Grief and Loss Articles

How to Cope with Pain from the Past

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

How to Cope with Pain from the PastOne of my favorite quotes, referenced in a piece on Tiny Buddha, states:

“If you get lost in a trigger that thrusts you to a painful event, take a deep breath and remember: we can’t change that we’ve been hurt before, but we can choose not to suffer now.”

That sentiment — that we can’t change the past, but we can choose not to suffer now — struck a chord. I’ve been through many emotional downs in previous relationships (especially one significant romantic relationship) and therefore hope to embody this approach. The past can be a cautionary tale, a reminder that we’ve endured pain, but we made it to the other side and learned from the experience.

5 Sneaky Signs of Depression You May Be Overlooking

Monday, November 24th, 2014

depression symptoms

Things have changed a lot in the past 30 years when it comes to our ideas about depression. In the 1980s and even the 1990s, people often still saw it as a moral weakness, a sign of being “crazy,” or as something to be dismissed completely.

Today most people not only know someone who has struggled openly with depression, but they can probably also rattle off a handful of symptoms just from watching the many depression medication television commercials that dominate the airwaves. The voiceover asks “Are you always sad and tearful? Have you lost interest in things you used to enjoy? If so, ask your doctor about this medication.”

Til Death Do Us Part: Coping with Commitment after Death

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Marriage May Lower Risk of Heart Attack SS

Are we still married after the death of one partner? “Til death do us part” is a part of all traditional marriage ceremonies, but I can’t help but wonder if it is really true. Do our vows — and our relationships — really end at death? Do we really “part” from those we love the most?

I can understand that our faithful, monogamous obligation may come to a completion at death, but I am not so sure much else comes to a sudden halt.

How to Remain Calm in a Trying Situation

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

How to Remain Calm in a Trying SituationI’ve had my fair share of overwhelming times. There have been times where I’ve been so thrown back in my chair that I had to excuse myself from the situation to get a grip on things. If it wasn’t anxiety it was a punch to the gut as some sort of veiled insult or rejection. These things can happen often and it takes skill not to let them get the best of you.

Just yesterday I was hanging out with a girl I liked and she mentioned that she had a new boyfriend. That may seem trivial, and it probably is, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t taken aback. I’ve learned (with a lot of practice, though) to just roll with the punches. I don’t let trivialities get to me much anymore and I think it’s a skill that could benefit everyone.

Robin Williams: A Terribly Real Thing in a Terribly False World

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

robin-williams“You,” he said, “are a terribly real thing in a terribly false world, and that, I believe, is why you are in so much pain.”

That quote belongs in Emilie Autumn’s psychological thriller novel, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls.

It’s the essence, I think, of Robin Williams. He was so real — so passionate, brilliant, empathetic, brave, and sensitive — letting us see the exquisite beauty that is a byproduct of living with your heart exposed to the world.

Dealing with Betrayal without Betraying Ourselves

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

kenshin__trust_and_betrayal_by_imnoweebo-d7daqulBetrayal is one of the most painful human experiences. We suddenly discover that what we thought was true is not true. When a person we’ve trusted suddenly undermines trust, our world is turned upside down.

Trusting a person means feeling safe with them. We trust that they respect us, care about us, and wouldn’t hurt us, especially intentionally. We feel betrayed as our eyes are suddenly opened to a new reality: what we thought was safe and reliable turns out not to be.

Remembering the Little Things

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Remembering the Little Things

I feel I was never able to forget anyone I’ve been with because each person has their own specific qualities. You can never replace anyone. What is lost is lost.

- “Before Sunset”

When relationships run their course, we cope in various ways. Some try to move forward quickly, which may result in severing ties and discarding physical evidence: letters, photographs, emails. They extinguish the past. They eradicate its significance. And that’s OK — that’s how they navigate through the pain.

Personally, I was never able to embrace that approach. I’m emotional, I attach easily, and I often view relationships through a nostalgic lens.

Fear-Mongering & Ebola

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Fear-Mongering & Ebola

There is nothing better for cable news networks — and online news sites — to whip up a storm about an outbreak of a deadly disease. People click furiously to get the latest updates, and then log on to social media and forums to discuss all of the things the government is doing wrong.

Ebola is the latest outbreak to get the full 24/7 fear-inducing coverage.

While it costs virtually nothing to put this new Ebola outbreak into perspective, few news organizations invest any time in doing so. Why minimize what could turn out to be the killer of millions of Americans?

Do We Create Our Own Reality? Not So Fast!

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Almeida_Júnior_-_Moça_com_LivroA popular New Age view that rankles me is that we create our own reality — and that we become what we think or believe. A related view is that we’re responsible for everything that happens to us.

If our relationships aren’t fulfilling, or if we’re struggling with financial hardship, or if caregiving for an elderly parent is souring our mood, we need only make an attitude adjustment to deliver us from suffering to joy. If we simply practice positive thinking and visualizations, we’ll be rewarded with peace of mind and enduring happiness.

Sharing Responsibly: Grief, Loss and Social Media

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

Sharing Responsibly: Grief, Loss and Social MediaA lot of folks these days are talking about unplugging from social media. Maybe not permanently, but for a period of time in order to have face-to-face connections with people again.

But what if not logging onto Facebook meant you wouldn’t know that your friend had died? That’s what happened to me earlier this year.

The Heartbreak of Mental Illness

Monday, September 29th, 2014

The Heartbreak of Mental IllnessI was talking to a friend the other day who is a clinician at a home for people with mental illness, and I told her I know what it’s like to suffer. She said something that struck a chord, though: she said she thought it was more a case of heartbreak than anything else.

I had never heard it described that way before, but I knew exactly what she meant.

I can remember when I was first diagnosed. I was so crushed by the label of schizophrenia that I could hardly will myself to do anything. I was in fact, heartbroken.

Adapting to Change

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Adapting to ChangeThe leaves soon will turn into the familiar shades we love to remind us that the seasons change and nature transitions. People also experience transitions requiring adjustment. We experience loss, whether it be in the form of a person, pet, place, job, habit, or object. We experience loss in the form of change. We experience loss within ourselves.

Loss is scary. It is unsettling and can feel overwhelming. With it, feelings of sadness, nostalgia, anxiety, and confusion may arise. It is difficult to fully accept loss. After the immediate loss, the brain rejects change and resists adapting to the new version of what your life will be. Resisting change only intensifies our reactions of fear and panic.

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