Facing And Dealing With Emotional Pain And Loss And Coming Out Okay
“He didn’t see a future for himself after losing his job”.
"First, the country is hit by an unexpected and devastating pandemic and now civil unrest, rioting, and looting. And, now we have to keep our family together during grief, suffering, and what seems like never-ending losses."
She felt like she was constantly drowning because she had been dealing with heartbreak from a relationship gone sour”.
The human experience can often be tragic and though we wish our stories and experiences would be sweeter and happier, life keeps throwing obstacles and challenges our way. This can leave us gasping for air under the rubble of what used to be our normal life.
With the destruction and mayhem that the coronavirus has left in its wake along with nationwide riots and looting, a lot of people are dealing with anxiety, depression, pain, and a whole lot of ugly emotions (sometimes all at the same time) without knowing how to deal with or get over them. They feel lost and all alone in their grief and it may seem like the only choice is to quit.
Add to that the pain or loss that many people may be experiencing due to the loss of a loved one, everything they've worked hard for, their rights, faith, etc., and their emotions may be in overdrive. Before we go any further, let’s first point out that this is not that kind of blog post… you know…? The type of post that gives you some over-flogged advice or bore you further with clichés and pick-me-up statements and doesn’t do much good at the end. No, let’s be clear that this isn’t that type of post.
But, if you are struggling with pain and loss at this time or you know someone who is and you would like to know how to deal with the situation or you would like a fresh perspective to help you cope better, then you should definitely read on. At the end, you will understand what this post is about and if you hadn’t figured it out by then, we will help with that.
The Ugly Story
With the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic because of its worldwide spread and the number of cases and death attributed to the virus, it seemed inevitable that life as we knew it was going to drastically change. There have been over three million coronavirus cases recorded worldwide with over 200,000 deaths. With these kinds of numbers, it might be lost on us sometimes what they mean. These statistics mean that there are millions of families and individuals that are confronted with the shock of having someone they love who has the virus or even worse, have died from it.
Add on top of that, the looming uncertainty of figuratively and literally waiting for the smoke to clear from rioting and looting. Needless to say, the number of people dealing with mental health problems may skyrocket and this could lead to increased cases of drug and alcohol abuse and even more deaths that aren’t as a result of the coronavirus.
Humans And Emotions
One of the things that make us unique from other animals is our ability to feel, process, and understand a wider range of emotions. Invariably, we are profoundly affected by these emotions and often, if left unchecked, they can get the best of us. So, if we can’t be separated from our emotions, how can we avoid being victims of our own nature?
Three Steps to Dealing with Emotional Distress
1. Face it Head On
If you have ever been to therapy, you likely would have heard that the first step to solving your problem is admitting that you have a problem. Yes! This seems quite straight forward, but a lot of times when people are in dire straits or are confronted by a problem that had shocked them to their core, they have a hard time accepting it and thus, it eats them up from the inside and changes them, unconsciously. Though, “accepting it” might sound like a damning phrase suggesting you dwell in the problem, in this context, accepting it means, understanding what the situation is and having the courage to face it head on.
Part of confronting the problem and taking the first step towards emotional healing is accepting that things might never be the same again. If you have lost someone to death or they have left you, if you stand for your beliefs or decide on alternative courses of action, or you have been laid off like millions of other people around the world, you have to accept that the experience may have created a void and a new reality that you would have to live with, adapt to, and survive. Finding this kind of closure will assist you to attain an emotional maturity that will be crucial to living your new life. You are stronger than you think.
2. Talk About It
If you are hurting from one problem or the other that has changed the course of your life negatively, you may find that you may want to try anything or do anything else other than talking about it, including excessive alcohol, drugs, or even making life-ending decisions. This could be a result of the feeling that nobody else could understand what exactly you might be going through, they might not care enough to really listen, you may not know exactly how to express yourself, or other reasons. However, finding the strength to talk about such problems can make you feel like a load has been lifted off you and is a vital step to healing. Keep in mind that even a good crying session alone or with someone you trust can help to ease emotional tension and despair. If you are spiritual or religious, you may find that prayer can be helpful.
You should know that even with social distancing, curfews, or lockdowns, a lot of mental health professionals and therapists offer online sessions that you can sign up for. Talking to these professionals that have talked to other folks like yourself and helped them get over their problems can be very effective.
If you can’t afford this option, another idea you could try out is reaching out to people online and starting or joining a support group of people that are dealing with similar matters such as yourself. Hearing their stories and sharing yours could be very rewarding and would help dispel feelings of loneliness even in this period of isolation. Consider not disclosing your personal address or other information that can put your safety at risk.
3. Permit Yourself to Live a Healthy Life
Though you might feel emotionally and even physically drained from your recent experiences, you must find the strength to consciously and mentally live again. Taking care of your mental and physical well-being might be a herculean task right now, but it is doable. If anyone can jump-start the process, you sure as hell can. You can start small by making healthy decisions like staying as safe and wise as possible, keeping your family safe, drinking more water and less alcohol or sodas, eating healthy foods, resting or sleeping more, and even exercising indoors or outdoors if you live in an area where stay at home measures or curfews have not yet been eased.
The Beautiful Reality And Positive Twist
If you can follow these steps and find the strength not to let your problems define who you are or stop you from moving on, you may find that your experiences can change you for the better. How?
People often express how other people don’t know how to communicate with or relate to them when they are dealing with emotional pain or loss, especially from the loss of a loved one or other losses. However, having dealt with a similar experience, you most likely would have gained a greater emotional intelligence that will assist you to understand people’s pain and loss better (improved empathy). The emotional intelligence you can gain can assist you to be able to handle emotions better, be more socially adept, and better motivating yourself.
In addition to emotional intelligence, people who have overcome depression as a result of loss or letdowns develop better-coping skills as they can better assess the situation and take them on because they learn and experience that they are strong enough to move on and grow despite their problems. They realize that if they have gotten through pain and loss before, that they have gained skills that may allow them to do it again.
Also, dealing with pain and loss is an opportunity for deeper reflection and getting to know yourself better and what exactly you want in the aftermath of pain and loss. Coming out the other side of the fire can help you to achieve more personal growth and build your character even more, as you learn more about your strengths and weaknesses. When you learn more about your strength and weaknesses, you can become better equipped to adequately deal with situations that you may be confronted with.
Sometimes, some people surprisingly discover that helping others or finding a way to do good helps them to better be able to face and deal with emotional pain and loss. How? Sometimes, someone who is going through pain and loss is a little stronger or more experienced than someone else who is dealing with the same or similar issues.
Volunteering or actively socializing with others who can relate to what one is going through can build a bond or sense of commonality. Who better to comprehend pain and loss than someone else is going through and can share and exchange their feelings and feedback? Or, would it not be the greatest feeling for others who get a boost out of finding ways to do good in the world if it helps to ease their pain and loss?
Do you understand what this post is about now? Well, it is about you! It's about empathy and understanding for others. It is a timely message from the universe telling you there is life after your pain, after the hurt, after the loss, after the pandemic, and after the looting and rioting. There is life after it all and that life could be manageable or better!
We send condolences to the family, friends, loved ones, and supporters of George Floyd and anyone who is experiencing or has experienced pain and loss. We pray for your strength, faith, and healing. RIP George Floyd and all others.