Let the year-long roller coaster ride begin! Oh wait- it may last longer than that. Emotions after a loss are crazy! I was listening to a lecture on stress and it said that we all can take and even kinda like some stress. Many people like to go on roller coasters at amusement parks. Why? It’s fun stress and we know what to expect – it only lasts about 2 or 3 minutes and most people laugh and walk away just fine after it. We would not get on the roller coaster if we knew it was going to be for 3 weeks! A loss brings on that kind of a ride- a year-long roller coaster ride where our emotions are up and down, side to side, and yes, even upside down or backward.
Mood swings are common after a loss. Within minutes I felt angry, hurt, grateful, scared, tearful, happy, heartache, sorrowful, misery, gloom, and worry. Our bodies are not used to this, but here it is! This is how grief works. We don’t understand it ourselves so it’s hard for those around us to figure us out.
I am a master distractor. It’s how I raised 6 kids. If they were sad I would show them something else to either make them happy or something else to think about. Somehow I did that on myself when this trauma came up. I would listen to music for hours every day, I would go to the gym for hours a day, and I got lost in my work and research. Nothing inside of myself was ready to handle these raw emotions. I didn’t have very many good coping skills and was learning them on the fly. I have reluctantly learned how to handle stress better over the past 10 years. The loss is never over so I need these skills for my lifetime. Some things help distract my emotions and most of the time they are healthy! I go hiking, biking, running, driving, watching a funny movie, listening to my favorite songs, meditating, and most definitely do yoga.
Remember every piece of your heart body and mind has been thrown off course, so give yourself plenty of self-care and be patient. I have heard advice from many saying to postpone any important decisions and don’t get into a relationship until you are healthy inside and out. That’s just good advice at any point in your life, but especially now when you have been wounded and are on the mend. I tried not to make any big changes for me and my kids for a year. I wanted to give us all space and breathing room in a healthy environment. I considered moving, going back to school, selling my business, and getting married, and decided for at least one year I wouldn’t do anything drastic. Hopefully, it helped me and the kids adjust to the new norm. Over the year I learned new ways of coping and communicating my feelings. Emotions from loss go on a lot longer than a year, so be prepared for grief to come and go. But it’s a good thing to learn all of these new skills and see how incredibly amazing our body is! Emotions do heal – just like our physical body.