Being sad is not something I have a say in.
Being sad is not something I decided on.
One day, it was just there.
A continuous hum, like the long, low, droning of a pressurized airplane cabin.
Ranging in volume. Some days louder than others.
At first, the humming would only happen if triggered.
The death of a dog. The betrayal of a friend. The loss of an opportunity.
But one day, being sad stopped being circumstantial.
The hum settled itself in at the base of my skull.
Suddenly, it became constant.
Relentlessly vibrating through me.
It is not something I chose.
It chose me.
I got my sadness the same way people get their red hair or attached ear lobes.
My sadness was decided for me, by an unfortunate genetic chemical imbalance.
My mother, her mother, and her mother’s mother were riddled with sadness, too.
And whether we like it or not, it’s just how we are.
Sadness is part of who we are.
It’s part of who I am.
Sometimes it’s half of me.
Sometimes it’s all of me.
Every day, I have to make a conscious effort to keep the hum quiet.
Every day, I have to force myself to redirect my thoughts.
But then life happens, and sometimes life gets hard and I get tired.
So, so tired.
And that’s when it starts to get loud.
The hum reverberates off the walls of my skull and rattles my bones.
It fills my head like helium in a balloon until eventually, it bursts.
I am the one who has to battle against my own mind.
I am the one who has to hear that awful roar at the base of my skull.
I am the one who has to live in here.
When this total consumption happens, I have to use an enormous amount of energy to get myself out of it, which leaves me with little to no energy for anything else.
For anyone else.
So while I try and figure out the best way to manage sadness, please be forgiving.
Please be soft.
Please be kind.
Know that being sad is not a trendy lifestyle choice.
Know that I am trying, and remember that I am the one who has to live in my head.
This post originally appeared on Ticking Time Momb