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Dealing With Grief - How It's Changed Me

Hadessah Designed - Self Love is Sanity not Vanity

Grief: there isn't a way to explain this never-ending journey of how to cope after losing someone who was a pillar in your life. In my case, so far, it has been my sister. 

It's been almost two years since losing my little sister, Hannah. This year's lead-up

to her anniversary has changed significantly from last year. Last year, the anxiety bubbled up in my throat, and at times, the anxiety attacks were so great that I had to go on anti-depressants for months to make it past her death date. The anti-depressants did more harm than good, and when I realized it, I did what nobody should ever do when manic: stop it cold turkey. But mania episodes scared me so much that I just had to stop, and I didn't want to risk doing something stupid while still on them, even though stopping them without tapering off possibly affected my psychological state more. Needless to say, the feeling last year was a total loss of control mentally.

This year, the sadness comes in waves, but the anxiety has dulled. I feel in control of how I am reacting, and the pain (although there) feels more dull. I don't know if it's a mixture of numbness from dealing with the fallout of the Film Strikes in my family that has helped me cope. I have also been in school for ECE (Early Childhood Education).

I look forward to doing my practicums starting next month because the end is in sight for this part of my education journey, with an interest in counselling next. I am comforted in knowing that my sister would be proud of me for accomplishing everything I have this year, and that's been a comfort.

Ways that grief has changed me in the past few years.

  1. I have not been interested in doing anything that doesn't enhance or add to my or my immediate family's lives somehow.

  2. My children are my priority. It's been hard on them in different ways, especially after my oldest son has had to deal with the emotional rollercoaster of my separation and divorce. Therapy has been an essential addition to mine and their lives.

  3. I have been checking in on my parents more. They have moved to BC to be closer to me and the children.

  4. I stopped feeling eager to go out. I like being at home with my family, but I do not enjoy being away from home as often.

  5. I appreciate my partner that much more. I support their dreams and desires and enjoy their presence in my life. I no longer look for all the little annoyances or blow tiny things out of proportion.

  6. I don't care what other people outside of my scope think anymore. I used to feel like I needed to please others to make my existence matter, but now I don't think about what people are saying about me.

  7. I enjoy the quiet. I don't feel like my mind is racing when things are silent anymore. I can finally understand the importance of meditation or just taking time to read or lay in bed without feeling restless.

  8. I do not enjoy gossip. I tune out when people talk about others in needless or harmful ways. I am open to honest conversation. If someone is venting because they are dealing with mistreatment and there are visible patterns of behaviour where I can see they need help, I tune in. But if they are just there to gossip about business, that doesn't involve them. I'm not interested.

  9. I have realized that my boundaries are essential. I will not sacrifice my boundaries for the sake of empathy anymore. These past few years, I have cut off so many negative acquaintances/"friendships" and closed communication. My life has, in turn, lightened.

  10. I won't carry the entire load anymore. I will let people know at work, at home, and at leisure what I feel I am and am not capable of handling on my own. I will not do more than what is required of me to " keep the peace." What about my peace? If you want to do your part, it will get done. I will only apply more effort when teamwork is pushed by all parties involved.

  11. I am more in tune with my emotions. I can correctly identify cause and effect in my emotional life, which has provided more balance.

  12. I openly voice it when I am frustrated instead of biting my lip. I do not allow others to "pretend" something didn't happen and hope that things "return to normal." 

  13. I've become very private. My time on Social Media has decreased to 15 minutes/day. (Thank you, Apple Screen Time Settings.) I do not post as often, and I DO NOT tell anyone who doesn't need to know anything about my life. I used to post everything in my stories and on social media so people could see what I was doing. Now, I am more interested in only my closest friends and family knowing what is happening with me.

These are some of the most important things that I have been able to pinpoint that I have changed in my life this past year. I am proud of the growth, but there is always room for improvement.

Yes, my sister is no longer here. I will keep her close to my heart and continue to treasure and protect her memory. But now, I have realized it's time to prioritize the treasures that are still in front of me. I will not waste time on anything that doesn't make the most of the time I or my loved ones still have.

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