Sitting in the emergency department for several hours, I was able to witness a wide range of emotions around me. Some were frustrated with waiting, some were moaning and groaning in pain, some were irritated to be there, another was suffering anxiety because of the fire alarm sounding loudly through the halls. A hospital is one of those places where we can witness just about every human emotion there is.
As human beings, we are built with an awareness system that allows us to be in tune with our surroundings and our experiences. We can instantly react, take in, absorb and reflect what we have endured or witnessed and communicate those emotions and reactions in words. We can tell our story, share our pain, explain what we are feeling and articulate what is going on, inside of our head.
When children are at an age where they are unable to communicate their emotions, they scream, cry, tantrum, hit or bite. When adults are not used to communicating their emotions, they tend to yell, act out or withdraw. When we are not taught or used to communicating in a healthy way, it can affect our emotional and mental health and can significantly impact our quality of life.
Looking around, we can see just how many people are grieving, suffering or affected by life events and circumstances. Grief comes in many forms. Grief can be the loss of a relationship, the loss of employment, the loss of a friendship, the loss of a loved one, the loss of trust, the loss of a pet, the loss of a home, medical conditions or dealing with a traumatic event.
There are so many awful, confusing, unfair and traumatic things that go on in this world. People are suffering and in pain, every single minute of every single day. My heart is heavy when I think about the cumulative trauma and grief that people have experienced in our families, in our communities, in our country and across the world. Grief is everywhere.
We have choices though, when faced with these events. We can pretend that we are okay and stay stuck in the mindset that there is no need to burden others with our problems, or we can continue to take healthy steps to heal. We can indulge in addictions which distract us from our pain or we can engage in healthy behaviours and activities that will contribute to our healing. We can allow people to help us, support us and nurture us or we can push people away, isolate ourselves and attempt to do all of the suffering on our own.
Humans are not meant to go through this world alone. Even in countries of large land mass, people tend to gather and live in close proximity to each other. When we do an overview shot of various places on earth, cities contain the largest population of people, even though there is enough square footage on the planet for us to live much farther apart. (Apparently, the entire population of 7 billion people on this planet can actually fit into the state of Texas, if we all lived as people in New York live.)
We live close to each other because we need each other. We need people who care about us. We need people to talk with. We need support systems, networks and a sense of community. This is how we can manage to get through the pain, difficulties, obstacles, trauma and problems that we face, on a regular basis. We need each other to survive.
When we try to handle our issues alone, we may do this because we feel that we don’t want to burden or worry other people with our pain. Instead, it actually hurts our relationships and causes a barrier between us. When others know that we are suffering and we don’t reach out or discuss it freely, we actually push them away. They know that we are not being truthful with them and it makes them frustrated and worry even more.
If you or anyone you love is dealing with anything that is causing you stress, anxiety, depression, or worry, perhaps it is time that you reach out and connect with those individuals who have been reaching out to you. They are reaching out because they care about your health and wellbeing. They are worried about you. They want you to get healthier. They want you to be happy. They want you to heal. They want your life to improve.
The key, though, is that we have to want this for ourselves. We have to want to get better. We have to want an improved future. We have to want to feel joy again. Although this may not be an easy journey ahead, it is worth our effort. We can shut down, isolate, withdraw and shut others out or we can accept the care and attention that is being offered to us, while we deal with our grief.
Life is extremely short and it is not worth wasting our precious days on earth being sad, confused or miserable. Communicating our feelings and processing whatever pain we are dealing with, in a healthy way, can allow us to work towards healing and fully embracing the life that awaits us. When we choose addictions over healing, it can destroy our lives and those around us.
Might you be dealing with grief, without even knowing it? Is there anything that is still lingering in your mind or heart that consumes your thoughts? Do you know you are feeling grief, but you have not been addressing it? Are you addressing it by indulging in alcohol, drugs, medications or unhealthy behaviours? Would you like to feel better? The first step to healing is deciding. The next step is reaching out.
‘Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.’ ~ Earl Grollman