20 July, 2012

Dealing with Loss


Loss is different for everybody.

Some cry; some get angry; some get lethargic.

I’ve never in my life been the type of person who has ever forced myself to deal with loss.

I distance myself from things so I don’t get hurt. I realize this is messed up.

In those special instances where I get attached and something is lost, I put a magnifying glass on myself to try to figure out why I'm so bad at feeling emotions.

I have a large family. I have lots of older people in it. A lot of them have died.

Grandparents, family members, pets, friends.

I suppose this is a typical life, and nothing out of the ordinary.

When the first real relationship I had ended, I sat with my back to my bedroom door and I cried for maybe 4 minutes. After that I told myself that was all I was going to do.

My next serious relationship lasted a little longer, I was a little more sad when it ended. I cried in the midst of my roommates for a few minutes and then I told myself it hard to stop.

My last relationship was 4 times the length, and 4 times more invested. 4 years, 3 cities on my end, 3 on his end. There was planning there. Future plans. When it ended I cried a few times (it ended a few times too). I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of loss. I felt like I would never find anyone who would be able to love me. I thought that I would never be happy again. I thought that I should have tried harder, did more, fucked up less.

This notion is ridiculous, and I'm aware of this. But loss controls your brain more than we let on. We become depressed when otherwise happy and stable in our lives. We think that we’re not good enough, we think something we did caused it, or karma took a dive that day.

The truth is there is really nothing we can do. People die. They leave us. We leave situations. We break apart with people. Loss is an unfortunate part of being human, and being alive. People die. Pets die. Everyone seems blissfully ignorant until something happens and then we get angry. We take for granted others, the time spent with people, places, things, and sometimes our own lives because we just expect them to be the same when we woke up as they were when we went to bed. This is not an okay way to think.
My dog died two days ago. When I found out I laughed in shock. Then I sat in my room trying to control one of the only real emotions we have, the sense of loss. Tears streamed down my face but I didn’t cry. I wanted to be able to control the situation. I wanted desperately to find control in something I was never meant to.

Guilt has no place in loss. Guilt clouds your mind and makes you rethink every happy memory you had and replaces them with “I wish”-es, or “I should have”s. It’s easy to tell people to think of the happy memories but it’s harder to actually do it.

Processing loss is hard. Realizing the reality of the situation is the hardest. Things changed. They will no longer be the same. Things can’t go on like they used to because they can’t. That is something you can’t control. The only thing you can control is how you deal with it. Because you can’t control how you feel about it.

You can never control feelings. You can’t pick who you are attracted to, why or how it happened. You can’t decide when to stop being sad over a death or loss. You can’t dictate the amount of pain you will feel or the depression that may follow. This is truly a mystery.

Things get better they say. I used to tell people that. Today you wake up and that’s all you think about until you fall asleep again. But one day you’ll wake up and maybe you’ll have a moment where you didn’t think about it. Then a few days, weeks, months later there will be a time where you think about it a little less. Pretty soon there will be a day where you won’t feel as bad. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow or next week, but it will come.

It won’t feel like it will. It will feel like this is it, this is the last feeling you will have, and you won’t be able to recover from it but you can and you will. Every day you need to choose how you act, and chose how you deal with your own life. Will you try to smile today? Will today be the day where you look back on a fond memory and not a sad one? If it’s not today, then it will be some day.

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