It’s been awhile sent I last wrote you. The reason is that I’ve been in a funk working through another layer of grief. When I go through those layers I sink into a depressive funk, making it very hard to be creative; hence the absence of a weekly message in your inbox. But this time has not been wasted; I’ve learned so much and what I’ve learned is what I want to share with you in the hopes that it may help.
For those new to the weekly messages, I lost my little brother Jon Keith to suicide three years ago. The shock was greater because I had just seen him 3 weeks before at a family reunion held at my home. I had just let my guard down and breathed a sigh of relief because I believed he would weather the latest storm in his life. But I was wrong. Jon Keith’s death shattered my soul and I plunged into the depths of pain I had not known possible. From that point on I have struggled with depression and now accept the fact that I will most likely have it for the rest of my life. Back to this week’s topic.
This latest funk was one that I have had each year around the time of Jon Keith’s death. But unlike the previous ones, I’ve found great value this time. Perhaps it is because it is the third year (you know what they say about things coming in 3s). In any case, this year I have a level of clarity that I didn’t have before. Here is what I’ve learned.
Grief vs Depression
As I understand it now, grief is a process that enables us to eventually accept a loss and move on. This process takes time because we must break the limbic bond in the brain that emotionally binds us to the person or thing we are now grieving.
One could say that grieving a loss is a journey; one that takes us into that dark pit of pain that each soul carries from lifetime to lifetime. You could liken this pit to a warehouse filled with boxes. Each box contains the pain from a loss we have incurred during a lifetime. If we do not fully grieve the losses in each lifetime, we carry them forward into the next.
Using the example of my relationship with Jon Keith, I believe the intensity of my pain is due to the numerous lifetimes we have shared, and the fact that I had lost him in a way that left no closure as in lost at sea or in battle. When he left us in this lifetime, my box was already filled to overflowing.
Wrapping up this part on grief, I see grief as the process given to us that takes us down into the pit of pain where we can clean out the boxes. So how do we clean out the pain? It is my experience that clearing requires feeling it, crying it out and talking it out. Have you noticed how much better you feel after talking and crying about a loss while, as the same time, feeling it. Talking about the loss takes the sting out of the pain (it does the same for a fear) while crying releases the pain in the form of tears. It only takes those three to clear the pain from a box.
Depression serves a vital role in grieving because it takes the edge off the pain until we are ready to begin clearing. I call it emotional morphine but regardless of what we choose to call it, depression can be a blessing. (I know that may be shocking to some) but when the pain is so intense that it feels like we will die from it we must have something to make it livable. I feeling very strongly that depression actually saved me during the first few months after my brother’s death. The pain from my overfilled box came pouring out and rushed to the surface so intensely that I was actually planning my own demise in order to escape it. Had it not been for the emotional morphine that flooded by body, well–who knows what would have happened.
There numbing of feelings has another purpose; it allows us to stay in the pit of pain long enough to explore other boxes; boxes we can now access because they contain pain that is somehow related to the one that sent us on our current journey. During the past few years, and the last several months in particular, I have explored, opened and cleared boxes that I didn’t even know existed. With each one I found a depth of emotion I had not experienced before. This has provided another gift in that it stretched the limits of my emotions so that I feel more than before.
With that said, I know that depression has a really bad rap and it is my opinion that this has occurred because people have only understood its darker side. Yes, depression can be destructive if we don’t see it as a tool used by the soul to enable the body to survive pain from a loss. The emotional morphine can become detrimental if allowed to remain too long. The reason is that it closes the protein receptor points on the DNA strands. These receptor points are what allow us to draw in life force. When life force is shut off the body, now deprived of it, begins to deteriorate. This is why depression causes us to have low energy, aches and pain.
When depression continues for too long a period so that the lack of life force hits a critical point, we experience anxiety; the anxiety comes from the Inner Child yelling, “We’re gonna die if you don’t stop the morphine!” When understood in this way, anxiety is an alarm going off telling us that we must focus and find the box that needs to be cleared out and get to it. Once we do this we will naturally ascend from the depths and feel the sunshine again. Now when I feel anxiety, I go inward and ask my Inner Child to show me the box that needs my attention. It has worked each time.
In closing, it is my belief that both grief and depression are tools used by the soul to clear the pain of losses that are incurred as we move through our lifetimes. If used as intended, we will be able to journey into the darkness, clear the pain and be transformed, becoming more loving, compassionate and wise.