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Magical World

Wouldn't it be lovely if, with just a twitch of the nose, life, or any aspect of it could be changed. Instead, positive changes always seem to involve tremendously hard work, determination, and endless setbacks. How lovely it would be to have the powers of Samantha Stephens.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Grieving 4

Grief Stages: Bargaining and Depression

You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present. ~Jan Glidewell

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. ~Washington Irving

A heavier task could not have been impos'd,
Than I to speak my griefs unspeakable.
~William Shakespeare

I'm addressing these two together because I really don't believe the bargaining stage has been an issue for me (no, I'm not in denial about this). Basically, I'm more of a survivor than a bargainer. And I don't believe things that are real will be taken away. I might wish my past were different. I might balk at addressing issues. I might be a coward who runs from (literally) or ignores the things that are hurting me--but I don't believe I've ever bargained when it comes to my abuse experience, because I don't understand how that works. My research on grief has said that not everyone passes through each stage, because there are times when one or more grief stages is not applicable. I believe this to be the case for me. However, I'm open to the opinions of others. If you disagree with me, please state your case and help me understand what I'm missing.

Depression, on the other hand, is a very close friend. I realized, after taking medication for about a month, that if I was medicated, I had no desire to work through any of the problems of my past--actually, I had no desire to do anything except sit around enjoying the numbness. My motivation was gone. My joy in life was non-existant. I got up in the morning, went to work, cleaned my house and watched the world pass me by. So I told my therapist I'd rather be depressed and in pain, because at least then I felt something.

To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness. ~Erich Fromm

I have a mother and some siblings who are clinically depressed. They have assured me that I just need different medication and they could be right. However, I choose not to take anything, and to feel what is happening inside, so that I will know when things get better. I have not been diagnosed as chemically unbalanced or clinically depressed. I am not suicidal. I think I have the right to make this decision.

To me, depression is sadness. There are times when the sadness overwhelms me to the point that I don't function as well as I have in the past. However, I believe I have reason to be sad. Reasons I'm sad:

1. I wish that I had been able to be a child longer. I think I was probably delightful. I loved to read and recite poetry. I giggled at everything. I loved caterpillars and butterflies and baby animals. I cuddled my little brothers and sisters. I sang. I was good at dancing and gymnastics. I couldn't play softball and I threw like a girl--but I played anyway. I climbed trees, caught frogs, snakes, and salamanders, and collected autumn leaves and wildflowers. I lost much of that the summer before I turned twelve.
2. I wish that I had had a relationship with my parents. I wish they had wanted to hold me or give loving touches. I wish that I had trusted them enough to let them know I was being hurt. I wish that I had loved them and felt love from them. I wish that the word "parent" did not have a negative connotation to me.
3. I wish that I had not begun the habits that now enslave me. I wish that I abhorred the thought of cutting, as my friends do. I wish it didn't feel compelling or comforting. I wish I could eat regularly and healthily--that I didn't feel miserable when I ate or powerful when I didn't. I wish I didn't feel compelled to run, but did so because I wished to.
4. I wish I could feel safe around all men. I wish I could see them as people--not monstrous entities who wish to hurt me. I think I have missed many potential friendships because I have been afraid.
5. I wish that the person I present to the world was real. She's not. She's smart and confident. She can accomplish anything she wishes. She smiles and laughs and is perfect. Inside her is someone who is afraid every day, who weeps for that which has been lost, who feels broken and used and unworthy. But there are parts of me in both personae. Somehow, I need to figure out how to merge the two and use them to help each other.
6. I wish I could be whole--for me, for my children, for Darrin. Especially for Darrin. I have no idea why anyone would want to marry me, to be with me every day, and sleep with me every night, but he seems to want that. He probably gets really tired of having to help me through everything, but he doesn't complain. He probably wishes for someone who isn't hampered, sexually, by SSA or past abuse, but he never says that. However, I wish it for him--even though I never want him to leave me. I love him, but I don't feel I can ever be good enough for him.
7. What happened to me was sad. Horribly, gut-wrenchingly sad. That's all.

I don't think being depressed is an unnatural state of being. I believe we all have down times, and I don't think that's a bad thing. Not being able to recover from those times would be bad. But I believe anyone who has spent time with me understands that even though I have things that make me sad, I also have a huge love for people and life, and enormous appreciation for beauty. And in my life the joyful moments far outweigh the sad ones. So if I'm sad, occasionally, I think that's okay.


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