Young People Ask
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.
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?
Tip #1: Talk about it. The Bible says: “A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress.”—Proverbs 17:17.
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 “true companion” in whom you could confide when sadness overwhelms you.
Tip #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: Some choose to keep a journal. If you do, what might you put in it? When you’re sad, describe how you feel 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.
Tip #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 4:7.
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. (Psalm 119:105) Filling your mind with upbuilding thoughts that can be gleaned from Bible accounts can have a positive effect on your thoughts, feelings, and actions. (Psalm 1:1-3) Stimulating, exciting accounts are contained in the Bible book of Acts. Further suggestions for upbuilding Bible reading can be found by considering the nine “Role Model” pages in Questions Young People Ask—Answers That Work, Volume 2, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Among the Bible accounts considered on these pages are those of Joseph, Hezekiah, Lydia, and David. On page 227, you will even see how the apostle Paul successfully dealt with negative feelings that he sometimes felt because of his imperfections.
But what if despite your efforts feelings of sadness just won’t go away?
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 notable 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 may be able to 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! Consequently, 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.”
More articles from the “Young People Ask” series can be found at the Web site www.watchtower.org/ype
^ par. 3 Some names in this article have been changed.
TO THINK ABOUT
● Are there benefits to shedding tears?
“I’ve never been one who cries very easily, but it has become a necessity in times of sadness. Having a good cry is like hitting a reset button. I start thinking rationally and I can see the future—with happiness on the horizon.”—Leanne.
● How can others help you cope with sadness?
“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.
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WHAT YOUR PEERS SAY
“Sadness usually comes on when I’m focusing too much on myself. So any time I can help others, that makes my focus shift and then I am able to regain my happiness.”
“When I keep up a good exercise routine, my bad moods come less often because I start to feel good about myself. And exercise uses up my energy so that when I’m done, I can’t be bothered with feeling bad anymore!”
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With assistance and effort, you can get out of a deep pit of sadness