Hello, world. It’s 2:45 a.m. You are likely asleep right now.
My baby has a stuffy nose and a tummy ache. She’s been feeling icky for three nights in a row.
And even though I would happily stay up with her every night for the rest of her life if she needs me to, this lack of sleep has me cranky. Plus, in caring for her, it’s been difficult for me to get much more to eat than a granola bar or a handful of crackers.
When I took her to the doctor, the receptionist was grumpy and short with me. Then we got home, and I saw my dog had eaten a box of chocolates that I hadn’t realized someone had put under our Christmas tree.
It’s been a rough week
A few weeks ago, while I was having a similarly sad day, I posted the following to my Facebook feed:
I have had a bad day and a half and am therefore eating Mackinaw Island Fudge ice cream for lunch while watching a blue jay who is making a home in the woodpile by my shed. If you’d like to join my support group, I’ll be doing this every day at lunchtime until I am no longer sad—or until the end of time. Whichever comes first.
Though I was having ice cream for lunch and watching a blue jay, I was mostly joking. I had no intention of doing so forever.
Well-meaning friends responded “Don’t be sad” and “I hope you feel better soon.” That was nice of them.
What I was hoping for, though, wasn’t well-wishes.
I was hoping someone might want to join my ice cream support group—even if it was only in spirit. I was hoping someone else might want to admit they also needed some cheering up.
Research suggests we would all be a little better off if we were more honest with each other about how we’re feeling.
It’s okay to be sad
Everyone is a little grumpy sometimes. I take care of my mental health, so I know my sad days are temporary.
Still, we’re not very good at admitting our sadness to one another. And researchers have found that when you “put on a happy face,” other people feel worse.
Like most people, I don’t like to admit I’m sad either. I’d rather appear as if I’m juggling my seven million obligations with no trouble—taking care of my daughter and my career and my household and my social responsibilities with a smile on my face.
But research suggests we would all be a little better off if we were more honest with each other about how we’re feeling.
So, my offer still stands.
If you’re tired, if you’re lonely, if you’re grouchy, if you need to have a good cry, I’ll have the ice cream ready.
I’ll be right here waiting with a “Yeah, me too” and a spoon.
Sarah Carson is associate editor of Gather magazine.