Grief can sneak up on all of us. It’s how we deal with it that defines us.
Quarantine has definitely been challenging everyone’s mental stamina. I’m an introvert, so I loved the idea of not having to go out; and then tragedy struck. I lost my best friend, my baby, my beloved cat of 12 years, Tobi through a freak veterinary mistake during a routine dental. And then my life spiraled with grief. Being stuck at home through this tragedy slid me into a state of grief that I have never experienced before. I didn’t eat for a week. I slept all day and all night. I had no motivation to work on anything- not even my own show, which has been my dream. I wrote the words below to help inspire myself to climb out of the depression I was thrown into. I hope it helps and touches everyone who needs to hear it.
Sometimes, when we are at our lowest, we can no longer see hope. It’s there. It’s always there. But sometimes we are blinded by our grief.
We see no hope of tomorrow without what we just lost. We long to give up, lay down, and stay down forever. But the reality is that we still have years and years of prosperity ahead of us that we are blinded to. Even when we rise and continue our journey, we are blind to what is to come.
People will tell you that it will get better. Not only do you feel that it never could, but you don’t want it to. In a way, when dealing with loss, we don’t want life to get better without the precious piece of our life that is missing. So, what do we do about it?
We crawl through existence for a week… a month… a year… hoping to eventually turn our faking it into making it.
What can help us mentally?
First, you must understand that it’s okay to not be okay. And that is important to remember. You don’t have to be your best at all times in life. That’s completely impossible. And there is no set schedule to return back to your life. For some people, it could take months. For others, it could take years. And that’s okay. It’s important to work through grief in your own time. And there are small things that can help get you back on your path over time, which we will discuss here below.
If you are not okay or having trouble, never be ashamed to seek help. In fact, now is the perfect time! During the Coronavirus outbreak, many insurance companies are paying 100% of the bill for telemedicine and therapy over the computer or phone. A specialist will be able to provide you with tools that you couldn’t think of on your own to express yourself, process your emotions, and help release them. Never feel ashamed to talk to a professional.
Journal all of your thoughts and live in them
It’s important not to push your agony to the side, as it will always come and find you eventually. Ignoring it is how you develop trauma. Dealing with it now is the healthiest way to move forward. It may be hard, but you need to feel every bit of your grief and learn to understand it.
Distract yourself often, but not all the time
While it is important to feel your grief, it’s also important to distract yourself and get back on your feet. There are times you have to distract yourself by participating in one of your favorite hobbies, watching one of your favorite shows, and/or getting back to work. It won’t be easy, but you can’t live in your grief all the time. Intuitively listen to yourself about when you need to process your grief and when you need to distract yourself and have fun. Getting out to experience your life again can help you gradually get back into your normal routine one step at a time. Again, don’t only focus on distracting yourself. Find a healthy balance in processing your grief and distracting yourself.
Also remember key moments and activities that make you happy- even going back to your childhood. You may be surprised how much building a pillow fort or jumping through a sprinkler on a warm day may actually bring a smile back to your face. Don’t judge your process or what makes you happy. And don’t allow others to make you feel silly for it.
Don’t expect a linear process
I repeat- do not judge your process. And don’t expect it to be a clear, easy ride. You might feel better, but your body won’t wake up in the morning. You might have a really great day only to wake up the next morning sobbing and defeated. You will have good days while dealing with your grief, and you will absolutely have bad days. They might not make sense to you, and they most definitely won’t be perfectly linear. You need to breath, take everything one day at a time, and expect there to be bumps in your journey.
Eat! Sleep! Try to get your routine back
You can’t recover if you are not taking care of yourself. No matter how hard it may be, you need to eat, drink, and sleep. Your appetite is surely suppressed, and you might be sleeping all the time or not enough. Try to regulate your food and sleep cycle to reflect your normal routine. By physically putting your body back where it needs to be, you can slowly progress to a healthier mind.
In the end, grief is one of the absolute hardest emotions to process. It can cripple us just as much as fear, and it can leave lasting damage. Focusing on getting better when we are experiencing grief is, in the end, crucial. And understanding that there is no set timeline is also very important. Listen to your body and do what you feel needs to be done to get healthy again- even if it may seem silly to others or doesn’t make sense to your conscious mind.