Almost as soon as Tony died, I began researching the stages of grief. I decided that I wanted to be prepared. This time (as opposed to when my daughter, Rose, died), I was going to grieve on my time. A bit arrogant, I realize. I saw that there would be anger. I was terrified of that one. I said, "I will do anything but not anger." Then I saw that there would be depression. Then I said, "I will do anything including anger but not depression."
I have suffered from depression for many years...also anxiety. This is a chemical imbalance in me. I have tried the reading the Bible, praying, and relying on God. I have done the medications. I still have random moments of complete panic, that I cannot talk myself out of. This is just to let you know, that I KNOW depression, and I don't like it.
So depression creeped up on me. I was amazed how different "grief depression" was for me than my "regular depression." It's a bit hard to explain. "Regular depression" for me is "just" wanting to sleep, feeling hopeless (knowing that usually it will eventually go away), etc. I can escape it during the day when hanging out with friends. "Grief depression" was so much deeper. I wanted to sleep. I couldn't escape it even when I was with friends. I could kinda laugh, but the depression and heaviness was still there. I cried incessantly. I was afraid to hope...I didn't want to hope...I tried hard not to hope. I eventually figured it out with my therapist/counselor/friend. We decided that hope was my new 4-letter word (h***)...I enjoyed that...and actually laughed...first time in a few days/weeks. I was afraid to hope because the last big thing I hoped for (Tony's healing) was taken away from me...suddenly...painfully...beyond my imaginings. I did not want to hope for anything else ever again. Hope hurts. If you hope for it, God may take it away. (That's what I was thinking.)
What helped me deal with anger was that I could break things when I felt like it. I could hit things when I needed to. As long as I didn't hurt anyone or anything (other than things I purchased for the purpose of breaking), I could use this to help with my anger. It worked.
We worked on what would help with the depression. I didn't think there would be anything. My therapist/counselor/friend and I talked it through. I decided that I would "challenge" my hopes...possibly even "challenging" God with my hopes. I would write down all my hopes, and then I could say, "There, God, these are my hopes. Go ahead and take them." Of course, this was not said in the humble, obedient way. I did this in the "I dare you" way. It might be wrong, but it helped me. I have been able to let my hopes go. I didn't mean for it to be a good thing, but then God is good. Since that day, I have felt a relief. I can laugh. I can be happy. I don't feel like sleeping constantly (when I say sleep, I mean hibernate). I still kinda want to cry suddenly without warning. (That sucks.) I still don't have much confidence in my hopes. I am still afraid to have them. I have a few big ones that I have told God about, but that's it.
So what's next? Which step of grief will I encounter next? I am still not over the anger. I still want to hit things and break things. I don't know about the depression. It's been a few days without the deep stuff. I hope that lasts.
Choosing joy...during the "grief depression", this was impossible...not exaggerating. I would try to choose joy...not really....there was not choosing...there was just sleep and crying... The last few days I have been trying to choose joy in the small everyday things...creating things at work...prepping for vacation...enjoying my kids... So there it is. Choose joy except when you're depressed (just kidding). JOY