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Are you going to take some action? Saturday May 30, 2015

I believe that emotions can be classified as helpful or unhelpful. The helpful version of depression is sadness. Sadness happens when there is a loss. It is helpful because it can push us to take some action. But we can also turn sadness into depression...

When my wife left me suddenly and unexpectedly after 30 years of what I thought was a great marriage, I was sad. I was very sad. It was, as described in 'The Journey From Abandonment to Healing' (a very helpful book by Susan Anderson), shattering. I had choices at that point: take action, or refuse to accept the reality of the situation.

It was tempting to refuse to accept what happened, with self-talk like "This can't be happening", "She must come back", and "I can't live without her." But I grew up with a depressed father. I knew I didn't want to go that route. It was difficult but I chose action.

* I asked for help from friends and relatives, who responded very lovingly.

* I saw my counselor and asked him for words that would be helpful: he gave me "Your happiness doesn't depend on her."

* I did a daily grief journal, which changed into a gratitude journal about 2 months after the breakup.

* I stayed in my healthy routines of eating, sleeping and exercise.

* I also hung up my daughter's painting which has the words "The sun is always rising somewhere."

If I had refused to accept the reality of the breakup I could have become bitter, but "bitterness is a paralytic" according to Sherlock. Paralysis is one of the symptoms of depression. I am still sad about the divorce, but I am not depressed.

Two websites that can be helpful:

A Moodscope member.

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Hopeful One Sat, May 30th 2015 @ 6:54am

Hi Steve- thanks for that and sharing such a traumatic event in your life. You seem to have managed to respond rather than react to the situation with positive regard for yourself avioding self judgements . Your passage to the acceptance of the reality of your situation has set the scene for a healthy recovery. I wish you the best in your journey .

Anonymous Sat, May 30th 2015 @ 8:39am

Interesting point re paralytic, I shall remember that, and your many other good points in your blog. Thanks also for the links, good reading. My mum is worrying away at perceived slights and won't drop them and move past them, I see this as a sort of paralysis too, very frustrating to deal with when I am also low and sensitive. Eve

Julia Sat, May 30th 2015 @ 9:49am

It's so good that you found a way of helping you through that pain Steve. One should stick to what works for us and learn about ourselves in the process.You will still feel sad but that's good isn't it?. 30 years is a long time to be with someone! I have looked at the links thank you.

The Entertrainer Sat, May 30th 2015 @ 11:25am

Dearest Steve... this is simply beautiful. A strange description for your subject, but I mean it. You have transformed the saddest of irritations (grief) into a beautiful pearl, just like an oyster.

When life sent me lemons, I got bitter. You made lemonade instead.

Anonymous Sat, May 30th 2015 @ 12:26pm

What strength you demonstrate Steve. I'm full of admiration for that. Must confess I'm still at times touched with bitterness from my long term love breaking down. I'm going to take your post today as a fresh page for me to try again with new peace. Thank you Steve. Love from the room above the garage x.

Anonymous Sat, May 30th 2015 @ 1:25pm

"Wow, what a guy!" (i said this morning). Steve, this is the most postively packed, encouraging, hopeful and helpful blog! To flip that awful grief into gratitude in 2 months is a spectacular feat and you are an inspiration, truly. To accept and feel life's sadness without it sewering into depression is definitely THE goal. Thank you so much also for the links and I've ordered your referenced book. Go well. susan xx

Di Murphey Sat, May 30th 2015 @ 1:30pm

Dearest Steve ~
Your post has lifted me up and restored a faltering belief in the humane treatment of our very selves, our essences, our abilities to make today our first day and our last day, thereby claiming this very moment. You have conquered the pity party and sold your depressive strategies to the universe. Bravo, my friend. Bravo.

Anonymous Sat, May 30th 2015 @ 2:08pm

Di, your words are soulful and expansive, so very beautiful. You say what Steve's blog made me feel but couldn't express. susan xx

Melanie Lowndes Sat, May 30th 2015 @ 7:30pm

So nice and inspiring Steve. Keep going this way. Thank you very much! Melanie x

Anonymous Sat, May 30th 2015 @ 8:26pm

Love this, Lex - lemons and lemonade ...
And Steve; really cheering you on from the side lines - you obviously have LOADS of courage ... a lesson for us all ... thank-you.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Sun, May 31st 2015 @ 8:01pm

Have to say - I always like the line "when life hands you limes, make margaritas!" But - I agree with Lex. Blessings on you Steve.

Anonymous Mon, Jun 1st 2015 @ 3:03pm

Hi Steve,
Separation is a unwanted, uncontrollable episode that occurs in most people’s lives, including mine that came after 5 years of marriage (short lived, but meaningful nonetheless) sadness is a terrible emotion that comes into play at these events, its like your whole world has been turned upside down and taken away from you and starting over is the worst journey imaginable. In my case I lost all those close to me though manipulation and I had to find myself again which was extremely hard, but I did and although there are days when I'm low and think back over that event in my life and think why me???? I remember what my mum said "you're not the first and you won't be the last" - harsh, but re-assuring for me to know I'm not the only one out there going through it.
Please keep your head and be strong for yourself and those closest to you as the rewards in this outweigh the episode. xx

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