You may have read numerous essays on mental health issues, butyou won’t have read many regarding one of the most frequent and long-lasting human emotions: sadness, sorrow,grief, melancholy.
20% of the human race experience symptoms of depression, oneof which is commonly sadness. That isroughly 1.5 billion people. Just let that sink in… Sadness is more common thanever as a result of many reasons, but I’m not here to address the reasons, I’mhere to discuss my view on sadness and why it is not necessarily a bad thing. Before we begin, let’s look at the etymology behind theterm. The word “melancholy” originated from the words “blackbile”, of which in the medieval period, was (mistakenly) thought to bedischarged from the kidney and spleen, causing the reflective sadness known asmelancholy.
The modern definition of melancholy is “a feeling of pensive sadness,typically with no obvious cause” of which simplified, is a deep sadness. Our society tends toview sadness in a way that makes it seem damaging, unnatural and, to an extent,an illness. With technological advances in the medication industry, people feelmore inclined to consume anti-depressantPC1 drugs to cope with this common emotion.
Does this mean that we should takeadvantage of this? By no means. Here’s why…While there is a distinction between depression andmelancholy, they do have similarities and could potentially prove convenient.For instance, depression and melancholy both compel individuals to feel deeplyunhappy yet contemplative, almost meditative and could assist people to possessa more profound understanding of who they are as an individual. It can indeedsupport people to get over unwanted experiences, and it can truly provide spacefor a transformation in which people may develop to become healthier, happierpeople. However, depression can be extremely dangerous and harmful as well,with other symptoms ranging from fatigue, lack of sleep, agitation, stress andat worst, suicidal thoughts and feelings. While depression is a mental healthproblem, sadness isn’t. Do not take substances to make it go away.
As humans,we need to work through our emotions as they help us build up resilience.Without negative experiences, we are about as resilient as a soggy biscuit.As scientific studies have come to show, sadness can havepositive outcomes too as it can make your judgement less biased, allowing youto look at situations from different angles. It can make you think more attentivelyand can promote an analytical mindset,amongst other things. Another positive outcome is that you can become moremotivated to help people to feel happy in life, as you know what it feels liketo feel down and upset. Sad people often pay more attention to the needs ofothers and can be more thoughtful in their thinking, as proven in an experiment byProfessor Joseph P.
Forgas, Ph.D. PC2 Astudy has shown that women are generally more emotionally experienced and knowledgeablethan men are, excluding anger and pride, but while this may be true, it is byno means something that is correct in all circumstances. Gender should be irrelevantwhen it comes to emotion. It is, after all, one of the most fundamental humanthings you could possibly imagine. While women are generally seen as moreemotional, who is to say that men can’t be equally as emotional? Society ispartially at fault concerning this, as the stereotypical man is seen to be”strong” and “macho”. But as gender roles continually change; we may in thefuture see a society where males are not looked down on for crying or showingemotion.
PC3 You may have heard the expression, “The Tortured CreativePC4 “.This is what many people picture when thinking of world-renowned musicians, artists, writers and poets. For example, VanGogh is a primary example of this phrase. You may not have heard of somepatterns that occur in creative people’s minds. For example, creative minds mayhave a tendency to see correlations that others don’t and may, more often thannot, dwell on negative experiences. They can often be found playing andreplaying scenarios in their head in order to understand their feelings and tounderstand what they can do about their feelings. But one reason that will mostlikely come to mind is the fact that they put their emotions, thoughts and eventheir very beings into their art form.
It helps to portray your feelings if youfeel in such a deep way and to understand even the smallest of feelings ofwhich you can embody into your artwork, creating room to get over your feelings.Their inner torture can help them to produce great pieces, paintings, poetry,etc. Yet, it can in a way help them work through their emotions by expressingthem through the artwork in which they produce.Now, by this time you are probably thinking to yourself,”This student must experience this emotion quite a lot, to have such anin-depth knowledge.” My answer to that is yes, I experience sadness daily. Itshapes who I am, and it may sometimes affect me on a deeper level than others,but I should not be labelled because of it. I should not be told that what I amfeeling is unnatural, or “not good”.
I am simply a melancholic person, I spendtime in thoughtful sadness and sad thoughtfulness and that is not bad, it’sjust the way I am.To recap, I find that sadness is a beneficial human emotionthat can improve an individual. It should not be suppressed and should not be spoken poorly of. It is a naturalprocess that must be respected and people should work through sadness and letit be. Of course, I’m not advocating for a positively negative view of theworld, but a negative side to your positivity wouldn’t go amiss. As the famous poet John Keats once said, “Do you notsee how necessary a World of Pains and troubles is to school an intelligenceand make it a soul?” PC1Lookat statistics on the number of prescriptions for Pozac/CBT in the past decade PC2Explainwhat the experiment entailed PC3Whatis the persuasive purpose of this paragraph? Some editing required here. PC4Canyou add a more modern example? Also, you could make the point of some of themost poignant pieces of modern music have stemmed from torturous times.