Friday, January 30, 2015

5 Coping Mechanisms That Help With Loss

Thank you for your sweet comments and emails in response to my last post. It took a lot of courage to write out my feelings about what I have been dealing with over the past few months and I greatly appreciate your support.

Others have reached out to share their experiences with separation and divorce and some have also asked me questions about how I have coped with the overwhelming feelings that come with separating from a spouse...or let's be honest...any break up. Breaking up is not easy; regardless of your status. Whether you're dating, engaged, or married, breaking up is still a loss. It can be anxiety inducing, scary because it creates self-doubt and questioning, and causes a drastic shift in your day to day routine.

While going through my separation, I have found that staying busy has helped me overcome feelings of loneliness and loss. I spend a great amount of time with close friends and family and although I am staying busy, I think it is important to allow myself to feel and not ignore the roller coaster of emotions that come from such a loss. I am lucky to have special people in my life who have supported and encouraged me every step of the way through this process and continue to be there for me now as this journey is far from over.

As easy as it is to blame D, I know that I too played a part in the deterioration of our marriage. I want to heal and learn from my mistakes so that I can become a better person and a better partner. I am taking time to reflect, learn, and try to understand where I went wrong so I can improve myself. I have found that one of the reasons I was so unhappy in my marriage is because I lost who I was. I abandoned my interests and goals because I didn't feel that I had the support to accomplish them. I changed my interests to reflect what D wanted out of my strong desire to keep the peace so to speak. What I didn't realize at the time is that by not speaking my mind or sharing how I was feeling, I was allowing myself to be treated in a way that was unhealthy. Many times I felt that I was just "accepting" the person that I had married. Now that I am separated and going through a divorce, I find myself re-establishing interests, rekindling friendships, and pursuing my goal of going back to school.  I am also no longer afraid to speak my mind regardless of the consequences. In so many ways, I am free to be me again.

At first I felt lost. But relieved. But overwhelmed. Yet free. So many feelings. So much free time to do whatever I wanted. What would I do with all the time I now had on my hands? When I am not at work or socializing with friends, I needed to find coping mechanisms to help me pass the time while I go through the divorce process. Besides my support system, here are some ways that I have been coping.

1. Technology. My iPhone (yes, I am back from my hiatus) served as a great distraction during sleepless nights and lonely times. Texting those I am closest to has provided support and comfort in times of stress and uncertainty. Instagram and Snapchat have distracted me for hours; especially late at night when I couldn't sleep. Quotes that I have found on IG have lifted my spirits, validated my feelings, and inspired me to keep going. Photos on IG have given me hope that I can be happy with a little family of my own one day. Snapchat helped me feel connected to friends who were not able to get together with me on the daily but allowed us the ability to still converse and see each other over snapchat videos.

2. Shopping. I love to shop, specifically for clothes, shoes, and accessories. I like clothes a lot and enjoy wearing cute outfits. My desire to wear cute outfits probably comes from my mom always dressing me in pretty clothes while growing up. The prettier the dress, the better. During my marriage, shopping for clothes, shoes, and accessories was often frowned upon if they were not needed. Now that I am on my own again, I can now buy cute clothes again.

3. Music. Often times a quiet house can be depressing yet I am not in the mood to have the television on all the time. I have turned to music to help me sort my feelings, put me in a good mood, encourage me to be active, and motivate to dance around my apartment. I have turned to artists such as but not limited to Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, and Carrie Underwood.

4. Fitness. Working out on a regular basis helps release serotonin from the brain which makes me feel better.

5. Reading. As I mentioned above, I am motivated to learn about why my marriage did not work so that I can prevent it from happening again. One of the ways that I am learning about aspects of my marriage that were detrimental to my happiness is by reading blogs, books, and peer reviewed articles about topics that I believe to have been the culprit. I am also reading the American Sniper and I just started Still Alice.

These are just a few ways that I have been coping with the loss of my marriage. What has helped you cope with a loss?

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