Categories Going Out On a Limb-Posted on

The Heavy Gray Fug of Nothingness

I want to talk about grief/loss/depression. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross says in her book on death and dying: “…. learn to listen to the silence inside……”

Often times I think we are afraid of that inside silence. We fear we will notice things we prefer to leave unnoticed. Things like: endings, stretches of emptiness, the loud silence of loss or never having had, the suspicion that it may well be too late, the sadness of not having loved well enough, the fear of pain or death or not dying with dignity. None of the above bring joy or pleasure. All bring grief which easily leads to depression.

When I wonder if I am on the edge of depression what I am feeling is shut down and shut off. Shut down from feelings, shut off from the outside world. I am at “6’s and 7’s” as my university school room- mate liked to say; and my mother’s words would have been “at loose ends.” I have an urgency to tie things up so they all come together and make sense and are sensible. The edge of depression for me isn’t that everything is too hard. Too hard means anxiety as I see/feel it. For me it is that nothing matters quite like it once mattered. What was once so very important seems to fade or pale, as nothingness looms like a heavy gray fug.

A sign for me that I might be struggling with the edge of depression is that I can not find the words to describe what I am feeling. Or worse yet, the words I find hurt my skin. It is not a rash or an itch, it is an ache. My skin feels raw and afraid to be seen. Longing to be seen, but afraid of how vivid that will feel. Like sting my eyes, blast my ears, scrape my throat, and peel the skin away from my soul.

Makes sense to prefer the heavy gray fug of nothingness.

My words to you and my words to myself, when these feelings barge in, or creep in softly and unexpectedly as is so often the case for me, and take over is to be patient. This too, like absolutely everything else in life, will end. It is raining this very moment. The rain will stop. Maybe even the sun will shine. Maybe more blossoms will open, more buds will pop, more colour and life will awaken. Always the birds will sing again. We can count on that as a for sure.

Kubler-Ross says there is a purpose for the silence. I say there is meaning in the edge of depression. For me the meaning is that I am grieving as my life ends in Toronto and at this very given moment I can not even imagine a new life for me in Kalamazoo, Michigan. All I know right now is ending. Soon I will remember beginnings……maybe when the birds begin to sing again.

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