During the first few years of my widowhood, when I was working through my grief, I’d occasionally have to tackle the monster of “DEPRESSION”. Of course the most obvious times were around holidays, special days of birthdays and anniversaries, and lifetime milestones of dance recitals, proms, and graduations. Then there were the longer episodes of depression when I was tired of doing it all alone. Times when everything seemed dark and I didn’t want to be happy.
If the depression was caused by the anticipation of a special “day” or holiday, I could usually pull myself out of my slump once the occasion was over. Or, I’d be depressed to a certain degree when Friday and the weekend came but then relieved on Monday morning. My problem with depression was when the circumstances were constant. When every day I had to be mother, father, nurturer, and disciplinarian, etc. It was usually when I couldn’t find relief that I’d slip into a depressed state.
I don’t think depression is all that bad. I believe it’s a healthy part of grieving. I’m not talking about clinical depression that requires medication. I’m talking about depression that you can shake off in a couple weeks. There were a few times I felt myself going down. I’d get stuck in a rut of some sort and just want to wallow in my sadness. I didn’t want to be happy and I didn’t want to be around happy people!
As I sank into my depression, I had enough sense to know what was happening. I knew it wasn’t a good thing to become stuck in this stage. I knew somehow I’d have to pull myself out. Common sense told me, “get enough sleep”, “eat well”, “exercise” and “pray”. This wasn’t all, but it was a start. The key is finding out what works for each of us to break the force. For me, I had to change my routine. I would usually take a trip to visit friends or family that would make me feel happy again.
There are different degrees of depression. I’ve always been fortunate to pull myself out before it reached a danger zone. I believe a certain amount of depression is healthy now and then. It’s part of a range of emotions that God created within us. Perhaps there are good reasons we are meant to temporarily go through the valleys. During these times we feel alone and have no one but God to call upon.
From my experience, I’d call upon God to guide me out of my despair. It worked better than depending on a drug, a drink, or another person to cheer me up. God may have nudged me to take a trip or visit a friend but He knew better than I did what the cure would be.Tags: death of a spouse, Depression, grief and loss, widow