How Can I Stop Being So Sad?
“When everyone else falls apart, I’m there to fix their problems and make them feel better. But then—and this is the part that few people see—I go home to my room and cry.”—Kellie.
“When I’m down, I isolate myself. If I get invited somewhere, I come up with an excuse not to go. I do a good job at hiding my sadness from my family. They think I’m fine.”—Rick.
HAVE your thoughts ever been similar to those of Kellie or Rick? If so, don’t hastily conclude that there’s something wrong with you. The fact is, everyone gets sad now and then. Even faithful men and women of the Bible did.—1 Samuel 1:6-8; Psalm 35:14.
In some cases, you may know why you are sad; in other cases, you may not. “You don’t have to be in a horrible situation to feel sad,” says 19-year-old Anna. “It can come on at any time, even if your life is trouble free. It’s weird, but it happens!”
Regardless of the cause—or even if there doesn’t seem to be one—what can you do when sadness holds you in its grip? Try the following:
1. Talk about it. In the midst of his turmoil, Job said: “I will speak in the bitterness of my soul!”—Job 10:1.
Kellie: “The relief I feel after talking to someone is amazing. Finally, someone knows what I’m going through. They can lower the rope and pull me out of the pit—saved at last!”
Suggestion: Below, write the name of a friend in whom you could confide when sadness overwhelms you.
2. Write about it. When sadness clouds your outlook on life, you might want to try putting your thoughts on paper. In his inspired psalms, David sometimes expressed deep sadness. (Psalm 6:6) Writing about such feelings can help you to “safeguard practical wisdom and thinking ability.”—Proverbs 3:21.
Heather: “Writing helps me to organize the mental clutter that accumulates from sadness. When you can express your feelings and sort them out, the sadness is less overwhelming.”
Suggestion: Use the chart on page 93 to help you come up with better responses to trying situations. This will help you to relieve your sadness.
3. Pray about it. The Bible says that if you pray about your concerns, ‘the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your heart and your mental powers.’—Philippians 4:6, 7.
Esther: “I was trying to figure out why I felt so down, and I couldn’t. I asked Jehovah to help me to be happy. I was sick of being sad when I had no reason to be. I finally broke the cycle. Never underestimate the power of prayer!”
Suggestion: Use Psalm 139:23, 24 as a pattern for your own prayer to Jehovah. Pour out your heart, and ask him to help you identify the root of your sadness.
In addition to the suggestions above, you have a valuable resource in God’s Word, the Bible. Filling your mind with upbuilding thoughts that can be gleaned from Bible accounts can have a positive effect on your feelings. (Psalm 1:1-3) Suggestions for upbuilding Bible reading can be found by considering the “Role Model” pages in each volume of this book. On page 227 of Volume 2, you will even see how the apostle Paul successfully dealt with negative feelings that he sometimes experienced because of his imperfections.
When Sadness Won’t Go Away
“On some mornings,” says Ryan, “I feel that it would be easier just to stay in bed and avoid having to get up and face another pointless day.” Ryan suffers from clinical depression, and he’s not alone. Studies suggest that about 1 in 4 youths suffers from some type of depression before reaching adulthood.
How can you find out if you suffer from depression? Some symptoms include a pronounced change in mood and behavior, social isolation, diminished interest in almost all activities, a significant change in eating habits and sleeping patterns, and intense feelings of worthlessness or unwarranted guilt.
Of course, nearly everyone has one or more of those symptoms at some time or another. But if symptoms persist for more than a couple of weeks, why not talk to your parents about getting a checkup? A physician can help determine if your sadness has a medical cause.*
If you do suffer from clinical depression, there is nothing to be ashamed of. With treatment, many sufferers have begun to feel better—perhaps the best they have felt in a long time! Whether your sadness is caused by depression or not, remember the comforting words of Psalm 34:18: “Jehovah is near to those that are broken at heart; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.”
What if your sadness is so overwhelming that you have considered ending your life?
When sadness is prolonged, some youths think about ending their life. If you have entertained such thoughts, talk to a trusted adult without delay.—For more information, see Chapter 14 of this book.
“Jehovah is near to those that are broken at heart; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.”—Psalm 34:18.
Describe how you feel when you’re sad and what you think may be at the root of your sadness. A month later, read what you wrote. Have your feelings on the matter changed? If so, write down what helped you.
DID YOU KNOW . . . ?
It’s OK to cry, even if you’re a boy. At one point in his life, King David admitted: “At night my bed and pillow are soaked with tears.”—Psalm 6:6, Contemporary English Version.
To help lift my spirits, I can engage in the following activities: ․․․․․
Associating with the following friends will help me alleviate sadness: ․․․․․
What I would like to ask my parent(s) about this subject is ․․․․․
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
● Are there benefits to shedding tears?
● How can being around others help you cope with sadness?
[Blurb on page 96]
“When I’m sad, I need to avoid isolating myself. Yes, I may need to be alone to process my thoughts and maybe have a good cry. But after that, I know I need to be around people to get my mind off whatever was making me sad.”—Christine
[Chart/Pictures on page 93]
To Relieve Your Sadness
Complete the chart
A teacher makes me feel worthless
I give up trying to succeed in that class
Clue: See Chapter 20 of this book
A friend ignores me
Spread negative rumors about the person
Clue: See Chapter 10 of Volume 2
My parents are divorcing
Harbor resentment toward one or both parents
Clue: See Chapter 4 of this book
[Picture on page 95]
With assistance and effort, you can get out of a deep pit of sadness