Everyone has experienced loss in their lifetime, whether it is a family member, special love, friend, coworker, neighbor, or pet. Loss is hard. It colors your world. Loss is defined as “the process of losing someone”. It is a process as you cope with the void left behind.
Everyone heals in their own ways. Sometimes people work on self-improvement after their loss, focusing on themselves and vowing to be better. Sometimes people hurt themselves, disinvest in life, or shut down because of loss. The desire to hide and just be miserable makes sense and can be comforting― but you can only do so for so long. Life marches on no matter how badly we want to stand still and mourn.
No one can tell you how to cope with loss. No one can tell you how to heal. All others can do is encourage you to not give up on yourself or to allow your loss to set you back. Hurting yourself because of a loss is not a great way to honor those you mourn. You must work through what you are feeling. It is up to you to do the work you need to move forward. No one else can do that for you.
All of us as a collective have experienced a major loss due to the pandemic too. We are all missing life as usual…going to work, going to the mall, hanging out with others without the fear of catching COVID-19. Many people are turning to substances (or other destructive mechanisms such as overeating or spending beyond their means, etc.) as a result of the pandemic as a way to cope with the isolation, the unknowns, the fear, the loss of normalcy. Although the fear of the unknown makes sense, hurting yourself or damaging your personal progress to get through the current situation does more harm to you in the long run. It is better to try to face your fears head-on.
How can you cope with what is happening in the world around you? There are so many tactics you can use, including journaling your feelings, talking to friends or loved ones, reaching out for help, and using services such as RPSV’s free online support groups or our Warm Line phone aid to talk to those who can sympathize and empathize with what you are going through.
Whether it is the loss of a loved one, friend, neighbor, or pet, or the loss of the life we all once knew, there is strength in numbers. Knowing that others have gone through what you are experiencing should provide some comfort as you realize that you are not being singled out, that everyone has to figure out how to get through this new reality we find ourselves in. It is very difficult but― it is life.
How we manage our personal stressors defines us as a person. It is all right to mourn. Take your time with it. It is all right to treat yourself (in moderation). It’s all right to feel exactly the way you do right now! Realize that sometimes the smallest effort in the right direction can turn out to be the biggest step of your life. Never let go of the loss you are feeling. Remember the person, the pet, the situation. Cherish the memories. Vow to make new ones in their honor or in a new way. Love the ones you have lost. Mourn them. Smile when you think of them while moving forward to achieve your dreams. They would want you to succeed and be happy!
If you need help, reach out. RPSV is here for you. rpsva.org . (800) 374-4198
Mental Health . Substance Use Recovery . Homelessness