sadness as safety

The idea that there is safety in sadness sounds funny, right? I mean who would willingly choose to stay in Debbie Downer mode, rather than being happy? 

Well, me. Recently I have come to discover that depression is sort of like a blanket. It becomes this feeling of generalized apathy, where anything and everything is pretty bleak. People, places and things all blend into each other, creating a boring haze of reality. I want to feel interested in my life, but even my greatest passions seem meaningless. There are things I could do that I know create change, but I can't muster up the energy. I am tired, I am cranky and my feelings seem so very permanent. 

"I think you are addicted to your suffering. Like some part of you subconsciously enjoys being miserable," my coach tells me through my smartphone. 

I had heard that before. Not directed towards me, but in articles and out of other people's mouths. Rationally it sounded sort of insane, but since when does the subconscious make sense. As I started to dig, I found what she saying to hold some weight. During a Reiki session, it was as if I was being shown all of the positive aspects of my life. Externally, my existence is pretty great. I have a lot of support, creativity, opportunities for service, humor, a cozy house, quality friendships and freedom. And yet, internally, it doesn't always feel like this. As I saw all of the goodness in my mind's eye, I felt a deep sense of dread. A sort of too good to be true, everything that feels nice will be taken away sort of sensation. 

Is it common to fear happiness? How many of us stay stuck in our suffering to avoid the inevitability of change? Is it better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all?

In my case, maybe not. It seemed that depression had really just been covering something else all along- fear. The fear of being hurt. Loving and losing. Repeating pains of the past where everything I knew to be good and true was smashed. I think that after great tragedy, we can bury down under layers of trauma and wounds. We can unconsciously choose to close ourselves, to mute our receptivity. The only problem with this is that selective numbing doesn't really exist. If we shut down our anxiety, we most likely shut down our excitement and joy as well. 

Simply put, I am scared to be happy. I am afraid to get comfortable with loving my life, because eventually everything leaves. Break ups occur and people die and shit happens. As I lift up this vail of sadness, I have to face the fear. The impermanence of life. And be willing to risk the full spectrum of human emotion in order to enjoy my short time on the planet. I didn't realize that the thing I kept on praying for was the thing I feared the most.

Being a human being is weird, isn't it? 


Photo: unknown

Kenna Conway