Being Sad All the Time Is Too Much of a Burden

November 7, 2022 Natasha Tracy

I'm sad all the time. I'm miserable. I'm caught in a well of darkness and depression -- all the time. Now, not everyone who is depressed experiences this. Some people who are depressed experience persistent sadness bouts, yes, but they aren't necessarily constant. Depression can also be characterized by diminished interest or pleasure instead of a depressed mood. In other words, being sad all the time is not required for a diagnosis of major depressive disorder; but it sure seems to be required by my major depressive disorder (that occurs because of bipolar disorder). And the trouble with all of this is that being sad all the time is just too heavy a burden to bear.

What Being Sad All the Time Feels Like

People's feelings of sadness and depression vary, but for me, I feel sad, yes, but also, almost anything can make me more miserable. If I see anything even mildly sad around me, that will do it, obviously, but things that aren't sad will make me sadder too. For example, you see a happy family walking down the street with one kid bouncing around like a monkey and another in a stroller and parents enmeshed in conversion -- that upsets the heck out of me and makes me sadder. All I can think of when I look at that scene is how I don't have those things and never will. (This is a way of looking at things that is driven by depression, but it's also very real.) 

The sadness really does feel like a ball-and-chain I'm shackled to. It really does feel like a lead weight bearing down on my back, creating a stoop that would suggest a 105-year-old body. It really does feel like this tremendous burden that goes everywhere with me all the time. Most people have no idea what it's like to carry that heavy a load. Aren't they lucky?

Being Sad All the Time and Hiding It

I've written about the importance of fake smiles in bipolar disorder. I've written about what it costs to appear "normal." And nowhere is that more painful than when it comes to unending sadness. The sadness is trying to break me every second of the day, and every second of the day, I have to fight it while simultaneously convincing everyone around me I'm fine. Every bit of my energy is taken up managing the sadness, yet I have to find more to fake smiles, modulate my speaking tone, and exhibit correct body language. These things are a burden to bear on top of the sadness. 

I'm worn out the moment I wake up in the morning.

If You're Sad All the Time, Try This

If you are sad all the time, there are ways to get through it. Try these things:

  • Try to take time alone where you're not faking anything. Just let yourself feel sad. Pushing it down all the time will not help and will likely hurt you.
  • Try to take time with people in front of whom you can be sad. I know I said I hide everything in front of people, and I mostly do, but there are select people in front of whom I can actually express my sadness. These people are angels on earth. These people help let just a tich of the sadness out to make room for something else.
  • Try to get hugs. Hugs -- real hugs -- ones that aren't perfunctory or obligatory can absolutely be healing. Go ask for some.
  • Distract yourself from your sadness. While I think it's important to express your sorrow sometimes, it's also important to try to distract yourself from it sometimes. It doesn't mean it will go away, but it does momentarily mean that your focus will be elsewhere. Use any non-harmful method for distraction. Examples are reading, watching a favorite TV show, taking a nap under a heavy blanket, going for a walk, petting an animal, etc.
  • Express your sadness in therapy. Therapists will not be freaked out no matter what you're feeling, so be open with them. (This can work with your doctor, too, if your doctor does therapy and there's time.)
  • Know that you will get through this. I can't promise the sadness will lift after reading this. I can't promise the sadness will lift after reading my book or every other self-help book in existence. What I can promise is that over time things will change. The constant in life is change, and that change will come for your sadness, too, even though waiting for it can be excruciating.

I do all the above when I can, but the most important is the last point -- knowing that I will get through this. Endless sadness isn't really endless, even though it feels that way. It feels like you will be stuck in the mire for all eternity. But you won't. Things will change, I promise. And when they do, you're going to want to be around to see them. 

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2022, November 7). Being Sad All the Time Is Too Much of a Burden, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

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