One of the myths about grief is that you have to grieve alone.
The Grief Recovery Method includes a quote many of us have heard and internalized:
“Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.”
From an early age, many of us are taught not to cry, or if you’re going to cry, at least go to your room and do it by yourself. We were taught not to burden others with our feelings and that no one wanted to hear painful, sad, or “bad” news. We have learned to turn our feelings inward, deal with them by ourselves, and isolate.
I’ve been struggling lately and feeling alone in my grief. I am VERY fortunate to have an extremely supportive and loving family, however, sometimes I don’t always turn to them for support because I don’t want to burden them. I know they have their own lives, their own burdens to bear, their own personal struggles. Sometimes I feel like everyone else has moved on and is living their lives and here I am, sucking them right back into it. Even though so much time has gone by, I fear that they think, why is Abby still doing this?
I think the hardest thing about is not having my parents to call at any moment of the day. They brought me into this world and it is their unconditional guidance and support that I so long for. I didn’t feel like a burden when I went to them because in some ways, they signed up for this!
I know my family loves me unconditionally and are there to support me always, but after many conversations with my therapist, I am learning that it is okay to seek additional support. My initial thought with this conversation was, how could I rely on anyone other than my family? They went through what I did alongside me and therefore, they are the only ones that could understand and relate to me. By doing this, I put myself in a bubble. I put myself up on a pedestal, assuming that I am so special and different from everyone else. That no one could relate to me. That I am the only one who has ever been through something like this. In the long run, this will be my Achilles’ heel: the isolating thought process that in turn, makes me feel even more alone in my grief.
While no one has been through exactly what I have, since every relationship is unique, in reality, there are so many people who can relate. There are others places I can go to for additional support outside of my immediate family.
I am learning that it is OK to have pockets of support and to reach out to different people for different needs. My family is really great for laughs, picking me up when I’m down, reminiscing, but they don’t have to be my only support. I know which friends I can go to about certain things. I go to my therapist for more intense feelings and emotional support. Everyone has their strengths and that is perfectly fine. I have met some incredible people by putting myself out there and reaching out for help and friendship (shout out to the Empower HER group). It took me a long time to feel comfortable enough to do this, but I’m so glad I started doing it.
You don’t have to grieve alone. There are 7 billion people in the world for a reason. We are not meant to tackle this crazy life by ourselves. Reach out. Put yourself out there. Ask for help. Share your bad news with people you trust just as much as you share your good news. It feels so much better. I promise.