Step One – Grieve.

Let it out

Let it out

As I am writing this, I am at an all time low, and I’ve given up on all self-respect and dignity. I am currently sitting in my living room, which is so messy it looks as though a chocolate wrapper and tissues bomb has exploded. It’s late afternoon and the sun is glorious outside, but I have spent the day alone, sulking indoors with the curtains closed. I am wearing the baggiest and least attractive pyjamas any person could own, my hair resembles the nest of a bird who was born a bit special, and I have an impressive layer of KFC grease on my face (earlier I found a chicken crumb on my eyebrow, God knows how vigorously somebody needs to eat in order to achieve that). I have spent the day crying (actually blubbering, like an injured whale), eating comfort food and watching movies such as Romeo and Juliet and The Notebook – because the stupid lovers die and that gives me great satisfaction. Now, though this may seem like an unhealthy and really quite pathetic start to a week of wellness, it is, in fact, the best thing one can do. I have never been so depressed in my life, and I’m wallowing. But the important thing is that I am only allowing myself to do this for just 24 hours. 24 hours to let it all out and be as pitiful as I want. There is even an alarm set.

See, mental health professionals cannot seem to stress enough the importance of allowing yourself to grieve over a loss, whether it is that of a loved one, a relationship or even just a life phase. The fact of the matter is that heartbreak is the closest to bereavement most of us will have felt so far, and if you do not allow yourself to go through the necessary stages, from disbelief all the way through to acceptance, then it can have seriously negative effects on your mental well-being in the long-term.

It is a very human thing to both fear sadness and avoid it at any cost, because it seems counter-instinctive to feel so uncomfortable. This is exactly why we have such common defense mechanisms such as denial and repression. Many of us will receive the bad, albeit well-intended advice “Keep busy, don’t think about it” or “have a stiff upper lip, don’t let it get you down”. However, by denying the existence of your sadness, you are not dealing with a complex set of emotions that need to be worked through in order to find peace. Pushing your grief to the back of your mind allows it to grow like a cancer, and it is exactly this that forms the root cause for many people’s depression, anxiety and commitment issues.

Now is a good time to change your perspective on sadness. Even though it is a very unpleasant feeling, it is incredibly useful in the healing process.  Allowing yourself to grieve will give you clarity on the situation and eventually you will be able to accept that, though you have lost something important to you and that it is a very sad thing, you are still a beautiful and loveable person and deserve to feel happiness despite it. Acknowledging sadness allows your mind to channel and release a large chunk of it, and then the fun part can begin: moving on and making the most of this amazing gift that is life!

So go on, feel sorry for yourself for a day. Cry like a baby – and not the beautiful kind where a tear rolls down your radiant cheek. No sweetie, cry that ugly red-faced cry that makes you look like an angry sumo-wrestler with bowel-movement problems. Feel the lowest you will ever feel, get it over with and sleep on it. Then, wake up and put some cold cucumber on those pink, puffy eyes and get ready to face the world.

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