The downside of longevity is that you may have to cope with many negative emotions, such as grief, pain, and sorrow, among others. The only way to deal with them is acceptance. Everything has to follow a natural cycle, such as the cycle of the four seasons, what goes up must also come down, and life is inevitably followed by death. We just have to accept the reality of life.
Life is not easy, and living is complicated. Life is never a bed of roses. Even if it is, there are thorns, which often come in the form of grief, pain, and sorrow. Given that everything is this world is impermanent, grief, pain, and sorrow are as inevitable as death. If you live long enough, many of your loved ones may go ahead of you. Depression often accompanies grief, pain, and sorrow, but don’t let them get in your way, making you live the rest of your life as if nothing is a miracle.
Depression is as powerful a risk factor for heart disease as diabetes and smoking, according to a study by Dr. Amit Shah, a cardiologist at Emory University in Atlanta.
Dr. Shah believes that there is a biological reason as to why depression harms, especially devastating to young females’ hearts. According to Dr. Shah, mechanisms underlying the association of depression and heart disease could be inflammation or hormonal regulation.
“When people get depressed, they stop taking care of themselves. And when they stop taking care of themselves, they get sick," said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a spokesperson for the American Heart Association, who was not involved in the study.
On the other hand, when sick people don’t take care of themselves, they can also become depressed.
There are, of course, many factors that contribute to depression. But the major cause of depression is grief, pain, and sorrow due to loss, especially bereavement of loved ones. Unfortunately, that is something as inevitable as death, especially as one continues to advance in age. If you live to eighty or ninety years old, your friends or loved ones may go ahead of you—this is the reality, and you must learn to accept it, whether you like it or not.
After the death of a dear friend or someone close to you, you may experience a period of denial—refusing to accept the harsh reality of death. Then anger comes: anger with yourself or whoever responsible for the death of your loved one. If you blame yourself, then guilt and regret may ensue; if you blame others, anger or hatred is generated. After the initial denial, reality begins to sink in. You start to feel the bereavement, driving you into deep depression with emotions of fear, grief, regret, sadness, and sorrow. This is the darkest or even the longest stage of grief, pain, and sorrow.
The only way of the darkness of depression is acceptance. Sooner or later, you will come to terms with the death of your loved one when you ultimately become aware that everything is going to be OK, that you will survive the loss of your loved one, and that comfort will begin to set in. In the end, you will realize that life will go on even though it may be different without your loved one.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau