Grief and Depression
These have been my companions for some time now. They are both horribly similar and vastly different from each other. Both have a cruel impact on my life in their own way. It sounds almost crazy to imagine but the journey so far has been unlike anything I can grasp some days.
To try to separate them is easy in some ways. The grief hasn’t been a constant – and rather, for a long time, it wasn’t really noticeable. I thought I was grieving but looking back to the first 6 or 9 months – actually, the first year pretty much – I was in such a state of shock and numbness that I wasn’t really grieving. It’s hard to explain how you can hurt for so long and be in such pain with loss but then hurt even more because it really hits home.
To think that I have been hurting so badly only to realize that as time goes on the pain become even greater and the missing him even more profound. The depression has been here for some time now but it wasn’t until I came to the realization that the grief was finally being felt – and it was so much pain – that the depression started to have a firmer hold. When the hope that it would get better instead of worse started to slip, the weight of sadness settled and I stopped believing that I would ever be able to have joy in my life again. Never mind joy, to just have days without the hurt that is constant and the heaviness inside would be welcome.
So the depression sat and grew…and started to replace the grief in some way. The grief took a step back, the pain of losing Willie supplanted with the crushing fog of clinical depression. I have careened between functioning and putting on a face of composure to the opposing realm of complete despair in privacy with an inability to even make myself do the base necessities of trying to get “better”.
My embarrassment at admitting that I am not “ok” causing me to hide my grief and depression to all but a few close to me for months. My façade at work so perfect that they had no idea that I would go home and fall into bed, barely able to crawl out in the morning to drag myself through another day. Even my closest friends not aware of the depth of depression sitting inside of me.
Understanding now that I need to deal with the depression and have that under control and subsided so that the grief can once again take its place, where it needs to be, at the forefront. It’s impossible to grieve when the level of depression is so high… So for now, the grief sits in the background, waiting for its chance to rise and be felt. The depression keeping a numbness and apathetic melancholy most times. The irony of the two… that I struggle to lift the depression so that I can feel the pain of grief. Striving to let go of the crushing sense of detachment that comes with the depression and in return for that knowing that I will be consumed by the hurt of loss.
The paradox that on days that people consider I’m having a “good” day I am, in actuality, depressed and able to fake it because the grief is held in check. The days that I am absolutely incapable of keeping it together and the tears don’t stop… those are the days that the depression has quieted and the grief has stepped forward and the feelings are there – finally.
The conflict to understand and accept and live with the fact that those “bad” days when I feel like I can’t take one more step forward are the days that I AM healing. That those days are the days that need to happen so that I CAN take steps forward. That those are the days that I need more of if I want to be able to live my life.
So please, I’m not worse on days that I can’t hide it or fake it anymore… those ARE the “good” days in the sense that they’re progress. I may not want to feel this but I have to if I want to be able to feel joy and happiness again.