Five months post loss and what I’ve experienced in these last few months is too much to put into a blog post. But, I’ll try to simplify it.
Basically, life looks really different now.
Weekly therapy. Sober. Connecting with nature. Time off work.
That all sounds okay right?
What if I told you I had to hit absolute rock bottom to get there? What if I told you I couldn’t get out of bed and dropped 20 pounds in a month? What if I told you the grief, I thought I had moved through, had other plans for me. The grief held me in a choke-hold and I had two options:
- Keep using maladaptive coping strategies (Maladaptive coping generally increases stress and anxiety, with examples including self-harm, binge eating and substance abuse) to survive
- Change my entire life in hopes of finding healing
For a while, I decided 1. was the only attainable option for me. I mean, I was working 2 jobs at the time. I didn’t have time to change my entire life- that’s hard fucking work. I didn’t have time to address my daily panic attacks and sit with the big feelings and ask them “what do you need from me?”
But, the thing about grief, and pain and loss is eventually, even if you think you’ve outrun it, it will catch up to you. And when it does, you’ll have no choice but to face it.
When we lost Mars, I grieved more than just the loss of our baby. I grieved my innocence, the opportunity to be carefree, the privilege to become pregnant again without debilitating fear of another loss. But, the lifestyle I used to block out the pain, and the grief, wasn’t contributing to the life I wanted to create. If I ever wanted to conceive again, I had to make some serious life changes.
So, I tried 2. I decided to change my entire life, and hoped it would help. Some of the lifestyle and habit changes I made are:
- I went on a leave of absence from my day job and put my side business on hold (potentially permanently). I couldn’t heal from PTSD if my fight or flight was constantly activated
- I stopped drinking alcohol. 2 months without it and I can honestly say it was a huge contributor to my daily panic attacks (at least in the quantity I was drinking)
- Every morning, I got out of bed (which is fucking hard in the midst of grief and depression) and I drove to a field and sat in the middle of it and just breathed, imagining the ground holding me. Visualization was a huge catalyst for healing
- I listened to my body. If panic started to arise, I asked me body what it needed. If I woke up panicking, I’d sit on the ground and instead of trying to fight the panic, I’d sit with it, observe it and try to give my body kindness and grace
- I changed my thoughts. I was in a really dark place where I told myself “Your body is weak” and believed the miscarriage was my fault. And it’s true, my body was weak for a period of time. But I know now, nothing that happened was my fault. Instead, now I tell myself “Your body is healed/healing.” And slowly, I’m starting to believe it.
- I stopped taking benzos. This is my biggest accomplishment. I relied on Ativan (lorazepam) to help me fight the daily panic attacks when I was in the thick of my grief and trauma. During my darkest days, I’d lay on the bathroom floor, watch Disney movies on my Ipad, turn the shower on to drown out my hyperventilating, and take Ativan to breathe. What I didn’t consider, was the fact that benzos are super fucking addictive. I eventually had to start taking more to calm my panic and even then, the effects weren’t enough.
Obviously, these bullet points are super simplified. I could write an entire blog post on any and all of them. The combination of all of these changes have helped me get to a much better place physically, emotionally and spiritually (thanks to meditation, chakra work, mindfulness and yoga).
There isn’t a single bullet point that would have changed my life single handedly. It was the combination of all of them that brought me to the place I am right now. The place where I feel capable of continuing to heal, capable of trying to conceive again in the future and most of all, capable to live inside my own body.
Below is a quote I resonate with. And, after reading it, came to the realization that grief is a journey, and I may end up in another grief rut eventually. But, the lifestyle changes and skills I’m learning now will allow me to face the grief head on instead of numbing myself to it.
“They say grief as a straight line, with a beginning, middle, and end. But it is not linear. It is disjointed.”Ann Hood
I’m not saying I’m not still grieving, or that I never experience panic attacks or depression now. I’m saying it isn’t all I feel.