Tuesday, August 11, 2015

It's Alright to Cry

"Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you."
~John Green, The Fault in our Stars

There's a difference between being sad and being depressed. This is a conversation I had with my kids yesterday. Even though Webster's first definition is "a state of feeling sad" that seems a bit too vague. And too often we use the term depressed for what is essentially sadness.

When something bad happens in life we can get sad. We should get sad. We should mourn our losses, cry over heartbreaks and regret mistakes for the amount of time it takes to start healing and move on with life.

Yesterday I had two separate children crying on my shoulder for two very different reasons. One was sad because for the fourth year in a row all of her best friends are on different teams in school. The fact that every year she adds a new best friend to the fold was not holding water. The only thing holding water was my pants as she sobbed on my lap.

She needed that. She needed to cry, get it out, and go for ice cream.

I have another child who struggles with depression and the sadness is something he lives with and fights with every day. Some days are harder than others. Yesterday was a hard day.

So last night we stayed up late and had a long talk about being sad verses being depressed. They can share the same body, absolutely, but they can also be very different.

I struggled with depression in my late teens and then during a bad marriage, but both were situational depression. Once clear of the situations I was no longer depressed. My child feels that he is doomed. His reasoning is that, on occasion, something happens that makes me sad. But that's the key, sad, not depressed.

Everyone in my generation remembers that Free to be You and Me told us, "It's alright to cry. Crying gets the sad out of you."

It's okay to be sad. It can be cleansing and healing. Just know the difference between a sadness and a depression in yourself, your children, your spouse, or anyone you care for and get the help they need.

How I would define depression is a sadness on many levels that just never seems to go away. It can come about situationally or chemically and it usually requires outside help to conquer. Don't be afraid to get it.

But if you're just sad then be sad. Then try to be happy.

"That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt."
~John Green, The Fault in our Stars

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