I've noticed that in the last few weeks my overall attitude towards life has become dull. I'm not too keen on hanging out with friends, and I just wanna sit at home and watch TV or sleep. I'm feeling as though my life isn't going anywhere. This problem seems to have started ever since I lost a good friend in an accident about 2 months back. I can't seem to understand why I wasn't like this when the accident happened. Am I suffering from depression?
What you have to understand is that the coping process is very complex and not necessarily the same for everybody. What you have been going through is very normal and nothing to worry about or stress over.
Some people have complete mental break downs at the occurrence of an unfortunate incidence while others may have a reaction days or even weeks later. What matters is how you deal with those reactions and what you do to overcome such feelings.
Since all of us cope differently, I can give you tips on how to get back on your feet and lead life as you normally would:
1) Talk about the person
Usually, talking about a loved one who has passed can help you to overcome sad feelings about that individual and also help to share memories about that person. Sharing feelings and memories also provides a sense of closure and allows one to move on from the loss. This will make talking about your friend easier over time and he/she will no longer remain a sad or taboo topic.
Crying is very much part of the grieving process and may also help to take some of the load off. Sometimes after we let the tears roll, we feel as though a huge weight has been lifted. There's a feeling of calm and relaxation which could be very helpful. Also, if you don't happen to cry, it doesn't mean that you're abnormal. We all have our individual differences so don't be worried if it doesn't happen.
3) Draw comfort from faith
If you follow a religious tradition, embrace the comfort its mourning rituals can provide. Spiritual activities that are meaningful to you (such as praying, meditating, or going to church) can offer solace. If you’re questioning your faith in the wake of the loss, talk to a clergy member or others in your religious community.
4) Express your feelings in a creative
For those people who are not the best at simply talking, drawing, writing journals, etc. can help. Since the loss you are suffering from is very sudden, you could write a letter to your friend about all the things you may have wanted to say to him/her which you never got a chance to. Sometimes making scrapbooks or putting together albums of old photos can also help.
5) Look after your physical health
The mind and body are connected so do not neglect yourself. When you feel good physically, you also feel good emotionally. Eat, sleep, and exercise as per your normal routine. Do not use drugs or alcohol to numb the pain. That never helps.
6) Look to friends and family for support
Friends and family are our 24/7 support system and you should never feel like you have to hide your feelings or be embarrassed in front of them. Draw loved ones close, rather than avoiding them, and accept the assistance that’s offered. Often times, people want to help but don’t know how, so tell them what you need.
7) Most importantly- Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel, and don’t tell yourself how to feel either.
Your grief is your own, and no one else can tell you when it’s time to “move on” or “get over it.” Let yourself feel whatever you feel without embarrassment or judgement It’s okay to be angry, to yell at the heavens, to cry or not to cry. It’s also okay to laugh, to find moments of joy, and to let go when you’re ready.
I would personally also suggest that you see a counselor if your problems seem to persist and make normal living a hassle. There's no shame in seeking help when it's needed and no it does not mean that you're depressed or crazy. Grief works in extremely complex and mysterious ways so take it as it comes, one step at a time. There's no hurry and there's no rush to feel normal.
I sincerely hope this grieving process brings you closer to your friend and helps you learn a lot more about yourself.
Do feel free to send us an email here on Conscious Ink if you ever need ears to listen to you or a shoulder to cry on. Remember, you're never alone.