The Grief Diaries – From This Side of Grief – #Depression – A Silent Killer

I don’t wish to sound like a broken record sharing my moments of grief here, but besides the fact that writing about it somehow eases the weight of my grief, I know that there are plenty of us out there who are living it and may feel an ounce of comfort or kinship with these posts. And also, undoubtedly, everyone has lost a loved one, or ultimately, will, so my thoughts here may become beneficial to others somewhere down the road. This is why I’ll soon be starting my podcast on Grief – The Real Talk, for exactly these reasons.

But know this God honest truth – not five minutes of any day since the day my husband left me here, goes by that I’m not thinking of him or speaking to him. That man was woven into my soul, and not thinking of him would be like forgetting half of my body or forgetting to put on clothes. But today, I figured it was time to share more of my thoughts here in what I like to call my Grief Diaries series. In this series I’ve been discussing thoughts and/or moments that strike hard, baring my soul so to speak, but sharing not just because I need a place to vent, but sharing my realizations in hopes of spreading awareness.

Let me start by saying that this post might seem a little dark, but grief isn’t a sunny topic. And let me also state that this post isn’t me crying out for help, but more for recognition for the so many in this sometimes dark world who can’t summon their voice. Yes, I am one of grief’s victims, and I have been working diligently with books, videos, spirit and meditations since I lost my husband so that I can try and learn how to dig my own self out of the darkness that reigns because if I want to survive and find life again I must find the life boat back to the light. It’s a difficult thing to do one’s self, but I have spent my whole life since childhood ‘finding a way’ to get through adversity. I share my struggle on this journey, and I am not ashamed to admit it. But there are the so many out there who may not be able to search for or find their strength to want to go on, no matter what their traumatic issue is.

I’m a strong woman. I built myself up that way throughout my life. I’m strong-willed and minded, but I will tell you honestly, this grieving business is a Goliath of a beast. I know what it has taken from me and can tell you, it’s not difficult to see how the weaker sometimes can’t pull through. So I felt that besides letting off a little personal steam in this post, that once again, I wanted to spread the awareness to others and want to speak up for those who may have family going through some tough times who choose not to speak about their pain, so that family may clue in.

What sparked my wanting to share this post came from my scanning through a book of material I’ve written in draft to put into a book on my grief. I am suddenly getting inspired to read through just some of the material I’ve written as I witnessed my husband’s health decline to after his passing. For now they are in a Word doc temporarily titled – Conversations and Observations, and, Obituary. I currently have oodles of permanent titles on a page listed that I will have to work with once the book is put together and I find the most fitting title.

From this side of Grief:

I am a strong woman who has lived through some terrible shit in my life but nothing, I mean NOTHING is as painful as the grief I carry with me daily from the loss of my beloved husband.

It doesn’t matter that I could almost lift park benches from the strength I’ve acquired through difficulties in life, this enormous strangle hold that suffocates daily is an opponent bigger than life. And many days it can be emotionally crippling.

I often go to the dark side since losing my other half. And no, time doesn’t ease. When the grief monster and the bubble of sadness that comes along for the ride appear, I find myself in yet another duel. These duels become more and more trying and they don’t dissipate with time, despite everyone else in our circles forgetting we are in this grief for life and it can take a long time – or forever, to climb back into joyful living. Our grief never leaves. Even with however much time it may take for it to come to a slow simmer that resides within without constant bubbling over, mine never seems to leave, I am only still learning how to temporarily suppress it. So we are forced to find a way to continue on with our lives or merely just exist. I am choosing life, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy and that it some days doesn’t knock the actual wind out of my breathing sails.

The loneliness is overwhelming. I am naturally a tactile, social being, often dubbed a social butterfly. Nobody is physically here for me, and I’m not one to cry for help to burden others. But I can’t help but wonder, where are the people who used to be in my life? Why did family forget me after such a traumatic event that goes on daily? There I said it, and I’m going to leave that one alone – for now, because, honestly, the people I’m related to by blood give me enough fodder to write a book, erm, make that a tome.

semi colon heart

Some days I’m living on the precipice between living and existing. I am, me, myself and I. I was never that person who got depressed, but I can surely say I know what so many in this world struggle with as this visiting sadness that looms large over me has given me new understanding. I don’t want to call my sadness depression, more like PTSD. My mind too often drifts in a continuous cycle of visionary reminders of watching my husband die daily before my eyes. This is some tough shit to erase from the play list of home videos. It’s a repetitive cycle that is easily triggered by a memory, a random object in my home, or just plain looking at photos of my husband (which surround my home like a mausoleum because I need them to be all around me). I’ve thankfully, never been a depressed person despite some of the awful things that have happened in my life, and knowing depression does exist on my maternal side, I am grateful I didn’t inherit that dis-ease. I may get temporarily depressed, knowing that’s the wrong word I sometimes substitute for sadness, but I don’t allow myself to live in darkness and I fight back with all my might not to allow myself to let a sad day turn into many in a row. Perhaps I’m lucky that way? But there are plenty of people who live in deep depression and can manage to keep that under a cloak when around others. This can lead to dangerous outcomes.

I’m not that person who calls people to wa wa my troubles and moan. Instead, I am silent and solitary. My cries for help will come in subtle ways, maybe talking to a friend and almost begging them to come visit, invading that fine line with my silent cry for help so as not to sound desperate, when in fact there are days when I am.

People are busy. We don’t wish to act sucky so we stuff down our silent hell when all we are craving is some human connection, a hug, an ear for us to cast off our fears, fears that sometimes keep us in the dark and have us questioning ourselves on why are we still here. Why am I here where nobody has time when I could be with one who my heart aches for?

Often it’s the crushing, suffocating pain of having to tolerate our own existence that leads to the many suicides labeled as mental health issues. Funny how I see in my own life how nobody has the time for a cry for help, even when it is deafeningly silent. But they make time for the damned funerals.

Depression, like grief, is a silent thief that traps us at its will. It comes like a tornado sweeping over us, leaving us nothing to grab hold of in its wake, it can often be called a silent killer.

Us grievers, the sad, lonely, or depressed, don’t typically cry for help.  And for the some that do, they aren’t always heard. This is why so often these people commit suicide. They don’t feel they are being heard, loved or cared about. They’re misunderstood for craving attention when in fact, they are, and sometimes that attention  they didn’t receive could have been the very lifeline that saved them. Connection and companionship are a crucial need for a griever, especially one who lives alone. Those who don’t understand how depression can take hold of someone in their darkest moments should pay more attention to the signs, without judgement. We watch movies and news reels about people who feel there’s no help for them and choose to end their pain, all too often. And their loved ones sit in question. Asking themselves, why didn’t I see the signs? Because you don’t always see signs as many depressed are clever at masquerading their pain with smiles and jokes with their pretended happiness. But if you listen and learn not just to the words, but the silences in between, you can learn how to read between the lines and you just may hear.

I remind you all that if you have a person in your life suffering from a situation, to give them a thought once in awhile. If you noticed their silences, patterns, or dispositions have changed, check up on them. If you noticed they don’t show up like they used to or don’t call you, take that as a sign they are in retreat mode and could use a little company, even if they say they are fine – because they are not. If they are going through an ordeal in their life, pick up a phone and make a point to get together with them or just go visit them. Take it from me. I will never beg, and neither will many others. Please have compassion for someone in your life going through a difficult time. Most of the time, their silence is not a good thing. Take it from one who knows.

I wrote a post awhile ago about the symbolism of the semi-colon not just being a punctuation mark, but a survivor symbol – we are making it through, or have made it through, after a life-altering pause. Our story is not over because we choose to fight on.

Semi colon pause

©DGKaye 2022

The SemiColon Translation – Not Just a Punctuation Mark

I’ve been seeing the semicolon symbol a lot on social media, and I’m identifying with it and sharing its other story here today. It’s also a symbol of courage that simply uses the punctuation mark to tell the world, our story isn’t over. It could have ended with a period, but the semicolon allows the story to continue.

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Grammarly shared a post about this stating:

“A semicolon is used when an author could have chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you, and the sentence is your life.”

It was posted in 2015 by Grammarly, but has subsequently been recirculating and being used for suicide prevention advocating – the new significance of survival. – Project Semicolon

This punctuation mark has become a symbol for hope for anyone suffering depression, addiction, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and more of the same. You may have come across some of these posts on social media. Marketing has joined in with creating everything from jewelry, Tshirts, and more with the semicolon design. Many sufferers of depression have also tattooed this symbol somewhere on their person. The symbol was created to change the stigma and to help inspire others who walk the fine line of suicidal thoughts, and for showing solidarity against suicide, depression, addictions and other mental health struggles, inspiring strength for the suffering.

Grammarly shares a post about this symbol and talks about Amy Bleuel who began the nonprofit ‘project suicide’ back in 2013. She created the symbol to be used for more than just a punctuation mark after her own father committed suicide. Sadly, she took her own life in 2017.

Our world is getting infinitely harder for many of us to cope in. The statistics on suicide are growing enormously, and these don’t even apply to the same category with those who suffer actual mental illness. One does not have to suffer mental illness to take themselves to the dark side. I can attest to how devastating events in life can push our minds to some places we’d never thought we’d ever go to when provoked by emotional distress, loneliness or grieving.

The significance related to the punctuation mark is, a story of horrific pain is a mere pause in life, but life can continue. Problems, events, situations are temporary, but suicide is permanent. A reminder that life will go on and not be ended, symbolizing a continuation of life even when life throws us unbearable times.

Please, if you are someone contemplating self harm, or know someone who has reached this dark place, share this post and call your country’s national suicide prevention hotline:

In the U.S. call       1-800-273-8255   https://afsp.org/get-help 

Or simply dial #988

In Canada call        833-456-4566      https://talksuicide.ca/

In the U.K. there are various numbers listed on the NHS website  https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/feelings-symptoms-behaviours/behaviours/help-for-suicidal-thoughts/

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There is always hope. Most of the suicides can be prevented if the distressed person could just have someone to talk to. If you know someone who has experienced, or living a tragedy, life altering situation, or severely depressed, and they aren’t acting like their usual selves, closing themselves off to friends and loved ones, or just disappears from their social circles, please check up on them.

These numbers can be called when desperation reigns, be it thoughts about suicide, surviving a suicide attempt, or deep distorting thoughts for the grieving.

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https://www.grammarly.com/blog/why-a-semicolon-tattoo-is-the-most-beautiful-tattoo/

©DGKaye2022

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You Never Know the Silent Load that Somebody may be Carrying

Be kind

You Never Know the Silent Load Somebo

dy May be Carrying.

Why You Should Use a #Dictionary – David Foster Wallace

who do you write like image

I was reading some of my favorite blog posts the other day, and while I was at Marjorie Mallon’s blog, I noticed a badge on her sidebar which had caught my attention. It read “I write like . . .Stephen King”. Underneath it, there was a link to click to analyze your own writing to see who you write like. Of course I was curious, and I clicked on the link.

 

Once on the site, you are asked to copy and paste a paragraph or two of your own writing for analysis. I entered two paragraphs from my book, Words We Carry,  and I was informed that my writing is similar to that of David Foster Wallace. Then a box pops up with code in it to paste it to your own blog sidebar, saying, “I write like . . .”. (See it here on my sidebar to the right.)

 

I was humbled and proud for my writing to be likened to Wallace’s writing. Albeit, I didn’t know much about him prior to receiving my likeness analysis, but I was thrilled to at least be compared to a famous writer, and made a note to look into his works the next day.

 

As serendipity would have it, the next day I opened my email and received my weekly newsletter I subscribe to from Brainpickings.org. , a fantastic newsletter on everything about famous writers, by Maria Popova. The headline article of the day was on, who else, but David Foster Wallace!!!

 

You can read the article below, written by Maria Popova.

 

https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/11/05/david-foster-wallace-dictionary-writing/?mc_cid=8c7cf840e6&mc_eid=43a4cc69d8

After reading the article above, I began googling Wallace to learn more about him.

 

Courtesy of : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Foster_Wallace  I learned this about him:

 

Born February 21, 1962 in Claremont, California, Wallace was a novelist, short story writer, essayist, and a college professor of English and creative writing. The genres he wrote in were literary fiction and nonfiction. He died by suicide, September 12, 2008, age 46.

His last unfinished novel, The Pale King, was published in 2011 and became a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer prize for fiction.

The L.A. times book editor, David Ulin called Wallace “one of the most influential and innovative writers of the last 20 years”. 

 

Wallace struggled with drugs, alcohol, and depression. Apparently, he had stopped taking his medication for depression which had kept him productive for more than 20 years. Because of unpleasant side-effects he was suffering from the meds, he weaned off them. When he went back on them after depression set back in, they apparently had lost their effectiveness for him. He committed suicide by hanging himself from a rafter in his garage.

 

It seems like an all too familiar tragedy, ending yet another life of a creative genius. Wallace’s story serves to remind us of just how lethal depression can be.

 

I was more than elated to have my writing compared to Wallace’s. And it was an interesting experience to learn more about him.

To read a more detailed biography of Wallace, click the link below:

http://www.biography.com/people/david-foster-wallace-507641#the-published-author

 

Now, the question remains . . . WHO DO YOU WRITE LIKE?

 

DGKaye©2016