More on depression

Okay, so yesterday I gave some straight up advice based on my experiences with depression.  But I think advice tends to go in one ear and out the other unless it is connected to stories.  We all have stories of our lives, some good some bad.  But we connect through these stories in ways that we don’t by giving or receiving advice, or arguing the issues.  So I realized you may need to understand the context that is behind the advice.

First a word on grieving.  Not all depression is caused by the grieving process, at least that limited to the people we have lost, but it is quite common.  Now supposedly it only becomes a problem if you get stuck in that phase of the process.  I really think grieving had a lot to do with my depression in my teens.  I mean, my own thought process at the time was focused on my social life, or the lack thereof.  However, at the same time my dad was having small strokes, which at first only reduced his cognitive functions somewhat.  Eventually he was forced to retire, while only in his 50s, which meant we had money concerns as ours was pretty much a one income household, and two of us were still at home.  He died when I was twenty.

Now the family approach to this was pretty much to just move on with our lives and hope everything would work out okay.  On the surface, it worked fine, but underneath it was really simply denial, again part of the grieving process.  The problem was, it wasn’t fine and refusing to talk about it meant that the emotions went underground and came out in the form of depression.  At least that’s the way I see it now.  I can only wonder how different life could have been if there had been someone I could have talked about my fears with.  Honestly, it was only after my mom died nearly 30 years later that I felt I was given permission to grieve.  At that time, I took an entire year and processed all sorts of things from my past that had basically never been dealt with at all.  The experience was very freeing.

The other reason I think of grief in terms of depression is that years ago, our church started a class for people dealing with depression.  I didn’t go, because at the time I was not feeling particularly depressed.  But what I heard about it after a while made me think that the class was really a grief support group.  It seemed that most of those who went had recently lost loved ones.  Apparently the class was a great help in dealing with all those emotions.  At the time though, I wondered what they would have done with someone who had no readily apparent reason to be depressed.  That was how I saw myself, as someone who could be depressed often with no apparent reason at all.

Now of course, looking at it another way, you could say someone was grieving other types of losses.  Perhaps someone is grieving the loss of a job, or a relationship that they hoped would lead to marriage, or a marriage that could not be sustained.  They might even be grieving the loss of a dream that seems quite unattainable.  In all those situations, a shoulder to cry on might make the difference between being stuck in depression and being able to move on to acceptance.  Sure, there are some who have been depressed so long, that it becomes their retreat.  But in most cases, when we take a loving approach of hearing someone out and encouraging them to step out in the faith that God will heal them in the process, we ease their suffering.  Isn’t that what we are called to do, to weep with those who weep?

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About ansaphil

I am the fourth of five children, born and raised in Bakersfield. I am an at home mom of two teenagers. I attended the local junior college and worked my way through my last two years at USC. But that was some time ago and I do not think writing ability has much to do with where one attended school. I was never sure what to be when I grew up. But I always loved books and music. Several years ago I found myself writing more and more in my journals. It was almost as though I was processing life through my writing. Eventually it occurred to me that perhaps I might have something to say publicly, and not just in my journals. I hope my unique perspective on things will be a blessing to all.
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2 Responses to More on depression

  1. Great perspective on something that can be quite taboo to talk about.

    Depression can really be debilitating and it’s great to here other stories about the experiences they went through. Sometimes just hearing from someone else that shares, or can empathize, with your pain can mean the world.

    I hope others find your site as useful as I have.

    Cheers,
    David
    http://www.allthingsdepression.com

  2. meggiev777 says:

    I remember talking to you about the lack of emotion over your father’s death. I don’t remember who said it, but I know there was the thought that a real Christian family wouldn’t need the tears and grief–you knew where your dad was, so why cry? I remember thinking that there must be something wrong with me that I took death so hard. I’m glad that you have come to a healthier place.

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