Not everyone who manifests as depressed has depression.
Very often people who are undergoing massive life change end up in a grief-laden depression, purely because their identities have been shaken to the core. It would be normal for anyone else to react the same way, give or take individual differences. It is, therefore, crucial that we attain and maintain a balance for what it is that ails us. Sometimes just knowing that it is grief we are dealing with helps in understanding the reason for the depression.
Knowing the reason we are depressed is as important as the solution itself.
The Island Called ‘Grief’
When we are beached on the island named grief, having become marooned as if beyond our will, we need to understand certain characteristics about being on such an island.
Some days we stand on the beach, looking out over the stormy seas, we imagine being rescued as a fanciful reality. We despair. Yet, for no apparent reason other days we turn around and go and explore the island. These days we have enough courage to hope.
There are two days, distinctive in their difference, and both useful:
1. Dark Days for Rest: we reconcile whatever encouragement we can get from the rest we need. We take our time on these days. We are gentler on ourselves. We lower our expectations on ourselves. We don’t feel guilty for feeling incapable. Instead, we see it as a sign from God to back off just now. Wisdom has us seeking a spacious-enough respite.
2. Lighter Days for Exploration: days of hope do arrive, for some reason, and we often don’t know why. We think we’re over the grief—things are getting better. But we are advised not to get too far ahead of ourselves, and instead take the opportunities to explore the island within the bounds of the energy we have. We try to enjoy such days, and achieve what we can.
Not everyone who is depressed has depression. Sometimes it’s grief we’re experiencing.
Grief-laden depression is a forwards-backwards land where the ebb and flow of grief work takes place. Any significant life change will bring this about. Whether our days are good or bad is irrelevant; what’s important is that there is work we can do in either hopefulness or despair.
Grief is the opportunity to make the transition from one idea of identity to another. Being depressed is part of the journey. There is a way of accepting and working with both the good and bad days.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.