9 Reasons You Like Being Sad (+ How To Break Your Addiction To Sadness)

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Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you break free from your addiction to sadness. Simply click here to connect with one via BetterHelp.com.

Sadness doesn’t feel good, so why do so many people seem to choose it?

Wait, choose it? Is that the right thing to say to someone who is sad?

Well, no. You don’t ever want to presume why someone else is feeling the way they are. There’s no way for you to know what that person is carrying. Unfortunately, dark things happen in this world. Sometimes, those things happen to people that you care about.

However, as it relates to our own personal journeys, choosing sadness and depression can worsen them.

But to understand that statement, we need to clearly distinguish between depression and disordered depression because so many people use them interchangeably. More often than not, you hear people talk about having depression which could mean they have one or the other.

Sometimes depression and sadness are the results of temporary circumstances. It could be that a person is going through a hard time in their life, so they feel sad, melancholy, and withdrawn. Time will pass, and there’s a good chance that the emotional load will lessen.

On the other hand, you have disordered depression, like Bipolar-depression, Major Depression Disorder, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Temporary circumstances can make them worse, but these are persistent illnesses of the brain that dramatically affect someone’s mood and emotions.

There are few things that depressed people hate more than the phrase, “You have to choose happiness!”

Like, oh! That’s just going to fix everything! So why didn’t I think of that!?

Well, unfortunately, there is some truth to that and, in the same way, to choosing sadness.

Let’s explore why you might like being sad so that maybe you can find your way out of that hole.

1. Sadness and depression are comfortable.

Change can be a terrifying thing. You have no idea what you’ll be facing in the future, what challenges are ahead of you, or what successes and failures lay ahead.

There are so many unknown variables that it can all feel overwhelming. And because it’s overwhelming, some people avoid trying to make progress against their sadness and depression.

Depression and dysfunction are comfortable if that’s all you’ve known for a long time.

But, did you know that some people can actually forget to be happy? They can be depressed for so long that their brain just doesn’t fire on the happy pathways correctly? So, even if they get medicinal treatment for their depression, they may still not feel happy because their brains aren’t used to feeling those emotions.

So, why change? Why try to change? Why make myself uncomfortable when this sadness and depression are what I know?

Getting better is hard to do if you’re already worn thin by just trying to survive the mental health problems you may be experiencing.

2. Hopelessness is a symptom of depression.

Depression affects a person in many different ways, from emotional to physical. The feeling of hopelessness is a common symptom that many people struggling with depression face.

Hopelessness is an amplification of negative feelings, of just knowing that there is no possible way that you can ever be better, happy, or feel good. Those feelings and a lack of energy from the depression can make it so difficult to try to be better.

But here’s the problem: depression is a liar. It’s not an accurate reflection of who you are, the world around you, or what you’re capable of.

Granted, it’s easy to look around at all the pain, suffering, and turmoil in the world and be utterly depressed about it all. Climate change, the rights of people being attacked, racism, sexism, homophobia… the list goes on and on.

Sadness and depression seem like natural ways to feel. Still, at the same time, hopelessness perpetuates those things because it keeps people from taking action. It’s far easier to be sad, depressed, and throw our hands up with how hopeless it all is.

3. Depression and sadness are easier than the alternative.

You may or may not know how much work goes into not being depressed and sad. For some people, it’s not much work at all. They see a doctor, get a prescription, and their brain starts doing the things it’s supposed to be doing.

For other people, though? Yeah, nowhere near that easy. It takes some people years to find a solution for their mental health problems. Some people are medication-resistant and gain little benefit from treatment at all.

But that’s not how it’s portrayed, is it? No, you’ll hear the common refrain during awareness drives and when people bother to think about us to just, “Seek help! Talk to someone! Go to therapy!”

As if everyone can afford it. As if it just works all the time. As if just talking about mental illness to a friend or a support network just alleviates the problem. As if there aren’t months-long waiting lists for therapists and mental health professionals.

It’s hard to get mentally well. Mental wellness requires resources, support, and time that people don’t necessarily have. How many people have time to devote to their mental wellness when working, taking care of family, keeping a roof over their head and food in their belly, and all the other demands that life throws on your shoulders?

It’s just easier to be depressed than the alternative.

4. A lifelong struggle with depression or trauma.

Trauma plays such a major role in the way humans behave. Trauma, as defined by the American Psychological Association, is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, or natural disaster. (Source.) That is not to be confused with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which can be a result of a traumatic experience. It’s even right there in the name – “Post Traumatic.”

How many people experience traumatic events in their lives? Yeah, literally everyone. Personal traumas, assaults, sexual assaults, child abuse, loved ones dying, car accidents, environmental catastrophes, addiction, suicide, pandemics…the list goes on and on.

And it doesn’t matter how much money you have, what resources you have available, or how withdrawn you are from the world. Trauma will visit all of us sooner or later.

People who have been surviving trauma for a long time may not even realize there is an alternative. And when they do experience the alternative, it’s so foreign and uncomfortable that they just retreat back into the sadness and depression that they know.

For instance, a child who’s been traumatized by the people who were supposed to love and protect them will have difficulty shedding those negative feelings and learning to love positive ones.

The harm can run so deep that the trauma survivor may subconsciously seek out negativity to feel comfortable.

5. Some people believe cynicism is the natural state of the world.

Cynicism is an easy trap to fall into. Every day, we are flooded with an unending deluge of everything terrible in the world. You have to contend with social media, 24/7 news cycles, news headlines that pop up from apps on your phone or computer to remind you of how terrible everything is.

And humans? What about humans in general? Many just aren’t that good, and quite a few are terrible. Even the people we hold as heroes or the people we view as good humans don’t necessarily meet all the criteria that society forces on them to be good. And even those people come under attack because what’s their motive? There has to be some ulterior motive.

Ain’t nothin’ in this world for free, baby! Certainly not kindness with how difficult that can be and how quickly predators move to exploit it.

Cynicism is an inherently negative view of the world we occupy, and it’s extremely easy to be cynical.

But cynicism and blind optimism aren’t the only choices out there. A better choice is to focus more on the present and handle the present moment. Be sad when it’s time to be sad, be happy when it’s time to be happy, and walk through life assuming people are generally doing their best, even though their best may not be all that good.

Cynicism is not realism.

6. You may have an undiagnosed medical condition.

This point is pretty simple. Chronic feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and depression may point to an undiagnosed medical condition. Mental illness is an obvious possibility, but it may not be. There are a variety of physical illnesses that can cause mood and emotional problems.

Diabetes and out-of-range sugar management can cause dramatic, negative mood swings. Thyroid problems can mess with emotional regulation. Hormonal problems and chronic pain can create significant problems as well.

It may be less that you’re addicted to sadness and more that you have an unaddressed medical issue that needs to be identified and treated.

7. Some people feel like they don’t deserve happiness due to past sins.

To some people, their sadness and misery are penance for guilt and bad decisions in the past. And sometimes “bad” is an understatement.

For example, consider a person who has long struggled with a serious substance abuse disorder, an addict who needed to feed their addiction. Addiction is an ugly thing. At its worst, it can cause people to lie, cheat, steal, break into places, rob people, and do whatever it takes to feed the addiction.

And there are plenty of times when these actions are not in line with the actual morals and beliefs of the person struggling with the addiction. When they gain clarity, they may look back on their past and see all the misery and suffering their addiction created for themselves and the people who cared about them. Assuming they had people that cared about them. Many people don’t.

To that person, they may feel like they deserve the misery, sadness, and guilt for these actions driven by addiction. Plenty of society feels the same, but the masses can be wrong. Should those wrongs be forgotten or unaddressed? No. But neither should anyone feel like they deserve to be miserable for the rest of their life because they made some terrible decisions.

8. The negative feelings become their motivation.

Many people use their negative emotions as fuel for their motivation. They can strive for great changes if they are just angry with the world, their position in life, and the hand they have been dealt. The sadness and despondence can turn into a bitterness that their life is going the way it is. Plenty of people use spite for motivation to strive for more.

The problem with this approach toward life is the lack of sustainability and damage to personal relationships. To use a metaphor, anger and spite are the fuel for the roaring flames of motivation. The problem is that the flames consume their fuel as they burn, and sooner or later, there is no more fuel left. But you get so used to burning that you may not be able to turn it off, so it bleeds out into your personality, turning you into a bitter and angry person.

You may have known people like that in your own life. They’re just a miserable, bitter person because they’ve embraced their negativity and ran with it.

The other issue with this approach is that it dramatically affects your social dynamics. People who are happy and emotionally healthy often have strong boundaries to protect their peace of mind. And happy, healthy people don’t spend much time around miserable people because that negative mindset is contagious.

Instead, unhappy people often find themselves surrounded by other unhappy people. That harms everyone involved as they drag each other back down, like crabs in a bucket.

9. Some people just like to be unhappy.

That may seem counter-intuitive, but some people just like to be unhappy in much the same way that some people like to be scared by horror movies or rollercoasters (Source.) The theory behind it is that many people feel positive and negative emotions simultaneously or in a similar window. They feel negative and scared from the horror element but then feel the wave of relief with a resolved ending.

Sadness or depression is a catalyst for amplifying the positive feelings that follow, much like a rollercoaster.

In Closing…

As you can see, there are several reasons that people dwell in sadness. Sometimes it’s circumstances outside of their control, like trauma and mental illness. In other times it’s a choice that the person actively makes. Some people are looking for motivation, and others seek punishment for the wrongs they committed.

The nuance of addiction to sadness and depression can be difficult to get to the bottom of. The easiest way to go about that would be to talk to a mental health professional who can help you get to the cause to address it and live a happier life. It’s a more complicated problem that is outside of the realm of self-help.

A good place to get professional help is the website BetterHelp.com – here, you’ll be able to connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.

Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.

Click here if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.

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