We live in a world today where our generation has more opportunity and freedom than ever before. We can go anywhere and be whoever we want to be yet we are becoming increasingly crippled by the pressure to succeed and make something of ourselves.
What have you got to be sad about? highlights the first barrier we’re confronted with when facing mental illness. We tell ourselves we are okay because we hear stories of people who have it worse than us and so we’re left feeling guilty and ungrateful for the way we feel. Because we’re ticking all the boxes of what we think happiness and success look like on the outside we begin to feel as though we’re not entitled to sadness, that it can’t belong to us.
The idea behind the poem is that depression and mental illness doesn’t make sense, it’s not logical and it’s certainly not reasonable. We seek answers and explanations for our emotions and when we can’t find them we’re left feeling frustrated and stuck. What we really need is acceptance; acceptance that we have the right to sadness and that feeling alone is all the justification you need.