Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Why Depression Can Be So Cruel

I can feel my mood lowering with each passing day. It is getting harder to force myself out of bed each day, and I have completely lost interest in food. I haven't, as yet, reached the stage where my head and body feel disconnected, but I am sure that it can't be far away. I can't concentrate, I'm having problems sleeping, and I wonder why I bother carrying on. I find myself crying for no reason and, no matter how hard I try, I can't stop thinking about how much better things would be if I died. All the symptoms of being in a very depressed state are falling in to place, and no matter how much I don't want it to happen, I can't stop it.

This is always a distressing time of year for me, and this year it seems to be hitting me harder than ever. In a little less than two weeks time it will be the 10th anniversary of my husband's sudden death and for the first time since it happened, I will be spending the day alone.

As we get older we value those that are close to us more. How often do we hear the stories of elderly couples who have spent 50 or more years together where one of them dies, and the other dies shortly after. So often people say that the survivor died of a broken heart, and we know that medically that is not possible. But mentally that is exactly what happens. When you have lived with and loved someone for for so many years, the thought of surviving without them becomes all but impossible. The relationship between you and your family is different to that between you and your spouse. Yes, it is difficult when your parents or siblings die, but they are family who you had no choice but to exist with. When it is your spouse, it is completely different.

Your spouse is the person who you commit to, not through ties of blood, but through choice. They are not related to you, and yet you have the closest relationship that two humans can have with each other. So it is hardly surprising that having spent a lifetime together many widows and widowers just give up on life. Life has been spent with one person, and when that person dies you are filled with anger and despair.

Time is not the great healer that some think it is. You never forget, your brain will not let you. You have dreams of life together and sometimes they seem so real that you find it difficult to accept that they were just dreams when you wake up. Sometimes your brain creates images of the circumstances and scenes of your partner's death. Often you sit there thinking that they will be walking in the door any moment, and then you realise that it is an empty thought, one that will never be fulfilled.

Depression is your brain playing games with your body. Unfortunately for some, there is little that they can do to stop their brain playing these games, and when that happens the games can have terrible consequences.

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