At the end of August I wrote a post about the spiritual/emotional hole I felt in my heart. Many people resonated. Some didn’t, and wondered if I was depressed. At first I felt defensive like HOW COULD YOU EVEN THINK THAT, but then I was like “they are probably right.” And that’s okay.
I fully believe seasonal/situational depression is part of the human experience. Life is hard. If someone has made it to their mid-20s without experiencing a stint of depression, I have many questions that include but are not limited to: were you raised on the same planet?
As my friend Jolie recently wrote on her blog:
“Life is hard. For everyone. I don’t care if you’re the richest person alive, single, married, childless, with seven kids, working, unemployed, I don’t care. Human existence is full of a lot of pain. It’s just how it is. It’s full of good things, too, but our struggling, our suffering, is universal. Are there degrees of suffering? Absolutely. Are there more important sufferings happening than my mental gymnastics in relation to my worth in society as a woman? You bet ya. Does that mean any degree of internal struggle I feel doesn’t actually exist? I don’t think so.”
By the beginning of September I accepted that I was depressed, and the next day God revealed to me that I was actually in grief. So I looked up the 5 stages of grief. Low and behold, the 4th stage of grief is depression. So yes, I was depressed, but more than that I was stuck in grief and didn’t even know it. With this newfound awareness I was able to move onto stage 5 of grief: acceptance.
It took me less than 10 days.
(It took 11 months to go through the first 4 stages… but who’s counting??)
Since then I can’t help but wonder: how many people are stuck in grief and don’t know it? How many people are in denial, or angry, or wishing they could change things (bargaining) instead of moving through these stages toward acceptance?
We usually link grief with death of a loved one, which of course is accurate. But grief can be linked to so much more. I believe there is a level of grief that comes with any change we go through in life. The bigger the change, the more grief we experience. Change happens in jobs, friendships, marital status, location, etc. We gain something in change, but we also lose something along the way. Sometimes we choose change and sometimes change happens to us whether we want it or not.
I’ve known this. I learned this concept many years ago at my own WR Training Camp. But somewhere along the way I forgot or got tunnel vision.
So this is a reminder to myself, and perhaps to you, that it’s important to grieve the changing season of life. And that it’s OKAY to be depressed sometimes. You aren’t weird. You’re human.