I Don’t Want to Party, I’m Dealing With Grief
Have you recently lost a loved one? Do you feel as if you literally suffered through Christmas and now you are faced with suffering through the New Year's parties? Are you aware that you should be making resolutions for a better and brighter New Year but find you are making excuses about everything? Are you grappling with things like whether or not to shower instead of where or how to bring in the New Year? If yes, then you really are dealing with grief in the New Year, and although you may not feel like being around anyone or going to parties, connecting with other people is one of the best ways to deal with your grief as we enter 2017.
First off, let me say that what you are feeling is perfectly normal if the loss is fairly recent. What that fairly recent figure is depends on you, the circumstances of the loss, who that person was to you in your life, and where you are in your grief work. And yes, the term grief work is for real. You have to work your way through grief. I wish I could say one day you will wake up and like magic everything will be great again, but I cannot, because it just does not work that way. Truth - it takes work and some days are harder than others.
But, if the loss you experienced happened a year ago, two years ago or more and you are still experiencing debilitating anger or guilt, bitterness, depression, despair or just completely overwhelmed and lost like you were directly following the death of your loved one, you need to get help. And I'll tell you right now, that the first holiday, whatever holiday that may be, is an unbearable and you may think you won't make it through it. But you will make it through this holiday and every one that follows thereafter. If you are an emotional mess and are so consumed by your own grief that you are no longer aware or care about others in your life, you are stuck in the quagmire of internal emotions and you need to get help.
Ever heard of the Seven Stages of Grief? Who hasn't right? I'm going to tell you something that others will not agree with. I think it is complete crap. For too long we have been trying to force grieving people into the definitions set forth by this plan. And through my own experiences I have determined that there are only three stages of grief: immediate, intermediate and long-term grief. The last and final stage is long-term grief which means you still feel the loss of the person in your life but you have adjusted your life to the "new normal" which is getting back to a good life even though the person in the physical sense is no longer alive.
Living through the death of our 11-year old daughter, Kelli (visit Kelligar.com), I can honestly say there are only three stages of grief. I struggled to find my way through the hell that encompassed me. I read every book on grief, I spoke with people (which helped the most), I made terrible mistakes and had some great wins. But ultimately I struggled, mostly without a lot of guidance, to reclaim my life and find happiness again - something I never thought I would ever achieve.
There just aren't any rule books on what to do to get over that hump, though there are some very good tools out there to help you. But I will tell you, time is your greatest friend. In order to heal through time, you have to do the grief work. If you have given yourself ample time and you still cannot accept the loss or are immobilized by it, you have to establish where you are in your grief and determine if you are "stuck".
Ultimately, the Third Stage of Grief is the ability and a kind of itching need to start reconnecting with the world. This is where you start to reclaim your life and build you "new life" your "new normal".
If you are alone and you feel you cannot handle things, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or look up suicide hotlines on the web for an organization in your area.
But, if I could give one piece of advice taken from my own experiences, this holiday season if you are feeling desperate, seek companionship even if your first, second and third thoughts are to be alone. Please just don't do it. Human connection is so important and is often the most underrated.