Chasing Away the Blues

Looking back, it appears that I am prone to feeling the blues. Not just the music, although I really do love me some Robert Johnson. No, I am prone to feeling just a little sad. A bit melancholy. Exploration of the shadows. Negative expectations.

In fact, it surprises me that other people don’t experience patches of sadness. These moods arrive unexpectedly – sometimes at the pinnacle of good times, I think, “Something terrible is bound to happen. I wonder what it will be. I hope it’s not beyond handling.” I imagine how it would feel to be at the funeral of one of my children, or what I would do if my husband were disabled.

When my youngest daughter was seven years old, she was critically ill. I remember not being surprised, saying to my husband, “I do not think she will live. God takes the best ones, always.”

He was horrified. Absolutely disbelieving that I could even think such things. But, it’s just how my mind works. It comforts me in some strange way to imagine the worst thing I can think of, and then to come up with a plan. A coping method. If I can imagine the pain in advance, it won’t be quite as terrible when it hits.

So, you see, I just naturally think darkly. Not necessarily dark like horror films (I hate them, reality is scary enough!) but dark like bad things will happen and we will have to deal. Somehow.

My sad days are not always filled with horrific imaginings. Sometimes it’s a much lower level of blues. Sometimes, I can’t quite figure out why it feels as if sadness is just tugging at the edges of my consciousness. Why an otherwise unremarkable day feels just a little gray.

On these sad days, there are several things I try to do:

Accomplish something. It doesn’t matter what – it could be cleaning one room thoroughly, or finishing a project, paying bills, running errands, whatever needs to be done. A sense of overcoming an obstacle is helpful to dispelling the gray.

Make someone else feel good about what they are doing.Somehow, when you point out the good another person is doing, you are more likely to take it easy on yourself.

Stop whatever you are doing and look for something beautiful. It doesn’t matter if it is a favorite work of art, a beautiful sky, a perfect child, or a divine meal. Viewing something that speaks to you can either push you on over the edge to full-blown sadness or it can help you remember there is a beautiful world out there.

Let it go. Sit in your favorite chair, drink your favorite beverage, read a pointless book, surf the internet with no plan, watch a silly movie…just quit thinking and let your brain rest. It might work. It might not. But it is certainly worth a shot.

Talk to a friend. Preferably someone a little distant from your issues, someone who will let you bitch and whine then tell you to suck it up and get down to business or who will tell you everything will be okay. Just talk to someone you trust and who won’t mind your silliness. Friends are awesome.

Spoil yourself a little. Get a pedicure. Buy a new book. Eat something you love. Brush off a chore in favor of a walk. There is the possibility that this one will backfire because you might end up feeling guilty over whatever you don’t do or over spending a bit of money. However, a small, carefully considered gift-to-you might work wonders for your mood.

If none of those things work, then it’s just time to endure a bit of gloom. As long as you know that it will pass and tomorrow, or the day after, you’ll be okay, it will be just fine to feel a bit sad for no real reason.

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