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Tag Archives: Depression

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This time of year can be so difficult for those who are still grieving.  Whether it is a loss of a person that breaks your heart, or you are grieving a divorce, job loss, estrangement with a loved one, there is a hole in your spirit.

Being forced to attend parties during the time of mourning, I remember trying to slap a smile on my face; I kept telling myself to keep it on even if it hurt to pretend. But, after awhile, it was exhausting.  There was too much false praise and gaiety; the noise and celebration became too much for me, and I had to excuse myself to leave the room.

One of the hardest things while mourning is the guilt about laughter.  I remember how badly I felt if something might make me smile and that it was inappropriate to enjoy when my heart was broken.  Quiet, and time to restore your personal strength, is so important as you mourn.  I look back and realize just how long I was mourning; I also realized that while I tried to behave like a “normal” person, my brain was actually in a fog of grief.  During that time, my trust was abused. Vulnerable, and not strong enough to fight back, I was treated badly.  That, in hindsight, was a cruel lesson that I could not fully acknowledge or reconcile for a long time.

So, when given the chance to defend someone else, or create understanding, I felt that I had to.

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Grief takes time and mourning comes and goes.  No one can truly understand the memories that you share or the triggers that set off your emotional alarms.  Running to hide in the bathroom, or outside, to cry is understandable.  Yet, we are protecting others’ feelings while not honoring our own.

Miss the one that you love.  Accept, acknowledge, and process all the feelings that go with it. It is a private journey.

Empathize with another because you can recall pain.  If you are able to gently recognize this in another, don’t try to make someone else “snap out of it” or push them to a party. Busyness is not a healing tool.  Build in some quiet moments for another; sensory overload is too strong or overpowering at this time.

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Remember, that no one is immune from an overactive mind of memories, lost moments, and painful goodbyes.  Don’t feel that you are “supposed” to feel cheery, hearty, or joyous just because it is the Holidays. Surround yourself with kind people and avoid toxic or negative situations that will only aggravate and stress the depressed spirit you already are experiencing.  Use music if that is calming, or escape into a book, if you are a reader.  If the outdoors soothes you, take a walk or even just look at photos of beautiful places in nature. Distraction can help to calm the thoughts for a couple of minutes.

You deserve joy, compassion, kindness, understanding, and peace.  If you cannot find support, give it to yourself.  If you are grieving, it means that you have loved.

May you find personal peace and comfort at your own pace with the time to experience and seek it out.

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I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am.
– Sylvia Plath

“How do you tell if something’s alive? You check for breathing.”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

In one of those rare moments when I rose above the pain, I realized that I was breathing. It was not just one of those shallow breaths that we hold onto for too long; it rose above me and out towards the world.

I had been holding my breath for so long, or trying not to, that I did not know how good it would feel.

This was a moment when I realized I could see beyond the grief. Once I exhaled, I realized that I had clarity in my mind as well as my body.

These moments are to be treasured for breathing is no simple task. Holding onto our air and diving deep, or being submerged with no known way out, takes more effort. It costs more, it feels more, to withhold our breath.

My grief and loss took my breath away and I did not know how long it would take to get it back. Once I did, I realized just how long I had been under the ebbs and flows of pounding waves, and how long it had taken me to come out to shore. My feet pressing into the Earth was a reminder that other parts of my body denied attention were still there.

Trying to ground myself deeper into being reminded me that those whose lack of empathy or compassion was truly hurtful no longer deserved my attention. It was my own once again.

Even if it only happened once in awhile, I was miraculously able to acknowledge it, appreciate it, and wait for its next return.

faith

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