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What if the grief that we are “stuck” in triggered depression?

 In Life, Blog, Health

Seeing friends and family members with depression, listening to my clients with depression, and having suffered myself from depression, I started wondering if the common denominator, the trigger, could be grief that for whatever reason we cannot find our way out of.

I guess I need to define what I mean by grief and by depression. Depression is not just a “feeling low” but a disease that can be measured in terms of serotonin levels and other physiological cues, i.e. it is not “just in your head”.
And when I talk about grief, it comes in so many different forms. Of course, the obvious one is the grief of losing someone, to death, disease or divorce. But that is only one version. Then there can be the grief of being childless, the grief of realising that you’ll never achieve your dream job, the grief of not being able to save our planet – basically that feeling of loss and powerlessness that in turn can make us doubt our own value.
I watched this video of this very articulate woman telling her story of giving birth to her much-desired child and of finding out that her daughter has Down syndrome (please watch it, it is one of the most heart-opening videos I have seen – she’s a stand-up comedian, so she’s not your average woman). And this is when I realised how we can get stuck in that grief. When we keep holding on to the dreams we had, the potential we saw, the plans we made, all of which are now obsolete.
And as long as we hold on to those dreams that can’t be realised, to those hopes that have no way to be fulfilled, as long as we hang on to the potential of “what could have been” in that parallel universe where the outcome would have been different, we don’t accept what has happened to us.
If we can’t let go, we become stuck.
If we don’t find a way back into this world, where the loss has occurred, then that grief stays with us and takes away our joy in life. And eventually all things become grey.
So how can we find a way back into this world, the one where not only our grief and loss is happening, but also the rest of our life?
Only if we reconcile ourselves to the new reality, the one with the emptiness, can we start to move forward again. Only if we spend less time wondering what “could have been”, what “should have been”, what “would have been”, hanging on to the dreams we had, can we make space for new dreams.
Holding on, one day at a time.
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