Find your Own Personal "Abbie"
As so many people know, grief is a hard thing to go through. I started going to therapy right away, every single week, and it truly helped so much, despite feeling a little nuts anytime I told someone I couldn’t make plans on Saturday morning because I had a therapy appointment. Despite going to therapy, I still had a long period of dark days. So many bad days in a row was so discouraging and honestly, scary.
My husband and I were still newlyweds but our sex life had disappeared. We didn’t talk anymore either. We sat around playing video games and watching tv and when I felt myself getting upset, I would go in the bathroom and cry as quietly as I could because I just didn’t want to talk to anybody, not even my very best friend in the world. I was just a shell of the person I was before, and I began walking through life on autopilot.
For a while there I was really hesitant to take any sort of medication for anxiety or depression, but ultimately I decided if medication was what helped me feel better then I needed to take care of myself and just suck it up. I could see myself spiraling and I did not like the direction I was going. My breaking point was when I realized it had been a week since I had showered. How gross is that? I’m not talking it had been a week since I washed my hair, no, I meant it had been a week since I had showered at all. Not only had it been a week but when I made this realization I still didn’t get up and shower, I kept my butt firmly placed on the couch and just sat there, staring at my daughters urn. I had no motivation or will to get up and do anything.
Thankfully, I had a friend, Abbie, who knew a little bit about grief and knew how helpful therapy was. She was so supportive when it came to literally everything and anything. She lives a few states away so we don’t see each other really at all, but we talk all the time. The fact that she was so far away honestly made it a little bit easier. She was the one person I didn’t have to pretend to be okay around, and I never had to put on a brave face with her.
I wish I could say that person was my husband, but in all honesty, at this point in my grieving process he just couldn’t be. I had to have someone who was just a little removed from my situation, someone whose feelings I didn’t have to protect. I found myself holding back from talking about my grief with my husband because I knew he was dealing with this too, and I didn’t want to add my grief to his. Perhaps not the healthiest thing to do for my marriage but in time, we got back to where we needed to be and confided in one another. I felt I couldn’t tell my husband just how devastated I was over our children no longer being with us and I felt like I had to be the person who lifted everyone else up around me. When I didn’t feel like I could tell him just how badly I was hurting, Abbie was there for me, always. I don’t think I can ever truly convey how grateful I am to have her in my life when I needed somebody the most. I hope that everyone who experiencing grief in their life can have their own “Abbie”.
The big lesson I had to learn to stop looking so far into the future. I needed to stop trying to plan when I would get pregnant again because it was becoming all consuming, and it was the only thing that mattered, as if having another child would fill the void left by losing our children. Not only did I have to stop looking into the future but I also needed to stop looking into the past. I couldn’t sit there and cry over this future I was no longer going to have with my kids because it wasn’t going to get me anywhere, it was just making me miserable. It’s one thing to do it every once in a while, everyone has those days, but I found myself doing it all the time. I had to learn to look back at the time I did have with my daughter and my pregnancy experience and appreciate my time with them, it was the only way I was going to survive. As much as I want to be pregnant and have a baby, looking back, I am honestly thankful it didn’t happen those first 6 months because I needed this time to grieve my children.
For a long time I was embarrassed that I was going to a therapist, and just humiliated that I had to take medication for depression. What a lot of people didn’t know what I was actually going and seeing two different therapists, I thought it made me less then, and I thought it meant that I couldn’t do this on my own. Through a lot of self reflection I discovered that it wasn’t that I couldn’t go through this grief process on my own, it was that I didn’t want to and I didn’t have to. I needed someone who didn’t know my kids or my husband or my family, someone who wasn’t emotionally invested in our lives to just word vomit to. I needed to be able to scream and cry and be mad with a stranger, someone who has the education to help me process what I am going through, someone who could explain to me the way brains work. Through making therapy a priority I really began to find myself again. One of my two therapists talked to me about how I have first hand knowledge on grief and loss and I can use that to help people; I can simply share my story and perhaps help one person make sense of their grief or I can be the support that one person needs because they just need to tell somebody their story. I thought about that for weeks and realized, he was right. Even through the very hardest time in my life something good can come from this if I could help just one person.
I could have gone through this grieve process on my own without going to therapy, but it would have been a lot slower and a lot harder. Why would I want to make things harder for myself when things already felt impossible? Would you?