In 2014, my life changed dramatically and unexpectedly. It wasn’t so much that I was blind-sided--my intuition had known something was wrong for quite some time. It was simply that a sequence of events had escalated to the point that I could no longer ignore or deny the truth. And that's when my grieving process began.
Grieving is all sorts of ugly. It's messy and unpredictable and irrational, and it makes day-to-day life feel more like carrying a bag of bowling balls up eighteen flights of stairs. It destroys your health. It feeds feelings of worthlessness. And it leaves you wondering if you'll ever be able to feel anything again.
It was through those early stages of my grieving process that I discovered self-care, and later went on to create a framework that I used to rebuild my life, and still use today to help others do the same. I chose self-care over self-numbing because I'd seen the latter strategy destroy the lives of people I care about. And while that knowledge did give me a deepened sense of compassion for those who struggle with alcohol and substance addictions--both forms of numbing--I simply couldn't handle any more suffering.
I wanted to feel alive again.
If you or someone you love is facing a mental and/or substance use disorder, call the National Helpline 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit their website.
In addition to self-care and working with a therapist, I found hope through reading. I devoured books that promised healing, and I scoured their pages desperately searching for answers about how I could feel whole again.
From each book, I extracted what I needed and nothing more. And with each book, I began to slowly recover my strength and sense of self-worth.
During that turbulent time in my life, I discovered that I’m much more resilient than I thought. I’m more adventurous. I’m stronger—a lot stronger. I trust my intuition more. I allow myself to experience more joy. I'm healthier. I'm less vulnerable. And I exercise my right to not participate more often—in events, relationships, or experiences that are unhealthy or disrespectful.
But the truth is, some days I’m still angry. I used to believe the grief process was linear, that once I moved through each of the so-called phases, I could put a check mark next that box and move on with my life. I didn’t quite understand that I’d need to re-experience those same emotions—sadness, anger, resentment, guilt, fear—as many times as necessary to grasp the lessons hidden within them.
Grief doesn't operate under a finite timeline. It takes as long as it takes. And it's a private, individual experience that doesn't require explanation or justification. Just because others may not understand your process, doesn't mean you're doing it wrong.
But perhaps my most valuable lesson has been that while grief is often associated with loss, it’s much more than that. It’s an opportunity to press the reset button on life. It’s the process of rediscovering how you want to experience this one precious life you've been given. And, if nothing more, it's a nudge to start living more fully.
Because grieving isn’t living.
It exists only to remind us that beauty will eventually reemerge from the cracks of our brokenness when we’re ready to allow it to grow within us.
Is it time to design a life with more ease and better health? View LivingUpp's programs HERE.
LivingUpp™ is a participant in affiliate programs, which means we earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Pages on this website may include affiliate links to Amazon and other affiliate sites.