Everyone needs a shoulder to cry on or a person to turn to for emotional support. Here, I give my take on sadness and how, at times, it feels like a burden or an inconvenience.
Ever had a moment where you were breaking down and in need of healing? There you are in your dark place and you think of reaching out to someone so you draft a text. You re-read your outcry and pause only to delete it.
Or worse, you find the courage to call and don’t get an answer?
I feel like there’s never a convenient time to be sad.
I’m not alone.
A lot of people feel their sadness is a burden.
A Tragic Tale
A year ago, my brother committed suicide. I still remember the day I found out: It must’ve been 7 o’clock in the morning because I was getting my daughter ready for school when I got a phone call that my brother died. The caller found out through a series of reposts, shares, and “r.i.p”s on Facebook. I was numb. I
didn’t couldn’t react.
Part of it was the shock of disbelief. The other part was holding out until I could confirm what happened to him.
I thanked the caller and reached out to the only person that I knew would have the answers: my father.
I remember making my way to the kitchen and asking him what happened and that’s when he told me my brother, Ronald, had shot himself.
I managed to let out an “oh my God, what!?” and then I completely lost it.
All of my calm, cool composure completely melted away; it didn’t matter that I was a Mom or that it was a weekday, or that I had plans for my morning. I completely lost myself to my heartbreak.
Suddenly, my daughter walked into the room and asked what happened and her voice brought me back to the reality that this was not the time and place to cry and break. I had a child who was watching and this was not a convenient time to be sad. I tried to ask for space or privacy but it was too late, the mask had melted away and she had already been a witness.
Losing a loved one to suicide leaves you with a lot of unanswered questions and doubt:
Did I love them enough?
Should I have tried harder to make them feel loved?
You’re left wondering where you failed and what you
could should have done better.
I always think about his life leading up to that point. Being a male of color, I would imagine that it was hard for him to find a space for his sadness.
I wonder how many times he tried to reach out or confess his sadness only to be rejected or overlooked.
So many people are suffering and they keep this suffering to themselves out of fear of being a burden or not being taken seriously. How many outcries are ignored only to lead to substance abuse or worse: suicide? I feel like this is especially true for men of color whose portrayal of masculinity is ofttimes chucked up to maintaining a tough exterior; they are raised to believe that feelings don’t matter. Emotions are considered “feminine” and a sign of weakness. In my experience, they are taught that emotion threatens the idea of “being a man”.
But nothing is further than the truth.
Allowing yourself to feel takes bravery. Anyone can pretend. It takes courage to stay true to yourself. It takes courage to reach out for help.
Life Through Brand New Eyes
Since this experience, I take sadness/depression a lot more seriously and have noticed that people take the sadness of others very personally; being angry or peeved when they don’t hear from people on their time all the while not knowing what’s happening behind closed doors.
Or rolling their eyes whenever there’s a shift in tone and someone tries to vent about what they have going on.
This can impact a person negatively and lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment, making them feel like they should keep their feelings to themselves. I realize that it’s hard for people to think outside of their existence and being empathetic is a talent too few possess.
In a time where I was struggling with my own crisis’, I have lost friends due to my absence and lack of communication. I wish they would’ve taken the time to reach out instead of assuming it was an attack on their character.
You’re Not Alone
Whether it’s one in the morning or one in the afternoon, I hope that you have someone you can turn to. Everyone should have at least one person: whether it be your friend, a relative, or a licensed professional. When things are really bad? Use as many lifelines as you need. Depending on the severity of the crisis, I may reach out to all or a combination of the 3. Because I’m not alone. Life exists outside of those moments of turmoil and it’s important to be reminded of that.
So keep your head up! Put your best foot forward and in the event of sadness, know that you’re not a burden. Your feelings matter and you have options. There are people that will/can/do love and support you.