As is often the case, the deepest funk is followed by a realization that all this “stuff” I’m doing is (gasp!) actually working?!? Last week was the darkest it’s been in a while — just a pervasive feeling of utter despair with no light. September is particularly difficult… my first thought when I woke up this morning is “Today 2 years ago, Mama was dying & everything was falling apart. Today 1 year ago, I was having a D&C.” And then I turned my brain off and went to breakfast with girls from church.
Although working through and living with grief &/or depression is an ongoing process, these things are helping. And so I list them here — for others who may be interested, and mostly for myself for future reference.
- GriefShare — I’m 3 weeks into this 13-week program. Although I’ve read tons of grief books and even did a support group through Hospice, I have resolutely avoided ANYthing religious until now. So this is new ground. My group is ~15 people, and all kinds of loss — sudden death & terminal illness, teenage children & babies born still, suicide & natural death, recent & years ago. I know it depends on your group &/or mediator, but this series, and the accompanying workbook, has been great.
- Acupuncture — Such a positive experience. My acupuncturist, Cassandra, is unbelievably compassionate, and we talk quietly for 15-20 minutes before each session. About 10 minutes after she puts the needles in, I can literally feel the tension draining out of me. It’s amazing, and I’m not a huge user of that word. I do giggle at the sheer incongruity of it — 5 needles sticking out of each ear, a few in my forehead, wrists, and a bunch in my feet. It’s made for some amusing stories here in small-town South Carolina, where that there eastern-type medicine just ain’t done. It’s an expensive vice, but I’m hooked, at least through September.
- Quote Notes — During acupuncture #2, Cassandra told me that when I feel overwhelmed, I should say aloud, “Darling, I’m here for you.” I’m not really into mantras and such, but the simple comfort of these words really struck me. So the next day, I found several comforting & supportive quotes, typed them up in pretty fonts, and taped them around the house. They’re on the bathroom mirror, the kitchen cabinet doors, next to our key-hook, over the alarm keypad, beside the front door… everywhere that I look at least twice daily. Bobby just shakes his head when he comes across a new one. He’s a patient man.
- beliefnet — I’m bad about signing up for little inspirational email things and then deleting them without even opening them. But last week, during the sad times, I made myself read those suckers. And as hokey as it sounds, they actually help. Not all of them, of course… but some of them have been both interesting & timely.
- The Shack — And finally, this little book. I know that everyone and their grandma has read it. I’ve been holding out due to my anti-religion policy. But I bought it and I’m been reading it. The writing isn’t fabulous, the story isn’t a nail-biter. But I felt a powerful sense of recognition as I read the author’s description of what he calls “The Great Sadness.” His portrayal of grief is achingly accurate, as is the acknowledgment of anger at God.