I was only seven when I lost three friends to a tragic accident. It has been 39 years ago this December, and I have never been able to shake the feeling of that loss. Frank and Todd were my age, but, Todd’s sister, Gina was 5. It was two weeks before Christmas and I have […]
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Depression of Grief and Getting Through the Darkness
It has been a long time since I last posted. It has taken me this much time to get out of the depressed state I was in. I had recently lost an “Aunt” to lung cancer and it hit me as hard as my mom’s death last year. It put me into such a tail spin to lose someone who was like a sister to my mom. Everything that I may have not dealt with in regards to my mom’s death came at me like a canon ball. I could not breathe. Tears were in abundance and sleeping was a must. If I couldn’t sleep, I would just lay there and cry. I could not imagine any light in my darkness. My friends, family, children, they were all there but I couldn’t see them. Not in my heart where I needed them to be. Grief and depression are powerful things. They shut you off from what is real, or what is in front of you.
I did not think I could face the darkness, but I did. I looked pass the wish to be gone from this Earth to hope. It did not happen over night. For a while it did not happen within me and I had to follow it through the people who loved, hoped, for me. I did not travel through my despair alone. I hate to think where I would be had I not the foresight to catch the tail of those who have gone before me, those who made it to the light.
I watched others go through the daily rituals of life and wondered how they managed. I truly could not see it for myself. I tagged along, though I’m not sure they were always aware of it. I followed their hope, joy, and just daily living and imagined how it could, if I tried hard enough, be me. I didn’t always see it. In fact, until recently, I couldn’t imagine how they made it through their days. I knew they each felt sorrow at some point and yet they were managing to pursue life in light and not darkness. They got up each day. They got dressed. They went out. They did not often cry. They smiled and laughed and I could only see the joy. I held on to that. I tried to see myself in their light.
Trust me, this revelation did not happen over night. Realizing I was following them didn’t even occur to me until I was on the living side of life. Now, looking back, I realize that I held on to every positive motion I saw before me. Even something as easy as eating was something I needed to learn again. I needed to believe. Being on this side of the fence, it is so odd to see how the simplest things in life were difficult for me. Yet, I know the darkness and hopelessness that grief and depression envelope you in. There was no confidence in me for myself. For others, yes, there was confidence and amazement. Amazement because I could not imagine being able to live like they were. Just daily living, that’s all I wondered about.
I am a little bit more then straddling the fence. I am finding laughter again. I am brushing my teeth. I am combing my hair and I am thinking “today will be a good day and, if not a good day, then one I can handle.” My husband will find it surprising, yet joy, to know that I started writing again. When you are depressed there are so many things that get pushed aside. I stopped writing. I stopped taking care of myself. I stopped everything and everything I once enjoyed. Things as small as the shows I watched to the big things, such as taking care of my family. Perhaps it seems like selfishness, but I didn’t feel I had anything they would want. I felt that I was no good for them. That is something that still brings tears to my eyes.
For those who have never been on the dark side of the fence, this may be difficult to understand. Just like it was difficult for me to see the light side of the fence. I know you still had your sadness, but it did not overwhelm you as it had me and other’s who experience deep depression. I hope, through my words, you have a basic understanding of what it is like for those of us who are in that massive pit. I was fortunate enough to be able to reach out. There must have been some part of me that knew that life didn’t have to be the way it was. Truthfully, no one could tell me that and have me believe it. Yet, I tried.
For those who surrounded me, who may have thought they didn’t make a difference, you did. Whether you realize it or not, your words, your lack of judgement, your daily living, helped me through. I hung on to your hope. I hung on to the way you lived and persevered. I saw light. I thank my family and friends who chose not to judge me. I thank them for believing that I was worth more then I believed. During that dark time, there wasn’t even a small part of me that thought the loss of me would matter. I thank all those who chose to tell me, regardless of my beliefs, that it would matter. It’s interesting how you can forget the importance of your life, but not in a good fashion. My family and friends helped me get back to getting dressed, brushing my teeth. They helped me see how daily tasks were manageable. I am beyond grateful for that.
I have not performed a miracle. Some mornings I wish to keep sleeping so that I do not think. Some days, I do not want to get dressed, or shower, or do anything that means taking care of me. I do. I push through and I get these things done. I am not as weighed down by my grief or depression, but it is still hanging in the background. These days I am experiencing hope. Sometimes that is all we can do. Sometimes it just takes willpower, not only your own, but of those around you. Wherever you are, hang on. The grass is greener and soon, with hope and prayer, you will get to run your bare feet in that grass. It will happen.
Thank you family, friends, and even strangers, for helping me reach the other side!