Wake up and try to get out of bed. Fail. Convince yourself that you’re sick even though you are clearly not – not sick in the body, anyway. Just the head. Stay in bed just long enough to ensure that you will not make it anywhere on time. Roll out of bed and start to actually feel physically sick because you’ve spent so long convincing yourself that you are.
Put on some clothes and look in the mirror. Hate the way you look. Standard. Find your comfiest, most pajama like clothes and put those on instead. As you’re looking in the mirror again, hating yourself a little less than before, you notice a pimple in the worst, most obvious place in the whole stupid universe. Start to cry. Recognize that you are crying over a pimple and cry harder.
This bout of irrational crying could be over anything, really. Crooked eyebrow hairs. A dirty bathroom. A lack luster text message. If it’s mundane and not worth losing it over, do. Try to calm yourself down while trying to get ready for your day at the same time. Swear a lot to cope with this.
Leave your house and make it to the subway/your car/other public transportation/teleportation device and start to feel ok for a while. Your commute is more than 10 minutes long though, which means you have too much time to think. Think your way right into a panic attack, or basic crying fit, smack in the middle of wherever you are. Public crying is exactly what to do when you’re sad. When you’re sad, you cry a lot, but never for anything important. Clearly.
Exit your mode of transportation and try to compose yourself. Think you’ve managed to stabilize the 8,000 feelings that you have swirling in your head — promptly lose your shit again. Avoid eye contact with the strangers that are staring at you. Wonder if any of them understand — if any of them are sad, too. Some of them probably are. Finally compose yourself, for real this time. Finish your commute relatively painlessly. Smile at that fact. That is how to be sad. Smile at the tiniest victories. You fucking earned it.
Arrive at school or work or whatever you choose/are forced to do with your time and hope to everything good in the world that you don’t look like you’ve been sobbing. You probably do. Fuck it. Own your crying face because that’s what you’ve got to work with. You are a mess and at least that’s one thing that you know for sure. You are the proudest Goddamn mess there has ever been.
Begin your day as if nothing is the matter. Get things done, get distracted, don’t get things done, repeat. In the middle of this semi soothing flow, receive a text message from someone that isn’t what you wanted it to be, or an email from your boss in a slightly condescending tone, or any comment from any human in your life that could be interpreted in a shitty way. It’s probably something that wouldn’t normally shatter your world, but when you’re sad your inner drama queen screams it’s way into the control center of your mind. Begin to feel hot tears boiling to the brims of your eyelids. Shit. Take an impromptu break. Get out of there as fast as you possibly can. Do not let any more people see you cry.
Leave the building. Hyperventilate in the middle of New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Disney World. Walk as fast as you can to try and out run the panic. Maybe if you are moving fast enough you’ll disorient the feelings, and they’ll just sort of neutralize. Sometimes, this actually works. Begin to argue with sadness. Scream at the inner workings of your mind. Tell them that you do not want to be sad, that you did not ask for this, that all you want is sunshine and rainbows and mother fucking puppies, ok?
Sadness does not care. Sadness is a stupid, stubborn bastard. Fuck that guy. However, somewhere in there, while you were yelling at these feelings that you did not choose, you realize exactly that — you did not choose this. This sadness, it isn’t you.
Eventually you are ok enough to go back. You manage your way through the rest of the day. In the midst of managing, become furious with yourself. You do not have time to be sad. Depression is so Goddamn time consuming. You have work to do and friends to see and dreams to achieve. You don’t have time for this wallowing bullshit. Become angrier every minute. Eventually realize, again, that this isn’t your fault. Stop being angry. Instead be sad. Again. Still. Finally, it’s time to go.
You leave. You commute home in a daze. You’re still sad — but you’re also a little numb. What to do when you’re sad is often nothing at all. Arrive home again. Don’t go anywhere after your obligation. Go home, and climb back into bed. Eat too much because it’s something to do. Know that you would feel better if you got up and went out and did something. Don’t. Instead, wallow.
Tell yourself you are worthless. Believe it. Don’t believe it. Believe it. Don’t believe it. Use every ounce of strength you have and don’t you dare believe it. Because that is the most important part of what to do when you’re sad. You don’t let it consume you. You do whatever you have to, and you don’t let it consume you.
Cry. Cry as if this is the first time you have ever cried and your tears are finally being set free. Cry the way that hurts. Cry while scrunched up in the fetal position because there is literally no position that is comfortable, because your own body is no longer comfortable. Cry, not because it’s cliché, not because you want to, and especially not because it’s what to do when you’re sad. Cry because you are sad.
It’s not always about what to do. It’s not always about how to fix it. Sometimes, you just have to be sad.
Let that sink in. It’s ok to be sad. Realize that you are sad. Let the realization that you are depressed sink in. You are battling depression or sadness or whatever you want to label it. You don’t even have to label it. You just have to know it’s there. Slowly slip out of denial. Slowly slip into this new reality.
Slowly accept that, you might need help. And that is ok.
Begin to slow down. Slowly find your sanity again. It’s a little battered, and that’s fine. Completely sane people are boring, anyway. Take a deep breath. This is cliché. This occasionally works.
Embrace the calm you suddenly find yourself in. You are still sad, but it’s not so catastrophic. It’s quiet. Wonder what to do next. Cry a little. Sigh a little. Die a little? Yes, but only the parts of yourself you don’t need right now. The self-hatred. Kill it off and hope it doesn’t grow back too soon. It will. You are learning how to handle it though. You won’t always succeed. You will fail a whole lot. But you are trying. And that, is what to do when you’re sad.
A simple bout of trying is really all you need.