Meltdowns Come and Go

Last week, I had a meltdown. Ok, a major meltdown! And I realized that I STILL need to give myself permission to grieve.  Almost two years after losing Jim, I still have to consciously remind myself that it’s okay to be a mess and to grieve my way.

We live in this fast-paced world where googling is more common than being active. People talk about what’s for dinner the minute after walking out of a funeral. Drive throughs and instant gratification. Delivery anything. It’s no wonder that slowing down to listen to yourself can be difficult. It almost feels like it’s frowned upon.

But grieving changes you. In so many ways. My brain just works at a new, slower pace. Things that used to be a breeze can take me hours to complete now. Reading. Processing. It’s all new to me again.

Slowing Down

Once I accepted this, it became much easier to live with and to function. I stopped expecting things to be how they’ve always been. Because they’ll never be that way again. I’ll never be that Sam again.

I’m a new Sam. And not by choice. At a retreat a few weeks ago, someone commented about me being a quiet person. Ha! Me! If only they knew.

But it’s true. I have become quiet. (I’ve since been told that “I’m coming out of my shell.”  Phew!) I’m getting back to that silly, goofy part of myself. I miss silly Sam. But it takes conscious effort. I’m always acutely aware of my behavior, recognizing new pieces of myself while still digging for some of the old pieces.

Listening to Others

Losing my soulmate was like a nuclear bomb exploding. Inside of me and all around me. I was blown to bits. I’m still picking up the pieces. And there’s no timeframe. No how-to manual. In my opinion, it will never get easier or go away. It just gets different. But it’s always present.

And that makes people uncomfortable. They want to fix things. To make them better.  For me, that actually made everything worse. And I was reminded of that during my meltdown.

I was fighting the tears and doing my damndest to function. That’s what we’re taught, right? Put on a happy face. Fake it until you make it. Shake it off.

That honestly makes things a million times worse. When I allow myself to have the meltdown instead of fighting it, that’s when I can breathe. Barely. But it’s there.

Just enough to give me that glimmer of hope.

Listening to Yourself

So why does society tell us to stuff it? More importantly, why do we listen? I’ve always had that little voice, that gut feeling. We all do. But we aren’t taught to listen to ourselves. I’m here to tell you to listen to yourself!

Life without listening is like a tornado. It’s like swimming against the tide. Being out of alignment.

After losing Jim, I literally felt like an infant. People told me when to eat. What to eat. When to sleep, not that I actually slept.

I couldn’t function. I had to learn everything all over again. And things I’m not great at, like technology, sent me into instant overwhelm. Making decisions? Nearly impossible. But I just plugged along. Going through the motions. Surviving.

No Unsolicited Advice

Meanwhile, my emotions were like a tornado, too. All over the place, wreaking havoc. And I started getting unsolicited advice. You should get back to work, take off your wedding ring, get out more.

Thankfully, my mouth didn’t say what my brain was thinking. But I started getting upset by comments like this. And I started to feel the pressure of other people’s expectations.

That’s the little voice. The gut feeling. I was reminded: Listen to yourself. I realized that I needed to pay attention. My body was telling me something. And I started to really see all of the clues.

So I made a decision. I decided to go to the mountains for our anniversary. By myself. Just me and my fur baby girl, Sassy. And my Success Principles book.

And as is true of any decision we make in life, people had opinions. Most thought this was a horrible idea. At least the “going by myself” part. Only this time it was different. I did not care one iota what anyone thought. I was being called to the mountains, and I listened without questioning or overthinking.

Trust Yourself

And I felt free. Free to live life on my terms, to trust myself. Free to grieve my way and to make decisions without caring what others think. And I decided in that instant that I never wanted to feel anything other than free again.

So I gave myself permission. Permission to be myself. To get through things my own way, in my own time. And I realized that I’ve had the permission all along. I was waiting for someone else to give it to me, and all I had to do was stand up and take it!!

The same is true for you! I’m not saying it’s easy. I still have my meltdowns. The mean girls in my head still try to convince me that I’m not good enough. But I tune them out. I don’t fight the meltdowns because that only makes it worse. Instead, I embrace them. I look at them as gifts, allowing me to release something that clearly needs to be released.

Creating My New Life

Coming home from the mountains, I started creating the life that I want. I got a puppy, Dallas. She brought joy back into our house, and she helped Sassy heal which has been the biggest gift of all. Another decision many thought was crazy. Another one of my best decisions.

I continued listening to my body and to that little voice. I gave myself permission to heal, my way, and I devoted 2019 to myself and my healing. Another decision that wasn’t well received. And another one of my best decisions. Ever.

It’s how I began to heal, something I honestly didn’t believe was possible even 6 months ago. So trust me when I say that grieving is a personal journey. Listen to yourself. Your journey is different than mine. But what we have in common is the right to grieve our own way. Permission Granted!

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Samantha Ruth

Samantha Ruth is a Transformational Psychologist, speaker, best selling author, CoFounder of Faces of Mental Illness, a movement of breaking stigmas and inspiring hope, and the proud founder of Griefhab: a 24/7 support community open to anyone who has experienced a loss. She helps people around the world turn their pain into their power by guiding them to be their true selves not who they think they need to be, by embracing their differences, and by living life on their own terms.

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