In the summer between my first and second year at university, my girlfriend Ashley and I sat down in the shitty living room of my shitty sublet and watched a new episode of Doctor Who. The episode’s name was Blink, and it is a fantastic piece of television – for many reasons.
Blink introduces a new, interesting villain into the cannon, features distinct cinematographic and orchestral styles, and is altogether a well-written and -acted episode.
In the post-credits opening scene, two characters share the following exchange.
“What did you come here for anyway?”
“I love old things. They make me feel sad.”
“What’s good about sad?”
“It’s happy for deep people.”
Sad: happy for deep people.
This was 2007, before I had had my first brush with depression and long before I ever saw a counsellor. I was carefree and happy and this summer still holds some of my favourite memories.
Under my calm surface, anxieties were building. Slowly, but ultimately culminating in an inevitable manifestation. Within two years, my then fiancée would hold my hand in the waiting room of my university’s counselling centre.
The conversation I was about to have with the counsellor went something like this.
“How often do you think about killing yourself?”
“Not often. Three or four times a week.”
“That’s fairly often.”
Only recently have I realized the absurdity of sadness being happy. But at the time, I internalized that idea. I believed that my growing sense of ennui was somehow to be celebrated as validation that I’m “deep.” It prevented me from reaching out for help earlier, when I needed it and when it could have prevented a great deal of pain.
Sadness can be useful. Sadness can help you learn from mistakes. Or sadness can help you recover from a loss.
Sadness can be useful but it is never happy.
There is nothing happy in wrapping yourself in sadness for its own sake. There is nothing honourable in hiding your feelings from those who love you. There is nothing shameful in asking for help when you need it.