bigger goals, like getting a promotion, a better job or taking the comedy world by storm.

Sadness is an emotion that you will never escape. Even some of the brightest minds and most successful people have struggled with depression. Just remember that you have the option to make things better. You can face sadness head on and emerge victorious.

You can accomplish great things once you realize that sadness will never completely fade as you can always find something in your life that isn't ideal.

The only way to fight sadness is to face it, examine why it's happening and then do something to change your situation. We all have agency, so stop feeling powerless against these normal human emotions and go out into the world to crush them.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It