Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Depression - Grief - Denial

I'm lucky ... my friends care about me. It isn't easy for them because they don't really understand.

Actually I'm really glad they don't (because of what that would really mean).

Most of us never really know stuff, we just know the words.

Its like the ice on these rocks: most of the human population lives in places where they only see ice in the fridge. They have never immersed themselves in icy waters and swum and crawled out of the waters.

Yet if questioned they would know its bad, it will hurt and be dangerous.

Such is the way humans pass knowledge. We can learn from each other and don't all have to experience near death experiences to know it may kill us.

Yet there is something missing from this knowledge. Robert Hienlein came up with the term "Grok" in his novel "Stranger In A Strange Land" (its a good book of philosophy and analysis of humanity, I recommend it).

My friends often think I'm suffering from depression after the loss of Anita. Personally I can understand why they think the symptoms are a match, but there are things they just don't understand.

Ask anyone who studies black holes, the experts will tell you that that they don't really know, but they have lots of ideas and untested theories. It is after all hard to study what you can't see.

I believe that most people only experience loss of a loved partner late in their lives. It is relatively rare that people in the midst of their life have to suffer such losses. A friend of mine who lost her husband recently remarked to me that it was not untill she lost her husband that she truly understood what her mother had gone through with the loss of her husband. Sure she loved her father, and when he had died she grieved for some time. But the relationship was (of course) different to that her mother had with her father.

Normally it is the elderly who (after a life together) loose their husband or wife. Those who are younger (like the kids) probably have not lost their husband or wife and consequentially are often confused as to why their remaining parent seems to have difficulty in "getting over it".

There is an Australian musician who I happen to like. I have found in his songs quite good descriptions of the subtle differences between Grief and Depression. Let me quote from Richard Pleasance:


Well you live up above my ceiling and you feed on the filth in my head
You come down in the cool of the evening and get comfortable in my bed

I had it out with you, must have been years ago and I thought that I'd left you behind
Butyou've come back again to haunt me and taunt me and force me to loose my mind
You keep pusing me down down down down down down down

Now I'm seeing thingsand I'm hearing things
I've let the bastard get the better of me and cast me into a well of depression

Well I know that you're not a real person but I know that you're more than real
This time I'm not going to let you screw me, so tell me how does that make you feel?

I reckon there's a good chance he's struggled with depression. On grief he seems to have have some experience too from another song

Cold Change

Brother you've cast off your anger and left this world
So quick, so quick was your exit explains this girl
And cruel, so cruel the disease that pulled you down
Relief from your absence is not to be found

And so cold the change
Deep are the waves, deep is the pain

And tears fall on pictures of you growing up
And she sighs, as she nervously spills the tea from her cup

And so cold the change
Deep are the waves, deep is the pain
So we float, out to sea, out to sea

Now she's lost, as she floats out to sea I call her name
And I pray, I pray I can bring her back safe again

And so cold the change
Deep are the waves, deep is the pain
So swim to me, darling please, darling please.

To me the differences in the sadness experienced by the characters in this song are unlike the sad and tortured experience of depression.

Anyway, I hope you never understand this.

But to my friends I say this: I'm not depressed ... I'm trying hard to learn how to be without out her when I don't want to be without her.

Another photograph (like the one above) from todays walk with my old friend my OM-1 loaded with colour negative film


Anonymous said...

Good ! super website!


Anonymous said...

My name is Daniel Shelton; I am a social worker and grief counselor for a hospice in Las Vegas, NV. I have a Google Alert set on my computer for grief and grieving and recently your thoughts popped up. I am always looking for personal thoughts and experiences that might prove useful to those I serve and wanted to thank you for having the courage to share your difficult experiences. I wish you the best of luck in your personal healing and if there is anything I might be able to do to assist please don’t hesitate to ask.


Daniel Shelton, LSW, MSW
Family Home Hospice
Bereavement Counselor/Coordinator
8655 S Eastern
Las Vegas, NV 89123

obakesan said...


I'm glad that anything I write can be of help to anyone going through difficulty.

Its a tough road and I expect being a counselor is draining and difficult as those who are drowning in their sea of grief will pull on anyone or anything in their struggle.

I'm in Finland (but normally Australia) so despite your kind offer of assistance I fear that I can do little more than plod on as I am. Tomorrow I'll be going out to visit her and take some Roses for her.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled onto yr site vi a search for mirror less cameras…..its a great site and I love all the info…I also hope you continue to heal I cant imagine how you must feel or how hard it is….Take Care

obakesan said...

thanks, thats very kind of you

Healing is progressing, but like many things you never get "better" you just learn to live with the injury.