When you are free falling into an emotional abyss, it may very well feel like the sky is falling. This is normal when you suffer a sudden trauma because everything feels so out of control– and it is true, a lot may not be within your control, but there is always one key thing that is: your actions. How you respond to external stimulants is totally within your own control.
Many of my clients, especially those that did not initiate a separation, may think at the beginning that everything is falling apart. Indeed, life as they know it is coming to an end, but life itself is not over. It is simply changing, and a new chapter is about to start. Sometimes, people cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, and then it is my job to basically say, “okay Chicken Little, get a grip.” I admit, my delivery is usually a lot more tactful, but the message is clear– you need to calm down and work through this problem. Eventually, you will get to a better place.
Whether you suffer the loss of a job, a sudden death in your family, a health crisis or an unexpected separation/divorce (maybe even all of the above), please remember this: there is no need to suffer in silence. Others will help you, but you may need to swallow your pride and ask for help. It’s not that others don’t care, but rather that many will assume you’ve got it covered– unless you reach out and admit that you cannot face this challenge alone. And I know this may be difficult for many, but I promise you that this humbling experience is good for you in the long run, for it will help you appreciate the grace that exists in each minor act of goodwill that others voluntarily extend in order to allow us to remain sane, and human.
As you cycle through the grief process you will experience moments of anger, followed by moments of sadness, and then you will find yourself remembering the love. Of course those loving times will remind you of what you have lost, thus triggering feelings of anger again, followed by sadness as you realize that anger is just a more aggressive way to express disappointment. Then once again those memories of the good times will seep in, until you get mad, then sad– and now just hit repeat about a million times, and that is actually how you get through the grief cycle.
So, when do you know that you have heeled? When you can hold all three feelings– love, anger and sadness all at once. This won’t make any sense to you until you get there, but that’s okay you just need to believe that you will. Just remember the lesson from Alice In Wonderland: the only way out of the rabbit hole is through it.
It may feel like the sky is falling right now, but you are not Chicken Little. You just need to get a grip, and this too shall pass.
By Regina A. DeMeo