Welcome to my Blog

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Mourning Your Loss is Different from Depression

A reader posted this comment on the last blog:

"Would simply allowing oneself to feel the fear, feel the sadness, feel the pain, help? Not with the view to wallow in it or heighten it, but to then release it? If a grieving person doesn't feel their pain, won't they repress it, causing further trouble down the road?"

Yes, the comment is on the right track. We must feel our fear, sadness, and pain about those down times in our lives. And we can honor our losses by the ceremony of mourning them. Honest mourning is different from depression. In honest mourning we are accepting the pain of our loss, we are experiencing the sadness of our loss, we are not repressing our pain. And then, slowly, reflectively, we move forward with what remains to us in the reality of our daily lives.

In depression, we are not accepting our losses. We are hating them, and collapsing non-reflectingly into our pain, and railing against our fate, and in so doing we are blaming the circumstances that are causing our pain instead of actually feeling our pain. And we are focusing on how bad things are, thus distracting us from really experiencing our authentic human pain about them, which keep us from accepting that pain.

Psychic pain cannot continue if we accept it. That's why total immersion works for things like claustraphobia and post traumatic stress syndrome. Acceptance seems to neurtralize psychic pain.

Physical pain is a little different. You can neutralize that by distracting your acknowledgement in the neocortex that pain is being produced in the subcortex. (This is why I recommend some training in hypnosis for chronic pain)

Remember, blame is the way a human being avoids feeling the pain of their own fear. Blaming simply forces us to build up more repressed fear. Repressed fear causes us to seek out things in our present reality that we can respond to with habitual thinking left over from negative experiences in our past. In other words if we were abused as children we encounter any new group as if the people in it will also likely abuse us in some way. Instead of simply meeting people and looking forward to what we may share, we are afraid of meeting new people for fear of what they may do to us.

1 comment:

Ginger said...

This post is great! Every single line is so pithy.

"Psychic pain cannot continue if we accept it."

My experience bears that out. In April, when my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, then lung cancer, then had a single mastectomy and half a lung removed, I really remained surprisingly calm. I never resisted each new piece of information. I did feel fear and sadness, but never asked, "Why her?" or think her illness "shouldn't be happening."

After reading this post, I see acceptance of it all prevented depression and despair from launching. Fortunately, my sister approached her diagnosis & treatment with acceptance as well, and bravely looked forward to having the needed surgery. She too, did not succumb to despair or depression.

She is scheduled to begin 12 weeks of chemo soon. She will then have 6weeks of radiation. We all know how grueling these therapies can be, especially chemo. While she has "bounced back" quickly & well from her surgeries, I don't know how she will respond to these treatments. Thinking about her feeling fatigued, sick to her stomach, with no appetite for a few months brings up more fear and sadness.

I guess we just take things one day at a time, & again, don't resist whatever presents.

Her prognosis is good with treatment. I feel so grateful for that. I must focus on her chemo as "life-giving." I must regard it as a blessing and a gift, even though it will bring suffering and pain for a while.

The key, I guess, is not to "rail against our fate," but stay aware of our feelings rather than resort to "blaming circumstances."

I do trust that good things always happen, even in the midst of pain & suffering, if we are open to seeing & receiving goodness.