Because depression makes us behave in ways normally out of character, it’s often closely correlated with shame. Whether it’s because we’ve turned to drugs or alcohol, gained weight, or fallen behind at work, the result is the same: a deep sense of shame and self-loathing makes us feel unworthy and broken. The sense of feeling unworthy or broken enhances the feelings of hopelessness and uncertainty that depression feeds on.
Strange to think of an empty nest as a cause for grief. On top of that, most of us are taught to view the empty nest as an achievement. It’s a sign that all your birds have learned to fly, and you’ve done your job as a parent to help them become independent adults. Still, the grief is there all the same—and that’s natural. Grief isn’t always a response to loss. Just as often, it’s a response to change.
Being a stay-at-home mom comes with all kinds of expectations. Whether you’re home with the kids or getting them to school every day, there’s a constant influx of work that needs to get done. A tide of never-ending laundry, the churn of dirty dishes; meal prep, planning, and coordinating schedules. On top of that, stay-at-home mom’s are expected to put on a happy face even when they aren’t feeling it.
A situation where this is especially common is when someone is going through a divorce. Even when the marriage wasn’t making them happy, the aftermath was a result of a lot of emotions bubbling up to the surface. This is completely normal and can almost be expected when dealing with a divorce. But, is it normal to have a grief response? Actually, yes it is.
In contrast to the normal grieving process, complicated grief is both intense and long-lasting. It persists for months or even years, churning under the surface. Think of it as quicksand—the longer you struggle, the deeper you sink—but even if you try to remain still, you’re still stuck in place.
When we think of depression we often picture someone in a dark room, struggling to get up in the morning or take care of themselves. Depression is like a massive weight sitting on someone’s shoulders making even mundane tasks feel impossible to take care of.