I was not very happy my first semester of college. In fact, I was downright miserable for most of it. I didn’t know very many people, I was lonely, and I worried my life was passing me by.
As per my fashion, I took out most of this malcontent on myself. But occasionally, I would handle things in a more productive way. I would, as I called it then, cultivate an atmosphere of melancholia.
I laugh at it a bit now. I would turn off my overhead lights and light some candles. I would then blare “Everybody Hurts” through my headphones for sometimes over an hour. I wasn’t trying to make myself feel worse. I was just trying to honor the feelings that were there.
Now, years later, I look back on those days, and I see some wisdom. Wisdom that I, unfortunately, forgot for too many years.
Now when I get sad, I start to panic and fight it. This was a hard earned response following years of struggling with depression. But hard earned or not, it’s not always very helpful. Sometimes it just leaves me reeling, and worrying about a potential fall, and feeling miserable.
That’s where I found myself tonight.
I have been running around for weeks now without much of a break. The last couple of days have been tough as my littlest ones haven’t gotten naps and their tempers have gone up as my patience has gone down. My oldest went off to second grade which is quite exciting but also a bit emotionally heavy for a sensitive mama, and I’m just trying to regain my balance.
And so when I found myself in a quiet living room and a couple of hours of alone time spread out in front of me, I started to feel a bit sad.
And for once, I didn’t want to fight it. I didn’t want to pounce on it and try to logic my way out of it. I didn’t want to try to look at things from a different perspective. I didn’t even want to sit here and worry that it’s just the beginning of a big downward slide.
Instead, I just wanted to sit here and be, melancholia and all.
Maybe that girl of 18 knew some things that I forgot over the years. I think I’ll try it her way tonight. But perhaps I’ll leave the REM packed away in its box.
Sad young woman photo available from Shutterstock