On the bottom of the lake and what to do about it…

by Judith F Kennedy, PhD

After two really hard years of grief, ( my husband left to be with his girlfriend the same week my mother died),  I was so angry that I became very difficult to be around. The only person I really could tolerate was my little dog, Bessie. Grief is funny that way, getting lost in it creates a huge bubble of self absorption. If not careful, you can get bogged down in the pit of that self absorption. I know I was on the precipice of doing that. Teetering on the cusp of my own despair, it seemed the easy thing to do to just slip down that slope of darkness and be full of self pity and mad at everyone for not understanding.

Help comes and doesn’t come in weird ways. I was mad at the world and it seemed so futile that no one was able to understand the depth of this despair. When one is in this state, people back away, even loved ones. Many people try to fix it for you. You know the drill “take up an exercise”, “time will pass”, “take anti-depressants”. Everyone seemed pretty afraid of me being so down.

I had one friend who listened quietly when I told him that I was on the bottom of the lake and it was murky. He just simply said “ I am here waiting until you emerge” Wow what a friend and such wisdom. For one thing it helped me to know that he had confidence that I would emerge. For another thing, I felt understood and I felt as though he wasn’t afraid of my despair. I didn’t need to do anything.

What I did do was ride it out. Grace came to me out of all this pain. Beautiful, life saving lessons came out of my despair and grief. I wrote a book about it (See North of Divorce) and I made a deep commitment to be happy. Only out of despair could this have happened.