Often after a breakup or loss, the pain is so intense it leaves you feeling so low, wondering if you can even go on. Like there is an actual hole in your core and all that exists there is an abyss of pain. As we get older and suffer losses, we come to expect the usual assaults. Sadness, anger, numbness. What I never expected was the places and things that would trigger those outbursts of emotion. I hardened myself to feeling as often as I could, attempting to fill that hole with anything else, but I soon found that that was a huge mistake.
One place that caught me completely off guard was the grocery store. I found myself in the middle of aisle 7 looking at an item that I no longer needed to buy him and I began to sob so hard I had to leave my cart right there and run out of the store to my car. Heaving so violently that several people tapped on my window to ask if I needed help. Over a pantry item. I sat there and felt complete and utter sadness, wondering what in the hell just happened.
And then numbness. I became good friends with wanting to feel nothing at all.
Indifference is what had begun to happen. It was my coping mechanism. And I promise you, as bad as that grocery store incident was, feeling nothing at all was incomparably worse. I had cut off my ability to feel my way through my grief and as a result, moments like the above would overcome me when I least expected them.
The numbing was a wall but at times it stood only paper thin.
And, the thing about emotion is that we do not get to cherry-pick the ones we want. Either you put them all away, wrapping them Kevlar and shoving them to the back of the closet, or you have them all. So to devoid myself of the grief and sadness, also cut me off from joy, love, and feelings of happiness. Moments like the store incident were a double edge sword. It was an accelerator for not wanting to deal at all, at the same time it was monumental proof that I could not dominate my inner workings, and that I would eventually have to deal with the devastating things that happened to me.
Grief will find you. You cannot escape dealing with it. You cannot run far enough. You cannot hide long enough. You cannot see it in a bar and pretend you don’t know it intimately. The negative emotions will never wane until they are dealt with. They will never pass until you square up and go twelve rounds to become the victor of your own life. And so I did, sometimes I still do. And I proudly hang my title belt, all over my life. My joy, my happiness, but also my ability to succeed in new situations despite what happened to me. Those things are what makes me a winner in my life.
So if you are stuck, locked into a cycle that is not serving your well being, that is what you need to do. You need to lean in. Map out every thing you cannot escape so as you get to know your way around, the fear, pain, and eventually, the awfulness begins to subside. The more I talk about the crippling things that happened in my life, the less control they have. The grip around my neck leaving me scrambling for air, exactly as it did when it was at his hands, will slowly but surely begin to soften.
And then, freedom.
Sending you love and light for peace. I am here if you need me. Let’s chat.