Grief

My Depression Makes Me Feel Like A Stranger To My Own Needs

In the back of my mind, my depression is bigger than me. 

The Myth of Being Over Depression

You only ever really temporarily come up for air before being pulled back under.

The Silent Grief Of Secret Illness

Illness is intensely personal, but it never affects the person diagnosed alone.

My Mother Is Alive And I Mourn Her Every Day

Why I Grieved For My Single Life When I Got Married

Does saying “I do” have to mean saying goodbye?

The Heartbreaking Reason I Dread My Daughter’s Birthday

This birthday party reminds me that someone is missing. She would have been seven today too.

The Devastation Of Having A Miscarriage While Your Friend Has A Baby

I didn’t know how to be happy for her and mourn for me at the same time.

6 Weird Grief Things No One Tells You To Expect After A Parent Dies

“Grief was like a seizure that shook me like a storm” – author Patricia Cornwell.

It May Be Time to Ditch Your Coping Mechanisms

We can’t just cope forever. Eventually we have to heal.

Why We Need To Say The Words “I Love You”

Saying I love you can never be said enough to the people we cherish. People often assume others know how they feel, but it’s not always the case. People who mean so much to us like our partner, parents, kids, family or closest friends need to hear the words “I love you” just as much as we all need to say it.

RELATED: Coping With Grief

There’s plenty of ways people say it everyday, but some feel uncomfortable saying the words out aloud so it goes left unsaid. Life’s unpredictable and the one thing we know for certain is that none of us are immortal.

While we’re all busy living, the last thing many of us consider is just how quickly life can be taken from both ourselves or a loved one. For some, it’s a thought too raw to contemplate, yet each and every day we put ourselves at risk – we drive cars, go to work, cross the street and get on with living. So if tragedy strikes, as many people have experienced, the opportunity to tell others how we really feel is all but lost.

I recently went to the funeral of an incredibly close, irreplaceable friend and these three little words were the way we always ended our conversations. It may sound lame or even morbid, but it’s not something we wanted left unsaid if it was the last time we spoke. Although the pain of losing such a significant person has been intense, it’s been comforting to know that this was the very last thing we got to say.

At the funeral, I noticed others weren’t so lucky. Saying “I love you” was the one thing people wished they’d said more. Amid their tears was the question: “Did they know how I felt… Did they know I loved them?” No one can really know or answer that question with certainty for them – their loved one is gone and they’ll never really be sure.

So why leave that to chance? It’s three little words and to those closest to us, it should be a pleasure to say. No one should ever feel embarrassed about the feelings they have for others and should always be able to proclaim it.

There are people who like to shelter their feelings from the world, and while some might tell their partner, others will avoid it altogether. Saying “I love you” to their closest friends is a different story, also. Some need to learn and understand that it’s not pathetic or unmasculine to say “I love you” or a similar variation to each other. Is “love ya mate” so difficult to say? For some, yes it is, but we all need to get past it.

So, for this reason, we need to say “I love you” to those we care about. Not to everyone, but to those people who make our lives what it is. With every call, every goodbye and every conversation, make it a habit to end the conversation with how you feel. That way, if something were to happen, there won’t be those unanswered questions – you’ll have said what you intended to say if it was the very last time you spoke. Grief is hard and knowing you said “I love you” makes it easier.

Bad Break-up? How To Move On

Break-ups can feel like a death, except there is no funeral to go to and no gravesite to visit. It’s sheer grief, despair, loneliness and isolation. Sound familiar? There’s no quick fix and there’s no one size fits all way to cope; but nevertheless, you need to find a way and move on.

Grieve

Each person experiences grief differently. As long as it doesn’t affect your mental and physical health, do what you have done in the past when you have experienced a loss. For some, it will be the first time they have experienced this intense emotion. Check out this article on coping with grief for more information.

Time

Give yourself time to heal. Rebound relationships might take your mind off your ex, but it will be extra baggage you may need to deal with. Plus, is it unfair to the person you choose to rebound to. There is no designated time limit on how long you need to give yourself, but if you’ve been in a long term relationship, be aware it will take some time to learn to adjust to life without them.

Distance

Distancing yourself from your ex is essential. Avoid going to places where they might be, calling or texting them or listening to saved voice messages. All this will add to your pain and prolong your ability to move on. Plus, this is initially how stalking can develop. Listening to music which reminds you of them or looking at photos might be something you choose to do as you grieve but long-term this can be really unhealthy.

If you have mutual friends, avoid asking about your ex. If they choose to discuss your ex and it’s making you uncomfortable; politely ask them to stop. It would be better for you to choose to associate with your friends, rather than mutual friends, in initial stages. If you want to retain a friendship with them ask them to give you some time while to work through the break-up.

Look after your health

People often pick up addictive behaviours after a bad break-up, such as drinking, drugs or gambling. Avoid trying to block the pain with substances or overeating, as this can quickly become an exceptionally unhealthy coping mechanism. Look for healthy alternatives to fill the void you are experiencing. Be aware of how you have coped with stress and pain previously. If it’s been unhealthy, catch yourself quickly.

Moving forward

At some stage after the break-up, you will begin to feel better. The tears will flow less, emotions around the break-up will dissipate and life without your ex will become normal. At this stage, you can look toward the future.

Instead of rushing into the arms of the next waiting stranger, take things nice and slow. Although sex makes us all feel great, it can have the opposite effect if you are still hooked on another person. Date on a casual basis and, if you find someone you’d like to get to know better, do that. Take sex off the table for a while and develop a friendship first. Really get to know if this person is right for you or if you are needing them to fill a void.

Even though the initial stages of a break-up are exceptionally painful and difficult, love is the greatest experience a person can have. Life will go on and a new type of normal will emerge. You never know, as one door closes, another one will open. This is the adventure of this thing we call living.

How To Cope With Grief

The death of a loved one, relationship breakdown or loss of employment or finances? If you or a loved one is experiencing grief and loss, we have some survival tips to help you through it.

Although grief is a universal experience, we simply aren’t taught how to deal with. It is powerful, personal emotion which can make others feel uncomfortable about what to do or say. Instead of providing support, people often avoid individuals experiencing grief. Mourners therefore feel isolated and very alone in their suffering, even if they share the loss with others.

If this sounds like you or someone close to you, it is important to know that grieving is a very natural process. Everyone will experience it at one time or another and each person will do it differently. Some will grieve for a short time and other will grieve much longer. Some will cry and display their grief while others with hold it within. There is no right or wrong way as long as you let yourself experience it and ride though the pain.

Sometimes the significant loss we experience leaves an empty feeling within us and we crave to fill it. Initially drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex or other addictive behaviours will fill the void and this is why so many people turn to addictive behaviours at the onset of grief. Unfortunately, these behaviours only mask the pain  and when the behaviour is removed, the grief will rise to the surface.

Avoiding these types of behaviours and grieving in a positive way will not only get you through the intense feelings at the onset, but also allow you to move on as time passes. The following tips will help you grieve in a more positive way:

  • Understand what you are feeling is completely natural. It is ok to be sad and still be able to laugh.
  • Take each day as it comes and remember that as each day passed; the pain will eventually ease.
  • Be kind to yourself and don’t eat yourself up over the past. Instead focus on the present and the future.
  • Talk to friends and family about your loss. Although they may not have experienced grief themselves, they can be your best support so don’t be afraid to ask them for help.
  • Look after your physical health; sleep, eat health, drink plenty of water and avoid excessive alcohol or sleeping medication. Looking after your physical health will ultimately help maintain your mental health.
  • Keeping busy is great but don’t do so to avoid your feelings.
  • Yoga, meditation, gardening, writing or things that you usually do to relax will help you stay mentally strong.
  • Avoid major decisions like moving or selling your home. As time passes you will have a better perspective.
  • If you are experiencing isolation, joining a support group will give you access to others experiencing similar emotions and the opportunity to share your experience.

If your grief is prolonged or if you are having trouble coping, you may need to talk to a professional. The following contacts are an excellent place to start:

Lifeline 24-hour counselling 13 11 14

Kids helpline 1800 55 1800

By Kim Chartres