This morning I looked back at my journal and saw this entry from about a year after my first husband drowned:
“I feel depression creeping in. Not feeling settled about anything; feeling up in the air about every decision before me; unable to say what’s wrong…”
Depression can unfortunately be a frequent visitor when we are healing from a loss. One very real contributing factor is fatigue. Grief itself drains our energy. When it is a spouse we have lost, we might be trying to do the work of two people in keeping house and raising a family. It is easy to overextend ourselves, and then depression takes hold.
I heard a good quote last week regarding that situation:
“In preventing illness whenever possible, watch for the stress indicators in yourself and in others you may be able to help. As with your automobile, be alert to rising temperatures, excessive speed, or a tank low on fuel. When you face “depletion depression,” make the requisite adjustments. Fatigue is the common enemy of us all—so slow down, rest up, replenish, and refill. Physicians promise us that if we do not take time to be well, we most assuredly will take time later on to be ill.”*
I have not dealt with deep depression for many years now – thankfully. You can take hope in that – healing can come. But I find that the above counsel is good for me still. I still have the tendency to try to fit too much into each day, and when I do, I get frustrated and fatigued, and my mind and my body begin to show the signs. I lose energy and it is harder to look on the bright side of life.
So when you begin to “feel depression creeping in”, slow down, rest up, replenish, and refill. It’s good counsel for us all.
*Jeffrey R. Holland, Oct 5, 2013 Address at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.