Don’t stop everything.
That was my mistake, and it ground me into depression. I’ve been so overwhelmed with grief, so unexpectedly sad and worn out – and at random, unpredictable intervals – that I accidentally stopped doing anything at all. I thought I was making room for my grief, but I made so much room that depression sunk in – which made it nearly impossible for me to do anything, including process or grieve.
It’s funny, because I wouldn’t have thought that I can’t grieve while I’m depressed, but it’s true. Depression trumps. I wind up sitting around, numb, in a rather impenetrable haze. I’m not able to process my grief because I can’t feel my grief – I can’t feel anything.
I took it too far. I thought, to give myself space to grieve, I had to stop everything. I had to clear my calendar. I had to put aside all my projects. I had to stop writing, stop working, stop stop stop stop stop.
But then, instead of filling with peace – or even grief – I filled with… nothing.
After a few weeks of that, I realized that I was bored. Restless. Unhappy – not grieving, just unhappy. Discontent. And I found myself unsure of what to do. I don’t want to coddle myself, but I also don’t want to push myself. I don’t want to resist the grief and my process, but I don’t want to give in to depression.
So I flailed.
Eventually, I realized that the best thing to do is something. After some discussions with Pace and Mark, I decided to drop to 50%. Instead of grinding to a full halt, dropping to half keeps me busy, but gives me space to grieve when it hits me.
I can work – in fact, I’ve been working – but when I get hit with a bolt of grief, I can take a few hours off without getting too far behind. I have room for writing without sacrificing space for the pain.
Balance. That’s what I’m working on this year for sure – a few steps at a time.