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Coping with loss and heartache

The alarm started ringing its obnoxious blaring beep.  With eyes closed my hand searched for the off button.   I rolled onto my side and curled into the fetal position.  I didn’t want to get out of bed and face another day of pretend laughing and smiling, acting like everything was absolutely normal and fine.  Emotionally, I felt nothing except the deep aching sorrow of loss.  “I’m alone’, repeated in my head. That evil mantra would not be wiped out.

I turned on the light and I inhaled deeply.  Sitting up, I swung my feet over the side of the bed and let them dangle.  Three months since he had said love was not enough and walked out of my life.  Back to duty and whatever other bullshit fell out of his mouth after I stopped listening.  Three months since my belief in my intuition shattered.  Nothing and no one to rely on.

The phone rang.  It’s my mother making her now daily check-in phone call.  Part of me wondered if she thinks I’m going to off myself and for some reason I find the thought extremely funny.    I hear the concern in her voice and try to sound normal.  “I can send your sister out for a visit”, she said.  I stopped myself from saying “yes”.  Saying yes would mean it was bad and the concern she was already feeling would go through the roof.  “I’m fine.  You don’t need to send her out.”  I hung up the phone.

“Please god, universe, guides, whatever is out there, I feel so alone.  Please show me something, anything so I know I can keep going.”  Not even realizing that I had just gotten off the phone with my mother who was supporting me.

When you are going through some kind of loss, you don’t see things clearly.  The loss of perspective is complete and inevitable.  Heartache, depression, anxiety, grief, fuck up our ability to see life as it truly is

When that relationship was first over, all I saw was the beautiful things of that relationship.  I saw the passion, the romance, the sex, the debates, the laughter and the death of all of those beautiful things.  POOF! Gone!  Replaced with solitude, tears, sleeplessness, betrayal, and emptiness.

Looking back at this relationship, I can tell you now that relationship was…MESSED…UP!!!  That dude was a Drama Queen!  Sexy as fuck, but a D..R..A..M..A..Q..U..E..E..N.    I thought I had been in love, but actually I was in love with the drama of the roller coaster of that relationship.  While having the side benefits of sex, romance (and damn it he was romantic), discussion, laughter, food, and music.

The further I get away from a situation, the easier it is for me to see the reality of my life.  When I am caught up emotionally I have no idea what the hell is happening.  Time gives me perspective. 

But time is not the only solution.  Lying around waiting for things to get better does not change anything.  Living in the pain does nothing except make you wonder if not existing would be the easiest way through the pain.   It’s not.  How do I know this?  I met Dr. Paul Quinnett  at one of his first training sessions for Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) suicide prevention program.  He had said that he had interviewed hundreds of people who had survived an attempt to kill themselves.  Each one told him that as soon as they had started the attempt, they realized it was a mistake.  Everyone he interviewed told him that.  EVERYONE.  In those few seconds they realized how messed up their perspectives were.  They realized life was worth living

So how did I change my perspective?  It was hard work.  I stumbled around a lot, but I kept getting out of bed especially when I didn’t want to or didn’t think I was capable of getting out of bed.  I reached out to friends and told them what I was going through.   I cried.  I started an exercise plan and worked out every day, no matter what.  I cried.  I did hobbies that I loved.   I cried.  I expressed how I felt, if not verbally, then creatively through bad poetry, bad art, bad dance and bad singing. I cried.  I made a routine that included a strict schedule around sleeping.  This included a ritual of body massage, a lukewarm bath, and lavender oil on my bed sheets.   I splurged on myself with a spa day, or time in a café to sit and people watch, went to the movies, went to a concerts, volunteered at the botanical garden in town.

 All of this took effort.  As time passed, it stopped being forced.  I started to enjoy and look forward to going out.  I stopped crying.  I was able to reflect.  What did I learn from the experience?  What could have been done differently?  What were there qualities and behaviors in that relationship that I wanted in a partner?  What were there qualities and behaviors I knew I didn’t want?  I’m not going to lie.  This was so hard.  There were days were I thought I just couldn’t bare it anymore.  But amazingly, there was always a call, or a text, or even a song I loved would play on the radio. If I looked for it, there was always something to help me to keep going.  The more I looked for those signs, the more I saw them.  Was it the divine answering my prayer or human nature trying to create something to believe in?  I don’t know the answer, but I do know it was a comfort.

This happened a few years ago and with some experience under my belt, there is one more thing that I would add to my list of things to do.  I would see a professional therapist.   I’ve realized the importance of discussing my feelings and my experiences in a nonbiased situation. 

As I reflect back on this experience now, I realize this was the first time that I started living for myself, that I started to reclaim my free spirit.

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