Hello Darkness, My Old Friend: Let's Talk Grief, Despair, & Depression
Updated: Apr 14, 2019
Hello my Dear Reader! Thanks for tuning in for today's installment of the Sunday Series, Whole Hearted.
So far we’ve covered Perfectionism, Rejection, Fear, and Self-Improvement. Today, I felt like sharing my heart and story on another very serious topic: grief, despair and depression.
I lumped all three of these together because to me, they are all part of the similar struggle and experience that is mental anguish.
This blog is my attempt at reaching out to you: I have been where you stand today, and I understand how you feel. You are seen, your are loved, and most of all, there is hope.
** Please note that the following blog/advice is only a first step if you are dealing with severe or chemical depression. Please seek a mental health professional immediately or call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
My Brain is Screaming at Me to Shut the Laptop and Avoid this Topic
As I write this, I have to tell you that I'm kind of in a bad mood. I was trying to blame this bad mood on a lack of sleep and a bad outfit, but really I think I'm in a bad mood because I don't want to talk about this subject.
Honestly, it's NOT fun to talk about! It's just not! After experiencing the despair and misery of grief, sadness, and depression and OVERCOMING IT, the absolute last thing I want to right now is revisit that pain.
So yeah, I'm feeling grumpy, because this topic is SO dark, SO painful, and SO real, but I'm STILL going to write about it today because I want you to know that you are NOT ALONE.
Alright, Let's Begin
Today I'm going to be focusing on the mental anguish one experiences after or during a particularly painful experience or stressful season of life.
Failure, rejection, loss, death, and abandonment are often paired with the nasty gifts of darkness, depression, grief, and despair. This was the case for me, just like many of you. After experiencing intense familial conflict in college, I fell into serious mental anguish for a long time. I have only just exited that pain within the past year!
Reader, it is NATURAL to feel miserable after losing a loved one. It is NATURAL to feel like you are drowning when the love of your life walks out the door. And it is NATURAL to feel like you are dying when the weight of your responsibilities becomes too much to bear.
These feelings are NATURAL, but it does not mean that they are easy to deal with.
Dear Reader, I know how you feel and I have been in your place, and I understand the pain that you are going through today.
I understand the type of sadness that drains you until you are empty and void of any cares at all.
I know what it’s like to sob, heavy into your pillow, hoping that your roommates will not hear you.
I understand what it’s like to imagine, if ever so briefly, what it would be like to drive your car into oncoming traffic.
It is absolute desolation, darkness, and despair. You find that the loneliness, pain, and misery are accompanied by the sad realization that your friends, family, and loved ones seem to be carrying on with life while you remain locked in the prison that is your mental despair.
And with the darkness comes our feeble attempts at self-medicating: we turn to excessive consumption of food, Netflix, alcohol, drugs, partying, and attention, none of which do anything to assuage our anguish.
Rage begins to form against the God who has seemingly abandoned us to absolute mental chaos, pain, and self-destruction. We capitulate between anger and despair, only to collapse in an exhausted grand finale, bereft of hope, surrounded by isolation and filled with emptiness.
I know these words are very dark, but reader, they are real. I know how dark life can become, and I want you to know that you are not alone.
Co-Existing With Anguish
I know that heavenly words and encouragement are comforting, and I WILL be including those at the end of this post, but I first want to dole out some practical advice on dealing with this pain.
Before I was able to exit the grief, despair, and pain, I had to learn how to COPE WITH IT. I chose to coexist with my pain, but not to let it end my life.
I began by simplifying my responsibilities, seeking counseling, approaching my doctor about medication, and discovering the positive affects of exercise on mental health.
I would suggest you seek out a trusted and level-headed loved one to confide in, and remember that the mental health community is ready and willing to aid you in your healing process.
Finally, the most important thing you can often do is to simply allow the emotions to run their course. This was advice that my counselor gave me, and it truly helped. She suggested releasing the pain through journaling, and talking with others.
I think that we often unknowingly extend our sadness and grief because of the pasted smiles and busy lives we lead. We simply have no energy or time to process what we are experiencing. There is true liberation in admitting the truth of what you are experiencing and allowing it to run its course.
Finally, please remember that others have walked your journey. I PASSED THROUGH those torrential waters and I have lived many days of beautiful life since then. This is me telling you that the pain will not be eternal and your story does not stop here.
My Final Words to You
Dear Reader, please remember that hope springs new for us all and life never stays the same. The Devil wants you to believe that you will never find happiness or joy again, but this is not true. Please do not give up on the courageous fight for the life that God has set before you.
When you hear the voice telling you that despair and pain is all there is for you, that is a LIE.
There is always hope, there is always room for improvement, and there will always be people ready to hug you, listen to you, and help you. There is an entire future written out for you. God can turn ashes into beauty; I have seen this in my own life.
My life CHANGED. My feelings CHANGED. And my mind CHANGED.
There is hope because EVERYTHING ON THIS EARTH IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
I was truly brought down into nothing before God raised me up and made me new. I still experience small moments of sadness, but it is not as difficult to handle as it once was.
Reader, remember that a life with Jesus does NOT mean a life free from the tyranny of this sinful and broken world, but it DOES mean that we have all we could ever need, buried in our hearts through the power and love of the Holy Spirit.
God worked in my darkness, and He is working in your darkness as well.
When you feel isolated in your pain and self-destruction, God is holding your heart.
When you are feeling grief beyond what you could ever imagine, Jesus is here, telling you that he is experiencing it all with you.
I will be praying for you, and know that you can always reach out for advice, prayer, love, or encouragement.