With Robin Williams' death and a few other losses I have personally been around lately, death and loss has been on my mind. When I found out 2 days ago that Robin Williams had died of suicide, it really saddened me. I think more because of what he represented as an actor than who he was as a person. Obviously, I never knew him or met him so how could I really know him?
I think it was easier in a way for me to be affected by his death than some of the deaths closer to me. Less painful maybe? Easier to get over? Who knows. But like my title says, I have been torn about writing about this topic. I actually wrote a whole blog that I did not post. It had to do with my frustrations about the stigma and lack of societal support (including with government) in the support and help of those who would need support and help with their mental health.
I decided not to post it because I have felt so much sadness and pain in the last couple of days from really everyone grieving and recovering from shock and, from what I've seen, some anger too. Everyone copes differently, everyone deals with loss (whether from death or not) differently.
So, in not posting what was in actuality a rant-I will write about some ways I have been affected by the losses in my life and how self-care has become so much more important.
The biggest change for me was that I have had a horrible trying to get to sleep. Man, my mind was betraying me with the racing thoughts as soon as I hit my pillow. Reading in bed really helped me through this. I also tried a warm shower, herbal tea, calming music and meditation before bed but reading did the trick. Part of coping is finding out what will work and can be a process!
I was trying to control my environment because I was feeling a loss of control. Of course intellectually I know that I can't control life and death but my emotions didn't match! Grrr!
I decided to be kinder to myself-this is harder than it sounds. We are our harshest critics for sure! Taking a step back and talking about what was going on in my head instead of letting my thoughts just stay stuck in my head helped me. Giving myself permission to just stop being busy for a moment was freeing in a way in; I realized that it was okay to feel badly and take care of me and let go for a bit of my own expectations.
I was creating rules for myself that weren't fair. The biggest rule was that I should be getting over my sad feelings faster.
When looking at it now, it sounds so harsh and silly. But that’s what I told myself. Once I took a step back, again, I was harsh to myself about being harsh to myself (I know!). I used some of my mindfulness skills to slow my breathing and ground myself to the right here, right now. As I calmed my mind and judgement of myself, I was able to let some calming and caring thoughts enter my mind.
I can continue to list more things that I was affected by but the long story short is that when feeling loss and grief the most important thing is to take time for yourself and to change that voice inside your head into a friend-a clam, trusted, caring and supportive voice.
We all deal with loss-of people, of things, of relationships, of hopes for the future, etc. We all need to find our way through it and sometimes you can do it on your own and other times you can't. It is the times you can't that are really challenging because asking for help can seem like a weakness when it is really a courageous strength, not to mention resilience building!
~Amira Lodhi, MSW