Have you ever experienced grief and depression at the same time? Talk about getting hit over the head with a crowbar.
If you've ever been subjected to this, you probably feel as if you've been welcomed into hell.
Grief is like experiencing a nuclear explosion inside your heart. Depression is like having your heart exposed to a nuclear winter that never ends. Taken together, they amount to a clusterfuck of the spirit. They collide in an explosion of screaming apathy. It is as if the world you were a part of no longer exists, and in a way, it doesn't. They are not a combination you want to find yourself living in, because you won't feel like you're really alive.
Unfortunately, this is a time of year when grief and depression often intersect. They are not the same experience, but they both carry a devastating capacity to wreak havoc upon the human soul.
Depression is like a fog that never clears. It's like having a knife buried in your brain, and a bullet lodged in your spirit. Perhaps its greatest weapon is its pervasive tornado of hopelessness; what I call "The Nothingness." The Nothingness is like an insidious parasite that slowly infests every part of your body, convincing you that everything is both irrelevant and a disaster at the same time.
Depression is a horror I wouldn't wish upon anybody.
But grief? Grief is the longing that seems to come from both heaven and hell at the same time. It is the crushing wail for what we have lost. The aching that stabs you in the heart so strongly it literally makes you feel as if you might collapse and die. Its capacity to numb you to the reality that you're even still alive is unparalleled.
Its ability to make your nostalgia reverberate throughout the world is devastating. And it can both freeze you in horror and swell your heart with love at the same time.
Grief screams and pants and terrorizes you in its invocation for a voice. You know that this voice must be heard, but it seems that the louder the voice gets, the more your entire consciousness is overwhelmed in a helpless tragedy.
Grief and depression both have the capacity to kill, literally. They are not to be trifled with. Do not fuck around with depression, and do not be so arrogant as to assume you can get away with avoiding your grief. You can't.
I can't tell you how to get through either of them. Not now. Not in a short piece of writing.
But I can tell you that if you are experiencing either, please, please take them seriously. The more you deny them the more hate you will feel for yourself, and the more your essence will be terrorized by loathing, denial, and disgust.
My words are a poor substitute for connection, for treatment, for acknowledgment, or for healing. I can't do any of these things for you.
What I can do is tell you that you're not alone in your aloneness. I can infuse my words with love, and give you these words to be used as a weapon in the war against despair.
The holidays are a breeding ground for despair. Whether you're besieged by depression or lost in the haunting vista of grief, do not allow despair to win.
If you're in this battle right now, you may want to give up. You may be pulling your hair out or pacing around the room in a prison you didn't ask for. You may feel so alone it's unbearable.
If that is the case, I want you to know that I see you. I feel your aching heart.
Let's stand our ground, together. Stand with me. Come out of hiding, if only for a moment. Cry and wail and let your walls come down, no matter how scared you are. And share your story. Your story isn't invalid because pain is a central character at the moment.
Believing that a life emerged in a season of pain is ultimately inconsequential is one of the greatest scandals of our age. It isn't true. You don't have to believe it.
No one has any business telling you otherwise.