Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Five Stages: Depression

This is the third in a series of blogs based on Kubler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief. These, however, are the Five Stages of a Deployment, or extended TDY, or any time our Soldier is “away”.

The time frame for these may vary depending on the spouse and on the individual couple. For example, when we first got married and I had moved halfway across the country, our first CQ involved all five stages because it happened the first day in our new home. Now, I don’t really do many of these until about the third week, or they pass so quickly it’s a mere bad mood.


I am purposefully not doing the stages in the usual order, because even Kubler-Ross says these stages aren’t necessarily complete or chronological. Each person is unique.


Depression comes late at night, when the house is quiet (too quiet) and we're tired but fighting the loneliness of sleep. Depression is that single warm tear that slides down a soft cheek, as solitary as we feel.

When the day is over and we've accomplished so much, it's a terrible irony that depression shows its shattered face now-- when we should be our most proud. It feels like a smoke-grey fog, slithering under the doors and tearing at our heartstrings with sharp words and harsh feelings. Depression is ephemeral, almost invisible, yet weighs heavy on our souls.

This is when we must be our strongest. Anger, denial, bargaining-- they are all formidable foes but how does one battle this? Depression slyly whispers that we're not good enough, we can't do enough and it doesn't matter anyway. Even the pets and the children are oblivious. Friends, having seen us at our best, may not even recognize the quietness within us. As we sluggishly respond to the dark and poisonous diatribe, we may not have the energy to break down altogether, and so we look stronger than we are.

This is when we must call our friends and venture out of our comfort zone. Depression often lurks behind the safe and familiar, its twisted smile welcoming us back. This is when we must eat right, with or without an appetite, and take the steps we need to get restful sleep. We must move our bodies. Depression cannot get its claws fully into us when we are rested, well-fed, and making sure we're healthy.

Sometimes being healthy means we talk to a professional, or take medication to stabilize our chemistry.

Sometimes it means we stop writing.... And go to sleep.

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