We kind of expect a level of depression when we lose our children. We would feel wrong about bouncing back into normal life without heart-wrenching grief or those lifeless, empty moments. Still, you don’t want your grief-related depression to sink too far.
I know that I can count my blessings in this area. Right after Hadassah died, I could tell the choking fingers of depression had wrapped around me. Like so many other bereaved mothers, I had exhausted myself in grief.
A person can’t go on like that forever; so I just stopped feeling. A listless void reigned inside me, and I literally sank into my chair or bed with a very real heaviness pulling me down. For just a few days, I had zero motivation to do anything. That’s depression.
Putting a Finger on Grief-related Depression
The hard part about grief-related depression is putting a finger on it. We’re already grieving and trying to control our wild emotions, but when have those despairing thoughts turned into deep depression? Doctors would call it clinical depression.
Realize that no single thought or action can pin you into this state. If you’re deeply depressed, grief and sadness will consume you.
You may find yourself thinking about your own harm or neglecting your basic needs. You might care little about what happens to you, taking risks or using drugs to escape. You might lose your job or feel unfocused all the time. Overall, your grief will affect your entire life.
At this point, your grief has turned into deep depression. You need the loving arms of a friend or spouse. If nothing else, you may need to seek counseling. Your child wouldn’t want you to lead such a despairing life.
Deep Depression Doesn’t Come
Some might say that your depressed state will provide healing. I wholly disagree. Grief can bring healing and is essential for you to properly deal with your child’s death.
But when you drop into a hole so low that you can’t climb back out emotionally, you’re not trusting the Creator. You engulf your mind in unholy thoughts like suicide or hate. When you can feel emotions again, you harbor bitterness.
No, deep, grief-related depression cannot come from God. I realize that some of you may not believe in God. I can then understand why you would sit in despair, unwilling to rise out of it.
With God, though, you don’t have to stay that way. You can live joyfully again if you will turn to Him.
Okay, so if depression is ungodly, should you ignore it and play happy? I don’t mean that you should force yourself into a fake smile and feign happiness. You do still need to grieve. You just need to bring your emotions to surface level again, instead of drowning in them.
Climbing Out of the Hole
If you don’t trust in God as your Savior, you should turn to Him as your first step out of this deep depression. I would love to show you more about how to trust Him. Please don’t hesitate to fill out the contact form or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Many of you still sink into depression, even though you do honor Christ as Lord of your life. For a brief time, I did too.
The biggest thing that helped me was talking to my husband. I honestly and openly told him how I felt. He embraced me for a while as he usually does when I need comfort.
Then, we both focused on taking short walks and accepting friendly visits. People offered healthy, filling meals; and I forced myself to the table three times a day for them. I still cried a lot and endured many sad moments. But I was functioning and coming back to life again.
When you find yourself at an all-time low, step out into the bright sunshine. Talk through your feelings with a loved one, and take care of the basics. Last, but definitely not least, read God’s promises over and over.
Take your Bible out many times throughout the day, and remind yourself of His love. Cling to Him and the good memories of your child. I’m not saying that climbing out of depression is easy. In the process, though, you’ll draw closer to God and learn to lean on His strength.
Have you gone through grief-related depression? How have you coped with it?
by Sarah George