Knowing comes from the mind, which is the first to go when depression hits (and it can hit hard). It is cerebral, and not from the heart. It is the rational part of us that makes us erroneously think that we can talk ourselves out of the depression that consumes us, that makes us beat ourselves up for failing to intellectualize out of depression. It is the first battle that we lose, and we do not know what to make of that loss as we shrink into identifying as the Salieri’s of the world.
Believing is to be more advanced in one’s grieving or trauma processing. It is actually understanding the possibility of a difference between today and tomorrow, between tomorrow and week or month from now. As my friend sang, “It’s just a few days of pain and that’s all.” That is believing, understanding that that is potentially all through which she, we, must grit our teeth and bear the pain. But in the moment, when heartbreak becomes all-consuming, belief becomes hard to come by. It is when some turn to faith, which Springsteen calls out to in hopes that it be rewarded. Faith is a belief in the absence of evidence, either supportive or contrary, but its religious connotations pose obvious challenges to a number of non-religious people. Faith does not work for us all, and so we are left with the dichotomy between understanding and belief, treading a line in processing events, understanding the potential for progress to be slow, but to know that eventually, somehow, we do eventually heal if we give ourselves the time on this earth to. Not all of us do. Some inject, take pills, drink, jump, because they have not crossed over to the land of belief. Patience is a virtue not easily embraced, but in this case allows us the time to thrive in this important transition in healing, in accepting, in moving on even if our loved ones cannot. It is what allows us to understand and believe that it’s gonna get better.