Woman in the corner hugging herself

Are you coping?


Image of Linn MartinussenOn the day it happened, everything was probably fine. You might have had the odd niggling problem such as, “Do I have enough money in my account to last out the month?” or “My boss is just so demanding”. But apart from that, it was probably a pretty good day. Right? And then IT happened, and it happened when you least expected it to.
By Linn Martinussen.

1. Your boyfriend / husband decided they wanted out of the relationship

2. Your best friend died in a car accident

3.Your mum was diagnosed with breast cancer

4.You somehow became bankrupt and your house and all of your belongings were reprocessed by the bank.

To be honest, it could have been anything. But IT turned your world upside down. You went from being happy /content, to completely falling apart.

Image of depressed woman

Unfortunately, grief of this kind is something we all experience at least once – but probably more – in our lives. There are many different roads to sorrow. A sorrow over a breakup does not have to be lesser than the sorrow from someone near and dear dying. In one way, a breakup is a little bit like a death. When we grieve, we ultimately go through many of the same emotions: denial, anger, sadness, being disheartened and in the end; acceptance.

I am no psychologist. But I am a relatively young woman who has experienced my fair share of tragedies in a relatively short space of time. And though I am not going to discuss the nature of these unfortunate events here, I will share a few things I have learned about grieving.

So make a cuppa, find your tissues. You will be ok, I promise.

The relationship writer Susan Piver wrote in her book ‘Wisdom of a Broken Heart’, that sadness is precious. At first, I had problems understanding what she meant. I thought precious meant good, but it doesn’t. I have come to understand, upon reflecting on that statement, that it rather means something which opens you up and makes you realise what the important things in life are. Just think about it. When you are feeling really sad, do you go online to read the latest BBC news flashes or browse your favourite fashion blogs to look for inspiration for new boots? Probably not. If you are really sad and grieving over someone, be it someone you lost to a  death or a breakup, I bet you just think about how much you want that person with you, right there and then. You are longing to be close to someone you love and that’s what life really is about. Susan Piver says it and I have come to understand it. The only thing that really matters at the end of the day is love and surrounding yourself with the people you love. (I am not talking exclusively about romantic love here) .

Try this out: Think of the one person you most love in the whole world, non-romantically, and imagine life without them – feels pretty awful right?

Well, here are some of my tips on how to work through that awful feeling of grief and come out the other side…

Share the Love:

When the worst phase of your grief has passed, use that preciousness to show love and kindness towards others. It sounds a bit new age, but trust me, it works. I have found that when I shift my focus onto other people who need help, even if it’s only with little things, like baking a cake or something else equally mundane, it takes the focus away from me and my grief and onto something positive.

Switch off:

Again, when you feel up to it, submerge yourself in something which is completely non-emotional. At my lowest points, I find that working or studying (something which takes all the brain power I have) helps. It fills my head with something that isn’t about a loss and sadness.

Exercise:

I was at a point once where I couldn’t see the point of exercising and I didn’t. However, it really does help to lift your mood and get you fighting fit again.

Be kind to yourself:

The most unwise thing you can do is to completely turn away from your sorrow. Although helping people, studying or working are good ways to switch off, and get some positivity back in to your life, you need to work through your heartache. Cry if you need to. Isolate yourself if you need some time out to get back into a state where you can function. And don’t beat yourself up over crying, or not feeling like being social. Would you ever tell a friend off for crying too much if she was going through something horrible? I’m shaking my head as well. You are allowed to cry too all you need, say no thanks to a pub outing and by all means treat yourself. Your appetite may not be great, but make a cup of tea, coffee or serve up something else you like.

Tell a friend:

It’s  good to have a confidant. Somebody who knows what you’re going through. Someone who can hang-out if you need company. It can be one person, or a few. You choose who you feel you can confide in. A problem shared in confidence doesn’t’t make it smaller or go away, but when your friend helps you carry something heavy, it will feel lighter.

It’s ok to lie:

Now, I do think lying is bad, but your sorrow is private. Everyone may know that you’ve lost a family member, but not everyone needs to know how you feel on a daily basis – nor what you are going through in your head. So saying “I’m fine” when someone you don’t really know asks how you’re doing is ok. Not everyone needs to know what’s going on in your life and that’s ok when it comes to other things too. Sadness and depression are two very different things. If you are sad, you still manage to see the good things in life. You may still be able to crack a joke about your situation, or about something else. If you are depressed, it’s something entirely different. I’ve never experienced depression myself, but I once heard it described as being in a vacuum, or sitting in a dark, sound isolated room with no windows. If you think you might be experiencing depression, contact your GP or you could give the Samaritans a call: 08457 90 90 90.

friends talkingFinally, to all you who are grieving, or have a friend experiencing grief, know this. What you go through will both make you stronger and make you learn a lot of things about yourself and those around you. You will for instance know who your true friends are. If you are in a dark place right now, trust that a tunnel is narrow and usually straight. Keep walking forward… you’ll see the end if you keep going.

Here’s a hug and lots of good luck.

Linn.x




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