My sadness project

I started taking Zoloft when I was a 5-month-old mother. I had been depressed before, in adolescence and in college, but this was the first time I’d chosen medication. It worked. And now I’m slowly tapering off of my dose because I want to know what life is like without it. Will my long lost libido find its way home again? Can I be the woman and mother I want to be without it? I hope so.

I cut my dose in half back in December and my dear friend D had to remind me of that fact in January when I was puzzling over why I was zombie-ing out every night with television and a rotating assortment of carbohydrates. Now I’m down to 1/4 of what I used to take and will be Zoloft-free in a couple of weeks. And I feel a lot more sadness.

Since I live in a world that doesn’t save back much room or reverence for sadness, I’ve felt pushed to the margins lately. Like there’s a big glaring part of me that is not welcome. Thanks to my wonderful band of friends, it gets to leak out sometimes, like when I cried on C’s couch during her Easter party about losing my temper with J (he’s been expressing displeasure lately by throwing things at my face). But these are exceptions. A lot of the time, I hide my sadness and think there’s something wrong with me for feeling it.

I know sadness can make people uncomfortable. Hell, I’m uncomfortable writing this. But I think that if my feelings were allowed to take up more space, they would actually take up less.

In my experience, there is little that feels more cathartic or relieving than this: when someone you love fluffs up a nice soft spot for your melancholy and invites it to sit down and stay a while.

So in that spirit, I’m just going to go there.

Here, in all their glory, are my reasons for feeling sad today:

  1. I’m sad that it feels like I have to choose between depression and libido.
  2. I’m sad that J’s blankets and puzzles and diapers and a whole bunch of old photo album stuff is strewn across our kitchen and living room since we re-organized this weekend.
  3. I’m sad that we live in one of the most expensive housing markets on the planet Earth.
  4. I’m sad that my boobs are little withered sacks of their former selves and that my pants won’t button since I stopped breastfeeding J as much.

I welcome you to join in. Really. I’m guessing there may not be a ton of places where you’re allowed or encouraged to feel sad in your daily life either. So I would love it if you would use my little comment box as your personal sadness repository.

My sadness wants to make friends with yours.

98 thoughts on “My sadness project

  1. I think with all the challenges moms face today, sadness becomes a part of it. I am sad I have post-pregger belly I just can’t seem to get rid of and won’t even talk about the breasts. I also agree about the high cost of housing and living, sometimes I can’t believe what everything costs and wonder how we make ends meet.

  2. You enbody true grace- I am sad for friendships that are slipping away, that my son is soooo good at soccer but just stands around, my daughter throwing fits when I tell she can’t do something and for my mom not taking more time for herself…..

  3. Love you Steph! I think this is beautiful. I’m sad today that I have a job that bores me to death most days. I’m sad that I feel un appreciated and under utilized on a daily basis. I’m sad that at the current moment I don’t have alternative job opportunities. I’m sad that I’m so dependant on money and this job to pay my bills.

  4. First of all, my dear, thank you for sharing. I think this is a wonderful, important idea.
    Now, hold on…I’ve got a lot I’m ready to lay down here.
    + I’m sad that the wonderfully surprising guy I’ve started becoming friends with lives in another state and only comes to town for work, at which point he’s really busy. He couldn’t even come by and say hello today.
    + I feel I’ve squandered my potential; I feel it keenly, daily. I’m sad that my intelligence and creativity are scarcely utilized in my job and that this job is something a 33-year-old woman of my caliber shouldn’t have to do.
    + I’m sad that I feel like my life hasn’t started, won’t start, until I have a partner or a family, and I have no idea if that will ever happen.
    + I’m sad that I’m happy with myself physically, yet I can’t share myself with anyone else sexually (at this point) because of my commitment to my faith.
    + I’m sad that I feel I’m wasting my life in this town but am completely overwhelmed and at a loss for how to leave.
    + I’m sad that Japan was the first place I wasn’t eager to leave, yet it feels impossible to return.
    + I’m sad that I’m sad during spring, which is my favorite season.
    + I’m sad that I may have to spend another whole summer smelling my neighbors’ cigarette smoke all day long.

  5. Beautiful, Steph – I love sadness! No, I just love the honesty and vulnerability it take to express it. Thanks for opening up this forum. I’m mostly sad about finances:

    1) that I’ve blown all the money my grandmother graciously left me
    2) that in starting three new businesses with the intention of helping and healing people, my partner and I can’t afford groceries this week and have no idea where rent is coming from next week.
    3) that to deal with his financial stress my partner drinks, and to deal with mine I get angry at him.
    4) that in the midst of it all, we are still trying to bring a baby into this family – with no luck.

  6. Thanks so much for your honesty…it is truly beautiful. Today I am sad about the state of my relationship with my brother and his wife, and that I forgot to send their son a birthday present. It feels like they have disappeared from my life entirely and it is such a huge loss.

    I love you stephanie. and you are welcome to come over and cry on our couch any time.

  7. I don’t feel very sad today, it’s my birthday and I have been spoilt by my family, and my boobs also resembled withered sacks of their former selves after finishing breast feeding my twins but about a year later they came back well and truly
    and have now surpassed their former glory! So hang on in there…there is light! xxxx

  8. @Elise…I can help with groceries this week if you’re willing to accept my help. If so, email me your address. Seriously, no sweat. shepaints (at) gmail

  9. I love this. I read a book recently called Wild Comfort, and she has a Happiness Basket–she puts in, each day, a rumination about something that has made her happy. I was curious what a sad basket would look like. Here’s my sad basket.

    1. I’m sad that, yesterday, after feeling very calm and at peace in the wake of a vacation to Hawaii with my partner, the phrase “you’re a failure” crept in and didn’t want to leave.
    2. I’m sad that I slept badly last night because the phrase was still rolling around in my head, and I wanted to hop up and start doing things and thus, stop being a failure.
    3. In that vein, I’m sad that I’m tired but won’t let myself lie down today since I need to mitigate against failurehood.
    4. And I’m sad that I let myself feel those things initially because a friend, whom I adore, was sharing a success with me and I felt jealous and dwarfed beside her.

    Love you dear. Hoping we’re talking all this out tomorrow morning.

  10. Oh, susiemeserve, we are twins separated at birth. I ABSOLUTELY hear you on every single point.

    Me? I’m sad that despite having international recognition for my childcare blog, I haven’t got a job in childcare. I’m sad that caring so much doesn’t translate into freedom from financial stress. I’m sad that employers are scared of and threatened by my ability to be honest about problems. I’m sad that their reaction to my blog is to reject me, instead of looking at themselves and their centres and fixing what’s wrong so that children will get better care. I’m sad that I spend so much of my life feeling angry and helpless about this.

    I’m sad that my first novel hasn’t been published by anyone. I’m sad that my children’s stories haven’t been taken up either. I’m sad that the illustrator who was going to help me self-publish has disappeared off my horizon and another one hasn’t appeared. I’m sad that this can make me feel like my whole life is a chasm of underachievement.

    I’m sad that my partner doesn’t understand how much I need to be on my computer for support and companionship and work. I’m sad he didn’t get his timing right and grab me when I was most in love with him so our relationship could be free of resentment (mine) and bewilderment (his). I’m sad that I’m constantly trying to recapture the energy I felt at the beginning, when he was dragging his heels in committing to a life together. (What am I saying? I don’t admit these things to anyone. Our relationship is sunshine and light, remember? I’m sad I’m always pretending and always talking about the past as though it’s still happening now.)

    Oh, and I gave up the Zoloft because I was dead inside and I couldn’t feel ANYTHING. I’m sad that I was dead inside when my aunt died. I’m still trying to mourn her. I feel like I was robbed of something. So I get the thing about choosing your libido or your freedom from depression totally. I need to feel to be able to write. I choose feeling.

    Thanks for the outlet. xx

    1. What a gem you are, Annie. I just love the voraciousness with which you dive into your feelings. And so appreciate your honesty about your relationship in particular. It gives me courage to think and write about mine.

  11. Thank you for your candor, Stephanie. It helps me feel that I am not alone in this journey!

    I am sad that there are days that I feel like I’m a terrible mother for my lack of patience with my 7-year-old daughter. She is a very strong-willed child, and there are days that I just can’t deal with her tenacities with the grace and composure that I always imagined I could.

    I’m sad that between the hours of 4 and 6 pm, I sometimes rely on a glass of wine to keep me sane while I juggle housework, homework, making dinner, demanding children, and a incessant dog that always has her toys at my feet.

    And while I am grateful for my husband’s successful business, I am sad that it keeps him working late into the night, and that there are so many unfinished projects around the house as a result.

    I’m also sad that there are too many days where I lack the energy and the motivation to accomplish even the simplest of tasks on my to-do list.

  12. Thank you. I’ve mused for years over the fact that I have to choose between my “sanity” and my libido. If I’m taking my antidepressants, I can’t even get a little tingle of being turned on; if I’m not taking them, I’m a hot mess and no one’s gonna wanna fuck me anyway!
    I’m sad that my older daughter is having such a hard time; I’m sad that I don’t have more time w/ my close friends; I’m sad that one of my dear friends is dealing w/ her son’s cancer; I’m sad that another friend is heartbroken over the loss of her marriage; I’m sad that my husband has chronic pain; I’m sad that I cannot fix all the hurting hearts on the planet; I’m sad that I feel fat and frumpy; I’m sad that life just keeps on rolling along, no matter how much I would like a break for just 5 seconds.
    Thank you.

  13. So true that we rarely give ourselves permission to acknowledge our own sadness, despite the fact that we carry it so close to us. I have to say that this makes me feel incredibly vulnerable, to just lay these thoughts out in the open for all the world to read when I’ll barely admit them to myself, but I’m willing to try. So here goes-
    *I’m sad that so many of the close friends I’ve made through my life, whose couches would be open for this kind of sharing, are all so far away now that we rarely have the chance to share anything at all. And I’m sad that I don’t feel like I have the energy or motivation to cultivate new relationships or even maintain old ones sometimes.
    *I’m sad that after sacrificing so much for so many years for my career, I don’t love what I’m doing.
    *I’m sad about my lack of confidence in my own ability, about the anxiety and fear that follow me through my daily activities
    *I’m saddened by the fact that it’s been forever since I felt creative, that I lack passion for much of anything lately
    *I’m sad by how little quality time I actually get to spend with my son and my husband. It also makes me sad that when I do have time with them, I often don’t know how to use and enjoy it.
    *I’m sad that now, when I finally am not working constantly, my husband suddenly is.
    *I’m sad with each new tooth my son gets and each outfit he outgrows that my baby won’t be a baby much longer.
    *I’m saddened by how little I feel like I’m able to accomplish on a daily basis and how down I feel on myself because of it.
    I guess that’s my list for today 🙂 There is some comfort in knowing that our sadness shares so many form.

    1. It’s amazing to read this, Danielle. Makes me feel closer to you in an instant. Oh, we’re all just here trying to figure things out aren’t we? I must say, that being able to pull everyone else’s sad feelings around me today has helped me to feel so much LESS sad. And more like I belong.

  14. Thank you for starting this sadness train. Really. Sometimes it’s so nice for sad to be shared and accepted.

    I’m sad:
    **That the US government/the US work culture doesn’t give new parents (men and women) enough time and money to bond with their new baby.
    **That due to the above, I have to put my five month old in day care in 2 (TWO!) weeks. This is breaking my heart and I am overcome with guilt and sadness that I will miss so much while I’m at work.
    **That I am not two people: I love my job. I love my son. I want to be two people so I can give both the love they deserve. I don’t want to choose, and mostly, I cannot afford to choose to not work. And to my creative self: forget about it.
    **That I am not allowed to be sad about having to work without giving the impression to people that my husband doesn’t make enough money: basically, I’m sad that there are still so many double standards and expectations of men and women even in a society that thinks it has overcome them.
    **That because I work, I am seen as a bad mom (or I think I’m seen that way) and feel un-included in mom’s groups/baby classes/baby yoga since all mom-baby things happen during my work hours.
    **That Archer is growing up so fast and that I can’t do anything about it and the fear that he loves me and needs me so much now, but will love me and need me less and and less as he gets older.

    That’s it for today! Thanks, again, for posting this Steph!

  15. I am sad that I have been waiting for 2 weeks to hear that my leg is healing well, only to find out that healing well is going to take so many months that is could be & feels like years. Why did no one tell me this in the past 2 months since the accident? I am sad that I can’t use my left side & that I’m left handed. I’m sad that when I hear my baby cry I can’t do anything about it. I’m sad sad that I want to be able to have the bond I had with her when I was able to nurse her & carry her. I’m sad that I might never be able to do that again. I’m sad that I can never ger back this time with her. No matter how many time I tell myself & am told by other people that we will have a great relationship, there are so many things the I am missing from her infancy.
    I am sad that the bastard that did this to us has no idea what he has taken from us & there is no way to get it back.
    Thank you for starting this & letting us all get these things out there in a wonderful & non-judgmental way.

  16. I’m sad I didn’t get that goddamned fellowship I applied for! If only I’d answered that one question differently in the final interview. Would anyone like to provide alternative funding for me to study sustainable neighborhood design in Copenhagen and Stockholm for 3-4 weeks next September? I’ll send you like 1 million postcards.

  17. Steph,
    Thank you for sharing your sadness and honesty with the world! Even though we’ve lived thousands of miles apart for 10 years now, I have always felt that we could sit on a couch together and laugh and cry as if we’d never left college. You are an amazing woman. I have always admired your courage and strength. I miss you dearly,
    Today I’m sad that:
    + I am insecure in my own abilities and let other people’s (recently, my boss’) opinions of me or own problems influence my self-worth.
    + I really don’t like the way I’m treated at work, but I’m too afraid of finding another job because I doubt my ability in speaking and writing the language here, in a professional setting.
    + That my partner doesn’t like living here and I can’t do anything about it.
    + I haven’t taken better care of myself these past 2 years while going to school and working full-time.
    + That I feel pulled in many different directions- school, work, relationships, and don’t have enough time to be really present in one of them.

    I know these things will get better and that I have the ability to change certain aspects of my life (my job…) to make me happier. But for now, I’m going to allow myself to be sad and when I get the strength and more time, I’ll make those changes.

    Thanks again!!

    1. You know, Em, after all of the heartfelt comments I’ve gotten from this post, I feel so much closer to quite a few distant friends, because I actually know the depth of what’s going on. it feels wonderful and poignant. Thank you.

  18. such a learning experience, and one we don’t walk very often. avoidance, you bet. But i am sad, just under a very positive exterior, that i am not the athelete or even the person i was 2 decades ago….and that my relationship with my wonderful daughters suffers because of geography. hugs and thx to you, S.

  19. On a related note, I wanted to mention that there is a new antidepressant on the market (Viibryd) that isn’t supposed to cause a decrease in libido. I don’t have any experience with it myself and I’m not necessarily recommending it, but maybe the choice doesn’t have to be your libido or your sanity. I don’t think there is any data breastfeeding, though, so wouldn’t recommend it for nursing moms.

  20. Hi! I found you here because I’m taking Britt’s juicy class too. I loved this post and really appreciate not only your honesty but the beautiful way you share it. I’m sad today and don’t even know why! Thanks for making the space for everyone.

  21. I appreciate your words of wisdom and your courage to express them. I too am sad. Often it feels like for too many reasons to count. So I’ll name a few so I can clear my head space.
    1: I’m sad that I’m thousands of miles away from my family and friends. Sometimes feeling stuck here in japan and military life.
    2: I’m sad that the emotional distance between my husband and I is even greater than the distance between California and japan. And although he lives here in our home we struggle to keep our heads above water within our 10 year relationship.
    3: I’m sad that j’s job security is on the line and in the midst we have no idea if we stay here or go.
    4: I’m sad we had to get rid of out car cause it was too expensive to keep.
    5: I’m sad I’m often too tired and too sad to really soak in all the goodness around me. My dancing and singing children. My health. Their health. My life. The sun. I’m still grateful for all I have no matter how sad I think I may be.

    1. Thanks for this, DeeAnn. It reminds me that I often feel the push pull between feeling gratitude and feeling sadness–as though one invalidates the other. One of my inspirations for writing this post was a friend asking me to try to connect with some gratitude or loving kindness or my heart in the midst of my sadness, and I said, “Do I have to?” I realized that my sadness just wanted a seat at the table. And I must say, since reading your sadnesses and all the others, its as though my sadness feels satisfied. And it’s quieter now.

  22. This is a wonderful and courageous project! I think that blogging has been especially good at showing me that the expression of vulnerability is really an incredible way to connect with others – and, amazingly, this connection so often leads one to feeling much less vulnerable.

    I actually wish that I had pursued some sort of help after having g and loosing a little too much of my mental stability. I am terrified that it’s all going to come back as soon as this baby is out.

    I am also sad because we live in this rediculously unaffordable housing market where my biggest dream of having a little yard to work with is pretty much out of my reach. It also doesn’t help when I see my hip neighbor pulling out of her beautiful home (with rare berkeley EMPTY lot attached) in her shiny Prius – 2 kids in tow because, you know, some people can manage just fine!

    1. AMEN! I love this: the expression of vulnerability is really an incredible way to connect with others – and, amazingly, this connection so often leads one to feeling much less vulnerable.. And your sadness about the housing market and your relationship with your hip neighbor ring all too true. I too have the Berkeley housing blues.

  23. I was just telling a friend yesterday how hard it is to just be sad.

    I had a stretch of sadness and anxiety recently that was hard to embody comfortably. I kept wanting to talk myself out of it, or find a fix. It has passed for now and I’m wishing I was gentler with myself.


    1. it IS hard to just be sad. one of my friends says, “most people will do just about anything to avoid having the feeling they hate the most for 10 minutes.” she’s right, i think.

  24. I just recently moved my son and myself in w/ my boyfriend and I have been frustrated and sad when it’s supposed to be a happy time.

    -I’m sad that I don’t have a job even though I’ve been on the grind
    -I’m sad b/c my appearance has dramatically changed since child birth i.e. stretch marks, saggy boobs, loose skin on stomach, excessive weight gain, acne.
    -I’m sad b/c I can’t seem to find the energy or motivation to change my weight
    -I’m sad b/c I feel helpless that I can’t help provide
    -I’m sad I feel I spend 95% of the day telling my son NO and feeling frustrated with him. My mood usually revolves on whether or not I had a good day with him so I mostly feel exhausted and angry.
    -I’m sad b/c I’m 26 and haven’t completed college or even enrolled in classes. I just assumed I would have a career by now.

  25. What a great post, thank you for writing this. I like that you said your sadness wanted a seat at the table.

    I’m sad that my parents like thousands of miles from me, cannot afford to visit often, and are missing perfect, beautiful days in the life of my daughter that nothing can bring back to them.

    I’m sad that my brother is using up our family members one by one, and spiralling down into drunkeness and despair, and I’m sad that not only am I powerless to help, but am relieved that I live far enough away from him that he’s not my responsibility.

    I’m sad that I have found the one thing I truly love to do, be a mommy, and we have to stop with one child because of money and space, and I will have to go back to work in a few years when working has always felt empty and useless to me.

    I’m sad because everyone thought I could be something, be a writer or a teacher, and it turns out I’m just a mom with a not-particularly-successful blog and a beautiful girl.

  26. I’m sad that their childhood is moving so quickly, and no logical understanding of this or efforts to “experience the moment” seems to help me actually appreciate motherhood at all. I’m sad that I have to say “no” so often to my kids. I’m sad that I sound angry and frustrated so often and that I see them so little.

    I don’t know if this will help you at all, but I have been able to moderate my (admittedly quite mild) depression somewhat through daily exercise, the harder the better. It’s not a cure-all, but it helps me get to neutral most days.

  27. –I am sad that I am typing this right now instead of being “that fun mom” and joining my three little ones in their quest to color the entire driveway in colored chalk.
    –I am sad – devastated, humiliated – that I spent over 5 years and $150,000 on graduate school and have no doctorate or marketable skills to show for it.
    –I am sad that I drank the “a husband will care for me so I don’t have to care for myself” koolaid, it is poison, and I’ve been ill from it…
    –I am sad that my husband and I are barely friends, I think about life away from him pretty much every day, and have so since before we got married.
    –I am sad that I have a thyroid disorder and with treatment have gained back the 25 lb. I lost, I really liked being skinny and having no desire to eat…it was the most control I’ve had over food in…ever.
    –I am sad that I could go on for a thousand more bullet points of regret, self-loathing, fear, anxiety, fear, inadequacy, fear, and so on…but I need to pull it together so that maybe my kids won’t see it in me and be infected.

  28. I believe everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t understand the reasoning, I know that is what led me to click on a simple Facebook link and find this amazing and refreshing group of women. I too struggle with sadness, more so than I would ever let anyone know, even my wonderful husband. I came from a family overflowing with addiction and a control freak of a mom that led me to believe anti-depressants were just something I could get addicted to, and I’m a nurse…I know better! But you’re mother’s voice never really leaves you, I still hear it every day. I let my sadness get so bad that it literally caused physical pain, pain that kept me in bed until I had to work and didn’t let me sleep for days at a time. It took me three months of this before I even told my doctor, the prescription for Cymbalta sat in my medicine cabinet for another month full of pain and anxiety attacks before I could even take it. It wasn’t an instant change, it wasn’t like someone turned on the happy button either, but slowly the pain went away and I began to feel again.

    I started telling people what I wanted and started caring a little less about just pleasing them, I had a falling out with my family that is slowly starting to heal. I lost a little libido, but as things evened out, I learned that it wasn’t the medication, it was me, I didn’t, still can’t, feel like a desirable woman, despite my husband’s constant praise and encouragement.

    I feel sad now, because the numbness is starting to come back and so is the pain, my mothers voice in my head is a little louder. I know I need my dose changed, but again I struggle accepting the fact that because I take this medication I’m somehow ” damaged goods” what if it’s not enough? What if I stay this way?

    I’m sad because I have a beautiful stepdaughter that I adore, but sometimes having her around causes so much pain because I don’t know if I will ever be able to carry my own child.

    I’m sad because I lost one ovary to a 2 lb 12 oz cyst and now that I only have one left my chances at getting pregnant are diminished. Each ob gyn appt is filled with worry that another cyst will be found or I’ll be pregnant and something will go terribly wrong.

    I’m sad because my attempts to get pregnant have been unsuccessful and there is no way we can afford infertility treatments.

    I’m sad because my husband had so little love in his life that he has no idea that I still hold back just a little bit, because I’m too scared to let someone completely in. I worry that in our quest to always be honest with each other, I admitted to him that I rushed into a relationship with him because a month before we met I was raped and I didn’t do a damn thing about it because I felt like it was my fault. Marrying him has changed my life so much and my love for him deepens each day, I don’t want him to ever doubt the commitment I made to him.

    Wow…I totally had no idea how much I’ve been holding in. Thank you all so much for listening, for being there and for sharing your pain with all of us, you are all beautiful and inspiring, and you’ve made the weight on my shoulders a little lighter today.

  29. My HEAD knows that exercise helps. Would someone please tell me how to overcome the absolute apathy that accompanies my depression and get on my friggin’ bike? I love it once I do it. I just can’t get through the routine to get there.

    1. Well, I can’t recommend this technique, but the method I used to get started was to set the bar low (say 20 minutes), and then bully myself into it. The monologue would be, “it’s only 20 minutes. anyone can do that. surely you can to.” After you start to see improvements, it becomes easier to set positive goals…

    2. I’ve found that I have to be accountable to a friend to get the exercise going regularly. So I make dates to go to a dance class with a friend. It doesn’t work everytime, but is much better than going it alone.

  30. If we found a list of 10 things that can cause depression.
    I have lived through at least 9 of them this year.
    I am on the fence about turning to drugs.
    I can say at the moment I am facing each day and working with great effort that if I fake it long enough it will come back.

    So I am not sure what to tell you except hold onto the fact that you are not alone in this struggle.

    As for my opinion about the sexual connect you have been missing- it is important.
    AND THAT is my fence.

    This will not be a politically correct statement.
    BUT if I do not occasionally have a sexual connection with my husband- I am not sure why I would continue to live with him.
    I can think of much better roommates!
    And the sweet dates have been replaced by little league. I do honestly enjoy the family time but then our alone time helps pull us through the KID STUFF!

    So if I choose the drugs- I will feel more put together. I will probably get more done. I might even be a better mother. BUT will I remain married???

    So you are not alone 🙂

  31. Before I put my sadness out there, I just want to say that I am a former Zoloft-user who resented the lost libido and the occasional zoloft-induced jitters. I went of zoloft and became a raging, irritable, depressed bitch again, so I went back on meds but switched to Celexa. It was like a little miracle! Now, I’m back on zoloft for the time being because it was ok’d by my dr during pregnancy and bf’ing. When my one-year-old finally weans himself, though, I’m going right back on the Celexa because I miss sex and feeling good. If you’re not feeling good being off zoloft, I definitely encourage you to try something new, like celexa!

    Now, for my sadness:

    I’m sad that it’s been 2.5 weeks since I’ve yelled at my three-year-old, and his behavior has dramatically improved, which makes me feel like a shitty, shitty mom for letting myself yell at him so much in the first place.

    I’m sad that I’ve lost friends in the last year to moves, big changes in life, and growing apart, and I am now the loneliest I have ever been.

    I’m sad that my cat won’t stop pissing on the clothes on the floor in my bedroom because she hates the dog so much.

    I’m sad that I can’t even come close to buttoning my pre-maternity clothes yet and my “baby” is 14 months old.

    I’m sad that my mom has adopted so many (3) young children that she has no time or energy to be a mom to her adult children or a grandmother to my kids. And I’m sad that this makes me sad because I should be happy she’s so charitable with her life, right?

    And, finally, I’m sad that I lost an entire year to deep, deep postpartem depression last year and that I can’t get that time back when my younger son was an infant. I am infinitely sad about this one and the heavy dose of guilt that accompanies it.

    Thank you for the space to get that out! So rarely do we get to embrace sadness without feeling like we’re complaining to someone who doesn’t want to hear!

  32. It’s interesting; when I saw this on FB I almost felt so drawn to it and excited to read about someone else’s sadness. I think it’s because I’ve always wanted to be able to talk about mine, and have felt since I was a little girl that other people couldn’t handle it. So it’s always such a relief to be able to hear about other’s and share my own.
    This week I saw a woman in the office who is a single mom and has been depressed for 10+ years, and has never really talked to anyone about it. She was an abusive marriage and, after getting divorced, was raped. She has handled it all on her own and put on her happy face for everyone else. She came in and confessed to me that she can’t do it anymore, and she needs help. I felt a deep sadness and empathy in listening to her and witnessing her tears, but also such amazement at how strong she is, and hopeful that she can find some relief from her depression by admitting that she is depressed and needs help.
    This week I also ate concrete when I tripped over my new little doggy while we were out for a run. Somehow the physical shock and impact of hitting the concrete jarred out of me emotion I had been holding in, and I balled – briefly – but it was cathartic. I think it was related to the fact that I feel really sad that I don’t have a partner to live life with. I try to put on a brave and patient face and go about my life as best I can, but really all I want right now is to love and be loved, and have babies. It feels unfair that most people I know who are my age are doing that, and I’m not. I don’t understand why.
    Thanks, Steph for providing this carthatic and vulnerable space. I love you!

  33. ahh….i am tapering of lexapro for anxiety and yesterday i was a zombie too. interesting…thanks for posting this. i SO don’t feel it is ok to be sad ever. people blow off my sadness like, “get it together, you have everything you could possibly want/need” sometimes i am just sad. OK?!?!?! like when my marriage feels functional. and not deeply present and loving…am i not allowed to feel emotions??


  34. What a beautiful and true post, especially the part about feelings taking up less room if we give them more room. So, so true.

    I’m sad that I have almost a hundred thousand dollars in student loan debt for a degree that I don’t want to use anymore.

    I’m sad that I don’t know what comes next.

    I’m sad that I can’t figure out how to accept my body as it is.

    I’m sad that I get sad for no reason sometimes.

  35. Boy, sometimes the planets conspire against us, don’t they? My neighbour didn’t want to go walking, and then I got yet another job rejection slip in the mail. Honestly.

    But then I come back here and read all these other people’s huge sadnesses and I think, well, I’m not alone, and it really does help. So many things in other people’s sadness I identify with. The money spent on a qualification that’s not being used- check. The functional relationship that isn’t deeply present- check. The amazement at a friend’s strength through pain and rape- check. The loneliness, with friends far away- check.

    This is such a great project. xx

  36. This is really great catharsis. I’m sad because:
    • I’m sad because I’m sitting in yet another hospital for yet another scan for the cancer that takes up every last bit of space in a life already packed to the gills.
    • I’m sad because I have to wear a compression sleeve and glove during the day to make sure my right arm doesn’t blow up like a balloon sure to

  37. I’m happy that I found this blog. So honest and open hearted.

    I am sad that I got stressed at work today. I am sad that I dread the projects I am on.

    I am sad that I was distant with my boyfriend this weekend.

    I am sad that I am still angry at my mom, even though I am 40 years old.

    I am sad that I get stressed, worry, get stuck in fear, am not very enlightened.

  38. Thank you for this. It makes me feel a little less alone in the fact that you have to choose between your libido and happiness. I have to choose between my weight and happiness. I started taking cymbalta two years ago and I have gained 45 lbs since starting it.

    I am sad that I have to choose between my weight and happiness

    I am sad that I never have any time to myself because I am a college student who is taking 17 hours this semester.

    I am sad that I will not get a summer vacation because I will be attending college classes all summer long.

    I am sad that I just started developing stretch marks on my stomach due to the weight gain from my anti-depression meds and eating fast food all the time because I don’t have enough time to cook healthy meals, let alone go to the gym.

    I am sad that I am 24 years old and still have 2 more years left in college and I am no where close to being where I want to be in life. I feel so behind.

    I am sad because I see so many other people who are getting married and having families and I am no where close to that.

    I am sad that I had to give up my independence and move back in with my parents so I could attend college without acquiring a mountain of debt.

    I am sad because I miss the old city I used to live in and now I live in a little crappy town.

    I am sad that I had to take 10 steps back in order to take 40 steps forward. I really miss my old life even though I look forward to the future I am building.

    I am sad that I have lost my innocence and can no longer look at others the way I used to.

  39. Steph, you don’t know me, but I’ve heard of you 🙂
    my husband found your blog and thought I’d be interested.. and he was right.

    I have had depression for many many many years, I’m not a “medicine” person, so I put up with stuff just so I don’t have to take meds.

    After my first daughter was born, I was so depressed, all I could do was nurse her and lie with her in the couch all day long. I got a weird disease with my pregnancy and couldn’t go outdoors, my depression just worsened. I got pregnant the second time,and the depression did it again. It was so difficult looking after a toddler and a baby with an immobilizing depression, I couldn’t even convince myself to get a glass of water.

    Forward to the third pregnancy and I accepted to get Zoloft. It changed my mood instantaneously, only a couple of hours after trying it.
    But the sex-driven woman I’d always been just vanished.And other emotions vanished too, I couldn’t properly cry anymore, and even though I was still sad, it didn’t immobilize me. It was totally the thing to do.

    I wish I could get off zoloft, but every time I lower the dose, I lose my motivation to live. to be perfectly honest, I don’t even have motivation to finish my life either. I have a great life… an amazing husband, three adorable little girls, a craft room filled to the brim of supplies, a nice home with a nice yard… but I’m not me.I hate staying home and am chronically sick…

    Anyway, all this to say. We’re in the same boat. Thank you sooo very much for sharing.

    1. Ceci, I also have heard of you 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your story. It amazes me what depth and comfort your story offers me–I got the teensiest tiny-est tip of that iceberg from the couple times I’ve seen T in the last decade. I think what he shared was that your pregnancies were really difficult. Now I see underneath what he was saying and wish we were all more free to talk about this.

      1. Well, there’s more than one issue, but didn’t want to clog it with all my problems hahaha. My pregnancies were VERY difficult and unfun… which made the depression worse. I feel somehow that I’ve gotten a new lease on life.., I am trying to shed some weight and I hope I can convince myself to get enthusiastic about it 🙂

  40. When I was pregnant the first time… I got a weird super rare disease, I call it “water allergy” for simplicity’s sake. Every time my skin in my arms and legs would be in touch with water/humidity/sweat/tears… my skin would itch like I never thought possible.. the kind of itch that makes you wish you had a knife and you could just cut it all off. For years, I couldn’t be outside if it was humid, I couldn’t hold my baby for long as my arms would sweat… it was horrible. and I mean.. HORRIBLE. I tried all the doctors you could imagine.. anyway, forward to 5 years ago, we found that UV light therapy every other day calmed my symptoms. All of a sudden I could be outside, I could bathe my kids, etc. For whatever reason (and I could care less why) the disease has periods in which it’s dormant. It has been dormant for about a year and a half. I got in a pool for the first time in 9 years without problems (other than psychological). So being able to be with people and not feel embarrassed because I haven’t bathed in months it’s what I’d call a new lease in life. Sorry if that was too lengthy 🙂

  41. My yoga instructor has recently been big on having her classes practice a particular meditation, where at any given time (middle of class, on your way work, etc.) you breathe in whatever you’re feeling. If it’s positive, when you exhale you’re to share that out into the world. If it’s negative, you’re to breathe out spaciousness and remember that “other people feel this way, too.” That last part always tripped me up–I got it in my head, but it didn’t bring me any sense of comfort. After reading your post and all of these comments (wow), for the first time, I get it. This is quite a post/project. Thank you for helping me practice this meditation in a way that is meaningful.

  42. Sorry, above “anonymous” comment is from Simone, the newbie blogger in your blog workshop. Can you tell I’m still getting the hang of all this? Didn’t want to be creepy :).

    1. not creepy in the least! I actually enabled anonymous comments in the last week, since I thought it might allow some people to be able to be more honest, if they don’t have to have their name associated with their comment. Thanks for saying hello!

    2. I stumbled across this site and I decided to share my feelings.
      I’m sad because my body is now filled with stretch marks.
      I’m sad because I sometimes blame my baby for my ugly body.
      I’m sad because I have no money to change the way I look.
      I’m sad because even if I did come up with the money, how could I put my wants before my family’s needs?
      I’m sad because i have no friends and I can’t talk to anyone about this.
      I’m sad because I can’t have the life ive always wanted.

  43. i’ll add just one from today. I’m sad because sometimes hope feels foolish and naïve, when it is one of the most important things that exists. and I hate feeling foolish more than almost anything.

      1. I already had the image redirecting to your blog!
        is the link, it translates to:
        All will be well (title)

        In spite of fierce pains and agony
        and sickly soul-torture
        endlessly I gazed
        In the depths of hell

        and at the bottom in the end
        squating to be smalll
        noting and no one else
        but me
        to get up
        and dissapear from there
        (hope the lay out doesn’t get f-ed up when I hit the post comment button)

  44. All will be well (title)
    In spite of fierce pains and agony
    and sickly soul-torture
    endlessly I gazed
    In the depths of hell
    and at the bottom in the end
    I found
    squating to be small
    noting and no one else
    but me
    to get up
    and dissapear from there

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