It was revelation when I learned I have walked with more than grief only. Shame, trauma, and depression also were part of my journey. Until I learned about them, I might have called my experience of all four by the same name, “grief”–if I had spoken of them at all.
What are these–grief, shame, trauma, and depression?
Grief is a response to loss. The loss of loved ones to death and other losses that may be harder to name.
Shame is a sense of being unworthy of love and belonging. Whenever we label ourselves with, “I am…” statements or hear a “Who do you think you are?” voice, shame is likely lurking.
Trauma is what happens in response to violent experiences, from a car accident to combat to domestic abuse. People who are traumatized “alternate between feeling numb and reliving the event.”*
Depression involves feelings of sadness and loss of interest. But what’s key is the stubborn persistence of those feelings over time–weeks, months.
There is more to say, of course. But here is a start. A seed.
I found words to talk about grief, shame, trauma, and depression with the help of others. Therapists, pastors, friends. The body of Christ and worship itself were sources of strength too.
We all need help naming our truth, because it is hard. The pressure to deny what we really know to be true is strong.
The good news is, naming truth is truly a new beginning. It’s the start of integrating the lost, forgotten, or hurting parts of ourselves and finding a new wholeness–even if the journey takes years, decades, or a lifetime.
Many psalms are laments. Take Psalm 13, for example. The psalmist names painful the painful realities and questions God, before a new trust in God seems to bubble up out of her. Her lament ends in a song of thanksgiving.
If this post strikes a chord with you, be in touch with me. When I am invited, I walk with people on their healing journeys, as a witness with them and God. Unless it is for a short time, I also refer people to good therapists, so I can be sure I’m not the only one walking with someone.
I know from my own experience that reaching out can often be the hardest thing. That’s why I believe in sharing information and training with all. So the invitation is known, and so each of us can learn new caring skills and also the limits of our capacity to help.
This is a follow up to last week’s post about exploring grief ministry.