So often we are made to feel guilty or ashamed for grieving, or for feeling bad or depressed. We are expected to just smile and get on with things. After all, nobody likes a grumpy bum, do they?
We are expected to deal with our problems on other people’s timeframes. Put our sense of loss aside because other people have needs of us, or don’t want to be brought down. We’re expected to toughen up.
We are left feeling ashamed for not being happy. We feel guilty for being such a burden on everyone. And of course that just feeds into the vicious cycle.
Well, I call bullshit on all that.
If you are feeling depressed, if you are grieving for someone who has died, for a lost relationship, for anything, you have a right to deal with it on your own terms, in your own time.
My young French friend, my cyberkid, feels terrible that all the darkness she has been carrying has followed her on holiday. And this is a classic example of how it works. People expect her to just deal with it because so many people “have it worse”.
If you’re struggling, nobody has the right to expect you to recover in any way other than your choosing. Nobody gets to tell you that you are “taking too long”.
And certainly NOBODY has the right to make you feel that you are bad just because you are feeling bad. When we wander through the darkness, “bad” thoughts will come to us. For the most part these are normal manifestations of our turmoil. They are not to be feared. Ok maybe they are to be watched in case they develop into something more serious, but for the most part, we need to just let it flow.
We need to be supportive of our friends in need – including those we have not met. This means giving them space to deal with their shit on their terms. Of course we need to keep an eye on them in case they start engaging in harmful behaviour, but the most important thing is that we tell them we are there for them.
Just remember, it is your grief, your struggle. And it is up to you as to how long you need to recover from it.