Happy to Be Sad?
Okay, I didn’t want two tv posts in a row, but I can’t stop thinking about the girl interviewed on Dateline late last month.
Did anyone see the family whose teenage daughter was injured in an auto accident where five other girls died? She sustained severe brain injury and they sat by her bedside for five weeks before they realized this wasn’t their daughter.
This was one of the other girls in the vehicle that everyone else thought was dead. The identity of the two girls were mixed up.
That’s what the show was about – the other family getting the phone call that the daughter they thought they’d buried was alive and in the hospital.
Incredible story, but what was most amazing to me was something the surviving misidentified girl said in response to a question about how it felt to be cared for by strangers who were calling her the wrong name.
She said she didn’t remember any of that; had absolutely no awareness of it. She didn’t remember the accident at all, and barely remembers even going to work that day.
She went on to say that it was some time before she could feel any emotion at all.
I’m thinking that car wreck must have done a number on her brain, or it was some sort of survival mechanism that led to her emotional disengagement.
But she talked about happy she was the day she cried again. I don’t know specifically what made her sad, but something did, and it made her cry. She said she was relieved to feel emotion again.
I never heard anyone more convincingly talk about their gratitude for “negative” emotions. I totally got it.
I talk about this a lot – about how we’d be bored to tears if we didn’t get to feel the full range of emotions. That it’s often the “negative” emotions that make the positive ones so enjoyable. But I never realized that even just having NO emotions would be a flat, lifeless experience. That just being able to be sad again would be incredible relief.
Did anyone see the clip? I’d love to hear your recollection and thoughts on it if so …