Grief, Sadness & Depression

When many people talk to me about depression, they actually talk about something else. They talk to me about hurt, pain, despair, the healing power of time passing. In short they talk to me about grief. They talk to me about sadness. I do my utmost to stay civil on the inside but inside my blood boils.

Even though I fully appreciate that it is impossible to know clinical depression unless you have experienced it for yourself, I feel the need to vent my frustration. I admit it unashamedly.

Here are my gripes:

  • To my knowledge, there is no pill to cure grief. If you lose someone, or even something, you love, you end up heart-broken. No medication for that I'm afraid. No amount of electricity being passed through your brain or chemical compounds being pumped through your bloodstream can mend a broken heart. Only the slow passing of time and perhaps also the loving suppport of others can gradually heal the wound. Note that I say 'heal' the wound - not eradicate it. Grief leaves its scars, for life. As all scars, they sometimes feel alive again, years after you have suffered your heart-breaking loss.
  • Sadness is part of our life. Nobody expects to feel on top of the world all the time, even with a positive attitude. There is no medication against sadness either. So-called 'happy' pills, legal or illegal, saddle us with dire consequences. They don't really work, certainly not long term. One of the saddest (pun intended) aspects of our modern life is that we have generally lost the art of accommodating sadness. 'Don't cry' is the first thing we say to someone who is upset. I say "do cry, we'll have a chat when you have had a chance to express your sadness".
  • Clinical depression is called clinical depression because it can be treated. Did you know that you cannot be treated for clinical depression during the three months that follow being bereaved? That's because grief and depression are not the same thing, even if grief can act as a trigger to clinical depression. It is this cause/effect relationship that muddies the waters in people's minds.
  • The first and most overwhelming symptom of clinical depression is LACK OF ENERGY - not sadness, not feeling blue, not whatever else you can think of that you normally associate with depression. I'll say it again: LACK OF ENERGY. Clinical depression feels like someone has pulled the plug of your energy reservoir and it emptied itself when you were not looking. You wake up one morning and .....   ....   there's NOTHING there. You can't even get out of bed. Total crash. Nothing. Empty. Finito. Kaput. That's clinical depression.  Naturally, this total internal collapse is very depressing!  People do get upset at being so suddenly incapacitated. Of course they do.
  • The second overwhelming aspect of depression is that you start crying FOR NO REASON. You're not grieving for anybody, you're not sad about anything, but you cannot stop crying. This is also very depressing! AND you feel like an idiot so it is humiliating as well. Grown-ups are not supposed to cry without knowing why.
  • The third aspect of clinical depression feels like the invisible cord that previously linked your will to your brain, your determination to your body, has been cut. You can't  pull yourself together because there is no self left AND the pull-cord has been cut anyway. You're no longer in charge of you and that's a dreadful feeling.

So please don't talk to me about grief or sadness. I know those two. In fact, don't talk to me at all and instead do what my wonderful friends do: listen, for a little while. I do my best not to whinge, not to wine (I am sure I do anyway) but I have also found out that it does me the world of good to have the occasional rant about a condition that has a mind of its own, is totally unpredictable, totally uncontrollable, barely manageable, and feels on the surface a complete waste of time, a total waste of life.

I also do my best to remember that surface isn't the same as truth though....


Good eveing Gabrielle

You wrote
'I do my utmost to stay civil on theinside but, in truth, inside my blood boils.'

My only question is then 'Why oh why?'

In realitity it just goes to show that they have had no real experience of what depression is and to what lengths it can drive a body to almost total distraction in the process.

Why do you have to be civil when the answer to your quest is and has nothing to do with grief and/or sadness? That is their problem and it is up to them to solve as best as they may and, to not offer inane platitudes in response.

First, of all, I would like

First, of all, I would like to say thank you.

You are the first person I have seen that actually talks about depression and how you feel when depressed (and hit the nail on the head), rather than hurt, pain, despair etc. I was beginning to think that I was totally on my own, and that maybe it was me that was just even more messed up than I originally thought. So, I just wanted to say thank you; I can show this webpage to my fiance, confident in the knowledge that there is at least one other person out there that knows exactly how I'm feeling.


hi I've just read Gabriels

hi I've just read Gabriels thing and then your comment, and I just wondered how your coping now? I've been feeling the same things as is stated in the original post, but not at the same time, at the moment I'm in tears every other day for no reason at all! It's getting very frustrating as although my boyfriend is so supportive, neither of us understand why I am crying and he's getting a little - not so much impatient- just I think he thinks I need help! Which I probably do! Just thought I'd ask if you had any ways of coping?



 Thank you BloggerDude (Love

 Thank you BloggerDude (Love the name!) - your comment means a lot to me :0) xx

depressed or depressed...

hey Gabrielle...

once again a very informative piece though I have a disclaimer in that the expression of clinical depression is an individual thing... you are correct about the lack of energy... but for me i use sugars and caffeine and energy producing foods to overcome the lack of energy... i do not often succumb to the lure of my bed for long periods of time... i will admit to periods of shut down and taking to my bed... and i agree many confuse grief with depression... as to crying ... i want to cry but can't ...

i also have despair, a feeling of hopelessness, emptiness... but not sadness... and strangely enough do not want to physically talk to anyone... i also do not want to listen to anyone... i whinge to my health professionals.. that is what they get paid for... and i take parnate... along with risperdal and lithium ...

my comment is mainly that clinical depression takes many forms... i have spent my whole life suppressing my depression... anyway... not meaning to be critical... just someone could read your blog and assume they do not have clinical depression if they do not conform exactly to your list...

take care

rgds cate

Thank you Cate

Thank you so much for your comment: I mean it.

I love it when people add their own views/stories to what I write because I can only write on my blog about MY experience.I have no authority (and no knowledge) to write about anyone else's.

You are ABSOLUTELY right: clinical depression takes many forms and expresses itelf differently from one individual to another. Even if there are generally recognised symptoms, your point is well worth noting and remembering.

My list is MY depression - that's all it is. (I feel the need to correct myself: that's ALL that it is)

Thanks again for your contribution.


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