Man feeling sad

Have you ever cried so hard and so long you thought it would never end? Or have you become so used to your sadness that you can’t imagine ever having a moment of happiness again? If you’re sad there are things you can do.

I know what that feels like. I’ve been there. Over a period of four years I experienced long periods of time when all I could do was cry. I’d curl up in a little ball on the floor of my bedroom and cry. When I couldn’t sleep because I was crying so much I’d walk the streets at night, crying for hours. At work the next day I’d struggle to see through eyes that were sore and swollen.

That was twenty years ago now. Thankfully God brought me healing in some wonderful ways. People who know me now cannot imagine that I was ever such a distressed young woman. Today I’m happy 90% of the time. I love life!

Perhaps you’re feeling sad because you’ve missed out on some things in life you really needed and wanted. Perhaps you’re sad because someone (or many people) abused and misused you, and you feel worth no more than a puddle on the floor. Perhaps you’ve lost someone close to you and you’re finding it difficult to build a new life without them. Or perhaps you don’t know why, but you’re just sad.

Part of the distress in feeling such deep sadness is the sense that you’re powerless to do anything about it. But that’s not true. Let me assure you, as one who’s been there, that there ARE things you can do. I’m not going to try and define clinical depression here: I know I would have met the criteria for that diagnosis, and you may too. Whether or not that’s the case, I’m going to show you what you CAN do to help yourself if you’re sad.

What to do if you’re sad:

  1. Check your physical lifestyle. Things like good-quality nutrition, physical exercise, and adequate rest make a huge difference. Regular exercise can itself eliminate some mild cases of depression. If you struggle with sleep, get some help.
  2. Choose your stress level. Your brain can only handle so much, especially during difficult times. Consciously choose what decisions you MUST make right now, and what decisions you can safely delay. Don’t take on more than is truly necessary.
  3. Eliminate toxic people. If someone makes you feel small, stay away. Step back and think about the total effect of someone’s life on your life. Are you a better person because of being around them? If not, don’t be around them.
  4. Choose positive people to be around. You DO need to be around people who build you up, encourage you, and goad you into doing positive activities. If you’re sad and an introvert it may be difficult to be around people. Take it in small doses, but do it anyway.
  5. Choose to be happy! It’s not true that everyone can stop being depressed simply by wanting to be different. But you can choose what you spend your time thinking about. You can choose much more of your thoughts than you realize. And part of your choosing to be happy is to take action in the other areas listed here that can help you be happier.
  6. Get some help. If your sadness is ongoing, difficult, or complicated it’s OK to get some professional help. A godly pastor or counselor who understands sadness can help in many ways. Medication may even be needed for a period of time. If nothing else, get a trusted Christian friend to listen and give ideas on how you can proceed.
  7. Know that God cares. Feeling alone doesn’t equal being alone. God is there whether you sense Him or not. Believe that. Hold on to that idea. Pray, and keep on praying. He guards your tears carefully: “list my tears on your scroll – are they not in your record?” (Psalm 56:8)

I don’t know what your path to healing will be, but I know God has one for you. He sees you when you cry, and He holds you gently. He also knows the steps you will need to take to find healing, and He will walk with you every step of the way.

Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up!

Even though it may seem so now, you won’t cry forever. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

Your Turn: Do you feel powerless in your sadness? What one thing can you do today from this list? Leave a comment below.

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