Depression, grief, and the determination to keep trying

My grandma passed away a couple of weeks ago. I can’t get on the same page as my partner. I weaned my little one recently and the hormone shift has brought on a fresh wave of depression and anxiety. And then there’s all the shitty stuff happening in the world right now. Kids being separated from their families as they seek asylum. Healthcare becoming less and less accessible. A president who doesn’t believe in respecting the earth. A group of lawmakers/decision makers who do not represent me are attacking the goodness in our world.

I feel like a raw nerve right now. Usually depression sits on my chest, heavy, but familiar. This pain is seeping all the way through my heart space and radiating into my arms and ribs.

I mentioned in a previous post that one of the ways I deal with depression is just to breathe. Even that has been hard. This bout of depression and anxiety has been so strong that I’m feeling like I can hardly move. Over the last several weeks I’ve been numbing with tv. I take it as a good sign that yesterday I was able to numb with books instead. And I wrote a little.

I feel compelled to speak candidly about my mental health issues given all the news lately about depression and suicide. I have always felt that anxiety has robbed me of my ability to connect. Or made it damned difficult. I can’t verbalize. I need to write. Or paint. Nonverbal communication. Lately its been really bad. I just want to disconnect from all the people in my life who make things harder for me. The people who leave me feeling hurt. Disconnected.

But that makes me think about this question: What can I connect to?

The Earth. Music. Painting. Writing.

This song seems to be the resonant frequency today. The harmony and the soft guitar music honors and untangles the painful emotions.

All that said, I want to say something else about what it is like for me to live with depression. Being depressed makes it hard for me to do stuff. But I also know that I have to. My spirit refuses to rest in the paralyzing feeling of depression. I want to do meaningful work. I want to see beauty in the everyday. Small things like the art in this morning’s latte that the familiar guy with the glasses made for me. The kid sitting at the table adjacent to mine who is so proud of himself for taking something to the trash to help his mom and the sweet high five she gave him when he got back. The comforting sound of the rain falling outside.

I have to give the depression space, but I don’t have to give it all the space in my heart.

In spite of the pain. or maybe especially because of it, I also work to cultivate a sense of gratitude in my life. I have an instagram feed called Choose Beautiful Thoughts where I post things that I’m thankful for or find uplifting. Small steps toward healing. Every day. Depression isn’t a finite or tangible thing that descended upon me all those years ago. I can’t chip away at it until it is gone. It is a constant presence. It renews itself regularly. So, I have in some ways made peace with it being part of my make-up. Even though I wish the balance would shift. According to the internet, it will eventually.

It makes me feel weak, but that doesn’t make me incapable or worthless.

So, I’m just taking things one day at a time. I believe in love and in trying again.

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