Depression and anxiety often to go hand-in-hand with grief, particularly in the early days after diagnosis (or other traumatic life event).
It’s normal to experience depression when we’re grieving…
I’ve lost so much! Who am I now?? I’m such a burden… Maybe they’d be better off without me… What’s the point of being alive if I can’t even do the things I love anymore… I’m just so, so sad…
It’s also natural to experience anxiety…
Will I ever get better? What about my career? How will I provide for my children? Is it my fault that I’m sick? Could I have done something to prevent this? I feel so powerless… and scared… I feel so, so scared…
Are you in the thick of grief right now? I want to remind you of two things:
1. The “valley of the shadow of death” is temporary
The “valley of the shadow of death” is a spooky, terrifying place. It certainly doesn’t feel temporary while you’re there; in fact, it feels like you’ll never get out!
Psalm 23 reminds us that our shepherd, the Lord, will faithfully guide us through this daunting valley (you can’t bypass grief, unfortunately), leading us out the other side, where the pastures are fresh and the waters are still.
Don’t give up… You won’t be in this valley forever. Keep your eyes on Jesus, our good shepherd. (John 10:11, 14, Matt 11:28-29, Heb 4:16, 1 Peter 5:7)
2. Getting the right support is vital
Feelings of hopelessness are common when a chronically ill person is mourning the loss of their healthy “self”. I pray Fruitful Today’s grief posts will provide you with the comfort you need. (You can do a category search for “grief” to find more resources.)
However, it’s very important that you get professional support if your grief starts to spiral out of control. My site is aimed at supporting you, but it can’t replace face-to-face contact with a therapist trained in grief counseling… Ideally, it would be wise to book an appointment well before reaching crisis point. Try not to wait till breaking point before arranging to see someone.
If you ever start having unwanted and intrusive dark thoughts about your life, please tell someone IMMEDIATELY. Reach out for support. Tell a close friend or family member. Contact your doctor or counsellor or pastor at church, and tell them you are in crisis – they are trained to know how to help in these situations. If it can’t wait, contact a crisis support helpline in your city (see list below) – and make the call sooner rather than later. Whatever you do, please don’t try to battle these thoughts alone!
Crisis lines by country:
This song is an old 1970s Christian music classic by Keith Green – a true man of his era who sported an incredible Afro! (Impressive feat for an Anglo-American.)
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“Grief in Silhouette” by Tim Green, Flickr, 2012.
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