They say that depression is like “living in a body that fights to survive, with a mind that tries to die.”
When my father passed away, my mom went through those moments called depression.
At first we all just thought that after his death, we would go through the usual cycle of grief and overcome the painful loss. It’s really easier to tell someone that “everything is going to be alright”. My mom was devastated. She stared into space every night and seemingly was lost in her own world with all the psychosomatic symptoms of illness. There was nothing I or my sister could do to help her. After all, how could you forget easily someone who had given you so much to remember?
He was gone. We needed to move on. He would have wanted it that way. We will survive. He would have wanted us to be happy. He is in a better place. There is no more hurt or pain.
I needed to repetitively remind myself and my mom of these thoughts. But the tears spontaneously flowed at every occasion. There were no happy thoughts.
What probably hurt most was the non closure of events when death came like a thief in the night. After all, a procrastinated demise has the opportunity to provide one last farewell and make amends in life. Unlike people who probably had to suffer tremendously before dying, my dad’s death had no goodbyes. One day he was just gone.
That’s where all the regret, guilt and depression were coming from. It was a feeling of betrayal on the part of death.
Depression is a sad state to be in. Sad when people are not waiting for happy endings but just waiting for the end. Everyone thinks that depression is just a phase we all go through and snapping out of it is easy. Watching my mom go through this at her phase in life was painful. Perhaps the reason why my grief was short was because I needed to be strong for her, more than her having to be strong for us. After all, after my dad suffered a stroke, she was the strength that kept all of us together. When he passed away, that pillar just gave way.
I will probably never know what lives in the mind of my mom. Even when I ask her about it, she tells me that when she has bouts of loneliness, there is nothing in her mind but a feeling of emptiness and fear.
More than two decades later, with psychiatric help, medicines and family support later, she is better on most days.
I know that there is no one stop shop for depressive disorder. But there is hope and help for anyone going through tough times. And mental illness is something we need to be aware of, talk about, and share.
It’s okay not to be okay. I’m with you on this journey. And I’m writing this for you.