In a crisis, I usually handle things. I’m an expert at putting off the emotional part of a situation in order to make quick, decisive choices. I do well in this role but it is not sustainable. Making difficult decisions with authority is a skill I have honed throughout my life. However, that which makes me a quick first call also works in reverse when the trauma is my own.
When my brother passed away unexpectedly in our late twenties I was devastated and shut down. I took a month off of work, posted a note to facebook with information regarding his services and I handed my phone to my partner. I couldn’t take in any more information, I was overwhelmed. It turns out those things were all important choices. Even in chaos, I managed to do what I needed most – remember to ask for help.
Go where you are safe
The best thing I did for myself was knowing that I needed support. I went to my Grandmother’s house where I stayed… for a month. I needed family and I needed support. Surrounded by people I love and the nurturing that I needed most gave me space to recover. Reaching out to include others in my situation, opened the door to love and connection. This allowed others to be of service and to help – that is a gift.
Share what you can
I posted the information to social media. This communicated all the relevant information to extended friends and family without my needing to be, “on,” or the resource for information. Simply click and follow, the tools were in everyone’s hands. They knew where I was going to be and had the opportunity to engage as much or as little as they wanted or were able.
Be present in the moment
I took in less and less information. Absorbing less allowed me to process what was happening in the present. I was in the moment and moving forward one step at a time. The loss was unbearable and yet I was fully present and engaged in the experience of living.
While I don’t wish trauma or pain on anyone else. I do know that we all have our burdens and challenges to face. When we face obstacles it is imperative to take care of ourselves by letting others support us and help us to carry our load. This allows us to share not only our pain but also, our joy. Being engaged with our community is what will sustain us in our darkest hours. Help others to help you by remembering these three simple steps to feeling supported and sustained – whatever your challenges may be.
Remember to ask for help. If you are experiencing grief there are many tools out there, including professional help and guidance to help you process your loss.