Last month, I misplaced my dinghy.
There I was, sailing along atop the turbulent waves of my grief, when I tumbled out of my little boat and it floated out of my reach. The waves of depression and grief pulled me under, and I struggled to find the surface.
Depression is a real issue for a lot of people, but can be worse when going through grief. It’s also hard to separate and identify the two – if I’m feeling sad, is it because I’m grieving, or because I’m battling depression? When is sadness just “normal” grief, and when does it turn into something else?
I knew something was off when I stopped feeling like writing. Writing has been my go-to grief mechanism since the first week after losing Jonah. Suddenly, I would open my blog and no words would come. Ideas for posts might pop into my head, but I’d put my fingers on the keys and no words would come out.
I’d fallen out of my dinghy, which was made up of all the things I was doing to facilitate my grief, like writing and growing/running Courageous Mothers. Suddenly, I could do neither of those things.
Instead, I found myself without motivation to do the things I knew I loved to do – the things that helped me connect with Jonah. There wasn’t much I really felt like doing at all, in fact, and was easily irritable, seemingly without reason.I felt drowned by grief and sadness, rather than afloat in my Jonah-love dinghy, and I couldn’t find my way back.
During the time I wasn’t writing, I read a lot. For some reason, when other activities didn’t appeal to me, getting lost in a story did. I would open a book and get lost, letting my reality go for a couple blissful hours. I know a lot of people with depression don’t feel like doing anything at all, so I’m glad I still had that one thing that I could do to escape. Escaping my grief, though, isn’t how I’ve been handling it. Writing about it and actively feeling my grief is what works for me, so I knew I wanted to get back to that.
Thankfully, I was able to talk to a doctor about my medications and went back to the full dose of Lexapro (I was only on half for some reason). Two weeks later, I feel like my head is back above the water, my dinghy is in sight, and I’m swimming back toward it.
Well, let’s be honest, here – I don’t know how to swim…so I’m doggy paddling my way. It’s a slow process, doggy paddling out of the deeps, but slow progress is still progress. Dinghy, here I come.