I’m just going to be honest, half of the time I don’t know why I feel the way I feel. All of a sudden I’ll just start yelling at Jacob about something and he kinda gets wide eyed and dumbfounded. He’s started to actually speak up when it happens because most of the time, I don’t even know what I’m doing. He’ll say something like “Abby, what is wrong? Why are you so upset all of a sudden?” and it makes me stop and actually think about what’s going on.
Every day brings different emotions. Most of the time I’m so focused on just making it through the day, that I’m not even observing what I’m feeling or trying to find the root cause of those feelings. Unfortunately, Jacob usually gets the short end of the stick with this one, but he’s a pretty good sport. I wake up and my first thought is concentrating all of my energy on making it out of bed and out the door on time. I don’t go “Okay Abby, what are we feeling today, why do we think we’re feeling that way, and what can we do to put these feelings in check?” That alone would probably take up the 20 minutes I’m supposed to be using for getting dressed and eating breakfast. So, I start the day without even realizing what kind of mood I’m in.
Along with not knowing comes a lot of surprise crying fits, yelling fits, depression fits, and silence fits. I know it drives Jacob insane, but I also can’t always help the way I feel or control the emotions I’m having. With my combination of anxiety and depression, who knows what those imbalances of hormones and whatever other sciencey stuff does to my emotions.
One HUGE thing I’ve learned is that you NEVER have the authority to tell someone else how they should be feeling. Jacob did this once and I nearly tore his head off. I knew he meant well, but I felt even worse than I did before I asked him for help. I think it was something along the lines of not wanting to get out of bed and go to class one day because I didn’t feel like I had the energy or strength to do it. So then he told me that I had to try harder than that and stay on top of things so I don’t get too far behind. So then I exploded and told him he has no idea what I’m going through and if I need to stay in bed all day for my mental sanity, than damn it that’s what I was going to do. He backed off after that.
My point is, you never know where somebody is on their grief journey. You can’t assume everything is okay because they have one awesome day. Nor can you try to offer them advice on how to “get better.” Grief is not a disease that you can cure with some medication. Grief is an ongoing, life-long process and you have no concern trying to tell someone else how to hurt, morn, grieve, and so on. It is different with every person. Jacob has been doing some research and reading different sources to see how he can help me along this path. One night when I was particularly quiet and said I didn’t want to talk about anything, he brought up that one article he read said talking about things helped get it off your chest and speed up the healing process instead of letting it all build up. Again, I almost tore his head off. In fact, I think my jaw dropped and I just stared at him. I understand he has wants and expectations for how my grieving process looks to him, but it’s mine and I’m going to do with it as I want. I also know that he only wants to help and he’s just trying to make things better, but he’s never dealt with anything like this and I’m just extremely unpredictable.
The bottom line is, just offer your love and support to someone who is hurting. They don’t want to hear your positive vibe bull crap. Grief is ugly. Hurt is hard. Mourning is dark. Depression is brutal. I don’t care who you are, this sort of thing changes you. There’s a period of time that you don’t want people’s encouragement. You don’t want their empathy and stories of personal experiences. You just want someone to turn to who will listen. Who will give you a hug. Who won’t pressure you to be “doing better” or “moving on.” Every single person experiences these things in different ways and you are not the judge of whether they’re doing it right or wrong. Show love and grace and be open minded to what they have to say.
Keep it real, lovelies.