If you feel sadness like this, it's OK.


I like to pride myself on being optimistic, but it has been hard lately. The warning signs have been popping up. My writing has gotten much darker. Christina’s Portrait, which already deals with dark subjects, has gotten grimmer in my edits. I’ve been tired, low on energy, and grouchy. I don’t want to turn on the news because it’s just people complaining about problems no one intends to solve. Even sports don’t bring me joy. The Angels have been on a nonstop losing streak and embroiled in a political scandal over their stadium deal.

I try to convince myself that these moments are temporary, and good things come out the other end. Forty years ago, I felt lost in what I wanted to do with my career. That fall, I got into writing again and started my career in the computer industry. Thirty years ago, I mourned for the death of my mother. Two months later, we learned my wife was pregnant with our daughter. Nineteen years ago, I was forced out of a job. Two months later, I was hired by the company where I’ve worked ever since.

I tell others to be grateful through their difficulties. And I have a lot of things I should be grateful for. I have a job where I can work from home. I’m in the best physical and financial shape of my life. I have family. But you can be healthy and prosperous and still fear for the future. And you can be surrounded by people you love and who love you, and you still feel alone.

I’ve always been the one who finds solutions, resolves problems, and offers advice. Right now, I’m coming up empty. I don’t know how to fix what’s wrong. I try writing my way out, but even that doesn’t help. I’m tired and burned out. I feel overworked and underappreciated. I see nothing but bleakness ahead.

I’m not giving up. I still believe if you hold on through your dark moments, you can get through them. There’s comfort and plenty when you get past the valley of darkness. But it’s OK to despair. It’s OK to grieve. It’s OK to ask for help and support. It’s OK to turn off the news, rest, and pamper yourself with self-care. It’s OK not to be OK until these bleak times pass.