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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Stages of Grief: Depression

I think I've written about the stages of grief before, so I'll just do a quick overview. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross put forth a model of how we work through and grieve a loss.
The five stages of grief are:
  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance
These stages are not always all felt by someone experiencing a loss, and they don't always happen in chronological order. You can move between them, and even go through some multiple times.

People living with chronic illness often continue through these different emotions, as the pain continues, there are changes in one's limitations, and so forth. Even if someone reaches a place of acceptance, they can fall back to the other stages. It can feel like there are waves of acceptance. But, I'm stuck in a dip / valley, and I'm not sure how I got here or how to get out. I didn't even realize that I had come to some sort of peace with things... until I no longer had that level of acceptance (hindsight's 20/20, I guess).

I'm finding myself in the depression part of the model. I'm trying hard not to sink into a deep depression, but I know depression well enough to know that I'm there... just trying not to slide further into the darkness of depression. I need to reach out to a therapist, but it's difficult to do. I have an accountability partner, which will hopefully help me get the help I need. But, it's a huge step that I even am writing this out.

Depression isn't something that you can really articulate. I feel somehow disconnected (dissociation) from God, myself, and others. I don't find joy in some of my hobbies. I'm trying to go through the motions that I know I should take, but I really just don't care. I just feel unmotivated and STUCK.

It doesn't help that I also deal with anxiety and panic attacks, which have both been worsening. I sometimes feel weird and need to sit down, but then I need to stand and/or move around... so, I'll just sit, stand, sit, stand, and so on. Meanwhile, my heart feels like it's about to beat out of my chest. I take my blood pressure and pulse, and they're normal... NORMAL?! How can they be normal, when I clearly know that something's wrong?!

These feelings of depression and worsening of anxiety didn't come on quickly (it's been a build up over months), so I can't expect them to just go away. I just need to find the strength and courage to reach out for help and start climbing out of the pit. I'm NOT done fighting yet!