By heatherericksonauthor.comThe Erickson Family

Dealing with Sudden Overwhelming Sadness

Overwhelming Sadness

Overwhelming sadness isn’t something you can push out of your mind or something that anyone can talk you out of…

“Come on now! Life isn’t that bad. Let’s forget about this weeping and go have a good time.”

Nope. It doesn’t work that way.

That’s not to say that talking to someone can’t help. It can. That person could be a close friend, a trusted relative, or a therapist. It could be anyone with a listening ear because it’s often not what they say that helps. It’s what they do. They listen.

Sometimes our need is to be able to share what’s on our hearts with someone who doesn’t try to talk us out of our feelings. Instead, they validate what we are going through and help us to veal valued and heard.

When is Sadness too overwhelming?

We can deal with sadness. That’s something we are equipped for. It’s not pleasant and no one wants to feel sad, but it happens and we eventually overcome it (usually with some tissues and a strong shoulder to cry on). It’s the overwhelming part that is so tricky. The very quality of overwhelming is that we are already licked. defines overwhelming as:

  • that overwhelms; overpowering
  • so great as to render resistance or opposition useless

Wow! Opposition is Useless?

It can feel that way.

A month ago, my rheumatologist recommended I get on an antidepressant. He said that it was possible my pain is worse because of my overwhelming sadness. Apparently they can be linked. I thought it was because I broke down in tears in his office, but maybe he was seeing something I wasn’t.

Then, a week later, my therapist made the same recommendation. I kept putting it off. Then, 2 weeks ago I got up each morning because I had to. I did what needed to be done and then by one o’clock in the afternoon I went back to bed where I cried myself to sleep. Yes. It does feel like opposition is useless. As much as I wanted to push my way through it, it was and remains extremely difficult.

Eventually, Overwhelming Sadness Overpowers Me.

So, I did my research on antidepressants. They are known for a host of side effects that can be so difficult to deal with that people quit taking them. Reading the information about them, I could see why. But, I also learned that there are different side effects associated with different drugs, and not everyone experiences them. I thought about the side effects that would be most difficult for me. The worst side effect for me would be weight gain. Excess weight is already a problem for me, so adding more would not be helpful. I found the drugs that are not associated with weight gain and carefully chose from them.

I went into the doctor, who confirmed that it was a good idea to try an antidepressant. He also agreed with the antidepressant I requested He was encouraged me to continue to pray, which I appreciated. He said this is likely a very temporary thing as I move through the grief process, but for this time, it’s wise to use the medication so I can get back to functioning again.

It Takes Time.

Whether it is medication, therapy, prayer, or any other method of moving through overwhelming sadness, it’s important to realize that it takes time. Don’t wait until it gets to that point, because it can hit you very hard, very fast.

Whether you are a patient, a current caregiver, or someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one and the life you once knew, be gentle with yourself. Avail yourself of the things that can help you to get through this time. If one thing doesn’t work, try something else. Talk to someone you can trust, pray, and never give up hope.

Suicide Prevention

While very few depressed people are suicidal, 60% of the people who die by suicide are depressed.[1] So it is important for me to include this in this post: If you are feeling overwhelming sadness and have thought of harming yourself of taking your life, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. There are people who care and who want to help.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts/feelings, call 1-800-273-8255

What are Your Thoughts?

There is so much more that could be said about this, but I will leave that up to you, my readers. Tell me your thoughts in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

Now Available!!

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

Plus, keep an eye out for the 2nd Edition of Facing Cancer as a Friend, Coming Soon!


In 2012 doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan, with stage IV lung cancer. Since then, our family has been learning what it means to face cancer. I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.

My books are available at

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker


[1] Digital Communications Division. “Does Depression Increase the Risk for Suicide?”, 21 Aug. 2015,

A to Z Challenge Survivor



Facing Cancer as a Parent Book Cover

Get the Memory Maker’s Journal

Facing Cancer as a Friend!