I have met some of the warmest, wisest people online. One of my new Twitter friends, Carolyn McCray, is also a blogger; today she posted a beautiful essay about bittersweet memories; click HERE to read it. It reminded me of an important discovery I have made recently, so I am going to share it with you.
Everyone knows you're supposed to feel your feelings, right? After all, they're there for a reason. Well, I'm one of those people who LOVES to feel my happy feelings. Share your good news, invite me to a party, give me a piece of chocolate - I will squeal with excitement, jump up and down, spin in a circle. But tell me some bad news, break my heart, tell me I look fat in my jeans - and I will keep a smile on my face and SWALLOW my sorrow.
The problem with that is the misery isn't really gone; it is still there, in my body, just under the surface of consciousness, simmering. Give it enough time, add a little more heartache, and BAM! all that sadness comes to the surface. Only now it isn't something that can be dealt with in an hour or a day or a week; now it is full-blown depression, and you don't know what do with it. So you stay in bed all day. Or self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Or worse.
According to WebMD, almost twenty percent of adults suffer from depression. Click HERE if you think you might be one of them; help is available. But I am convinced that one of the best ways to head off the black monster is to simply feel your feelings. If something has happened to make you feel sad, acknowledge the despair, cry if you need to, write about it, talk to a friend. Sometimes, you simply can't avoid pain. You have to walk straight through it. But then it's in the past. And you can move forward, knowing that a better day is right around the corner.