healing from grief

some thoughts about breakups

I think we put too much emphasis on worth when it comes to breakups, like the only reason a relationship ever ends is because one person decided the other wasn’t good enough. It can obviously feel that way regardless of the actual reasons, but there are many reasons that can cause a relationship to just not work anymore.

Sometimes people’s priorities change, or it’s discovered that they never lined up very well in the first place.

Sometimes circumstances, like distance or time availability, make maintaining a relationship too difficult.

Sometimes people realise that they don’t have the emotional resources to handle both the relationship and what’s going on in their life right now (be that work, grief, healing from trauma, dealing with illness or disability, etc.).

Sometimes people’s relationship styles/emotional needs just don’t line up – one person needs a lot of alone time and the other needs a lot of time with a partner, for example.

Sometimes people try very hard to interact in a healthy way, but they trigger each other’s past traumas or have conflicting access needs and find themselves falling into dysfunctional patterns.

Sometimes love is not enough to make a healthy relationship possible. You can care deeply about each other and try to make things work, but discover that a relationship is still not possible. Ending a relationship with someone you love can be very difficult, but sometimes it’s necessary – it’s not healthy for anyone to ignore their own needs in order to maintain a relationship.

When a good relationship ends, that doesn’t mean it was a failure. It means that it’s over; it doesn’t erase the love that you shared. Whether or not you can transition to a different kind of relationship with them, the person you cared about will still be part of your universe, and the memories you share with them will still be part of who you are. The time that you had together can still be meaningful.

anonymous asked:

it's been a year since the pulse shooting and I don't know if I've recovered. that event really changed me and I think it'll take a while until I'm fully healed

and that’s perfectly okay. to grieve and to heal from grief is never a simple process. i know i’m still very much in mourning and this is going to be a hard day. but even as we hurt, we have each other and this whole beautiful community, and that’s gotta count for something

Trauma inevitably brings loss. Even those who are lucky enough to escape physically unscathed still lose the internal psychological structures of a self securely attached to others. Those who are physically harmed lose in addition their sense of bodily integrity. And those who lose important people in their lives face a new void in their relationships with friends, family, or community. Traumatic losses rupture the ordinary sequence of generations and defy the ordinary social conventions of bereavement. The telling of the trauma story thus inevitably plunges the survivor into the profound grief. Since so many of the losses are invisible or unrecognized, the customary rituals of mourning provide little consolation.

The descent into mourning is at once the most necessary and the most dreaded task of this stage of recovery. Patients often fear that the task is insurmountable, that once they allow themselves to start grieving they will never stop. Danieli quotes a 74-year-old widow who survived the Nazi Holocaust: “Even if it takes one year to mourn each loss, and even if I live to be 107 [and mourn all members of my family], what do I do about the rest of the six million?”

The survivor frequently resists mourning, not only out of fear but also out of pride. She may consciously refuse to grieve as a way of denying victory to the perpetrator….Reclaiming the ability to feel the full range of emotions, including grief, must be understood as an act of resistance rather than submission to the perpetrator’s intent. Only through mourning everything that she has lost can the patient discover her indestructible inner life….

…Resistance to mourning can take on numerous disguises. Most frequently it appears as a fantasy of magical resolution through revenge, forgiveness, or compensation.

The revenge fantasy is often a mirror image of the traumatic memory, in which the roles of perpetrator and victim are reversed. It often has the same grotesque, frozen, and wordless quality as the traumatic memory itself. The revenge fantasy is one form of the wish for catharsis. The victim imagines that she can get rid of the terror, shame, and pain of the trauma by retaliating against the perpetrator. The desire for revenge also arises out of the experience of complete helplessness. In her humiliated fury, the victim imagines that revenge is the only way to restore her own sense of power. She may also imagine that this is the only way to force the perpetrator to acknowledge the harm he has done to her.

Though the traumatized person imagines that revenge will bring relief, repetitive revenge fantasies actually increase her torment….During the process of mourning, the survivor must come to terms with the impossibility of getting even. As she vents her rage in safety, her helpless fury gradually changes into a more powerful and satisfying form of anger: righteous indignation. …Giving up the fantasy of revenge does not mean giving up the quest for justice; on the contrary, it begins the process of joining with others to hold the perpetrator accountable for his crimes.

Revolted by the fantasy of revenge, some survivors attempt to bypass their outrage altogether through a fantasy of forgiveness. This fantasy, like its polar opposite, is an attempt at empowerment. The survivor imagines that she can transcend her rage and erase the impact of the trauma through a willed, defiant act of love. But it is not possible to exorcise the trauma, through either hatred or love. Like revenge, the fantasy of forgiveness often becomes a cruel torture…true forgiveness cannot be granted until the perpetrator has sought and earned it through confession, repentance, and restitution.

Genuine contrition in a perpetrator is a rare miracle. Fortunately, the survivor does not need to wait for it. Her healing depends on the discovery of restorative love in her own life; it does not require the love be extended to the perpetrator. Once the survivor has mourned the traumatic event, she may be surprised to discover how uninteresting the perpetrator has become to her and how little concern she feels for his fate. She may even feel sorrow and compassion for him, but this disengaged feeling is not the same as forgiveness.

—  Judith Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror

Sunlight struggles, every dawn, out of the pitch-black darkness. Dawns are new days, and new days can mean different things to different people. Some may think of new days as a fresh start. Some may think of new days as an opportunity to fix their mistakes, or heal from pain or grief. To me, a new day is just another day. Nothing to look forward to and nothing to avoid. It’s just the clock ticking and the cycle repeating, and the new days come and go.

- R.Z. (via @riverlyn)

( the journey — six years later )

Today I feel as though I have come full circle on a journey that started this very day 6 years ago. Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 my youngest brother Alex was declared brain dead after a tragic accident. He had been hit by a car while riding his bike. It was the day before his 10th birthday. So it goes.

What does it mean to lose a sibling? Worse, what does it mean to lose a sibling that in many ways was like your own child? From that point on I lost a piece of myself, my heart forever scarred. I lost so much of what it meant to be Kasey Santanen. It is hard to see the filaments and lines that tie you to someone—that bind them to you—until they are cut away forever. To know that a piece of you no longer exists in the world—will never exist in the world again in the form you knew—is the worst sort of grief.

You flail around in the dark. Nothing makes sense anymore. You grasp at whatever coping mechanism you can find—any piece of string to keep you from drowning. For me, it was running.

I tried to move on with my life—I did a study abroad in France. I moved to Saint Louis. I tried continuing my education at a new university. I agreed to move to Ireland when the opportunity came. But you can’t outrun your grief—your demons will always catch you. Few people know of the terrible panic attacks I would suffer on a near daily basis. Driving to school every day became a nightmare. It would start as something small—a sense of unease. And then, as I was going down the interstate, the terror would hit me. At times it was so intense, so crushing I would throw up in my car. Eventually, I started skipping class. I wouldn’t go on campus. As a result, I started failing.

But I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. It would ruin the image people had of me—that I was strong, I was capable. Social anxiety carries a lot of stigma and taboo. This was the Kasey that moved to Finland before she was even 18. This was the Kasey that survived being homeless in a foreign country. I didn’t want anyone to know how broken I truly was, how much I was drowning within myself. Attempts at going to therapy proved futile. I didn’t trust anyone, and none of the therapists I saw did anything to try and garner trust from me. I bottled everything up and tried to keep moving.

My health started to suffer. Those closest to me know that between 2009 and 2013, I became very, very sick. There were days in Ireland I was so weak I couldn’t even make it up the stairs. Simply pulling a sweater over my head became a Herculean effort.

My relationship suffered. I was with a man whom I thought I would be with forever. For the first time in my life, I was with someone that I felt I would grow old and die with. But that’s not how the story ends. Grief like this—untamed, unmitigated—consumes everything. And while I will not blame my brother’s death and my grieving on the demise of that relationship, I must be honest in saying that it played a part. It was acid on the foundation we had built with each other—slowly eroding away any hope of a future as long as it was there.

In 2013 things came to a breaking point. My relationship ended. I returned to Louisiana. Starting your life over again is something akin to coming to a fork in a road. You can continue down the same path you were on, or you can make a conscious decision to go in a different direction—to be born as someone new.

I made the decision take a new path.

A few weeks ago I was on the phone with an old friend, and I confessed to him that I felt the happiest I’ve been in 10 years. Especially in the last few months, I have started to make changes which I had hoped would lead to a happier life. And so far in this journey, it seems to be working. I feel I’m finally being born again as someone new—emerging from my latent cocoon of grief.

Sometimes amputees say they can still feel their limbs, even years after it was cut away. I can still feel my brother. When he appears in my dreams, he is the sun, he is light and life. He is technicolour. Pieces of him live in me somewhere between the synapses in my brain, close and sacred.

Tomorrow Alex would have celebrated his 16th birthday. Who would he have been, my Gemini brother? And in a way, who would I be now if he were still alive? What sort of life would Christopher and I have had these last 6 years if Alex had never passed away?

To lose a sibling is to lose a part of yourself forever. And over the last 6 years, I have had to make a journey to fill that chasm inside of me, the empty rift left in Alex’s wake.

I’ve come to a point where I can say I have finally started healing—as though spring is finally returning to my soul.

And I cannot think of a better way to celebrate my brother, his life, and his memory than by trying to make myself whole again in his absence.

At Alex’s funeral, I read a eulogy for him. I don’t think it is the best piece of writing I have ever made, but it is one of the most honest. And to stand in front of people—to stand over your brother’s small body in a fire engine red casket made so tiny, so small—and read about his life, your memories of him, and the aching pain of your soul at his loss—is still the hardest thing I have ever done.

I read a quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Price, in that eulogy:
“It is in the compelling zest of high adventure and of victory, and in creative action, that man finds his supreme joys.”

This is how you find yourself again. This is how you live after your soul has been torn asunder.

This is how you heal. One small, tiny, infinitesimal piece at a time.

Kasey Santanen has finally come unstuck in time. Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.

So it goes.

anonymous asked:

I'm just like "Give me Bellarke next season".And then I remember that I really want to prolong the pleasure and it will be better to put romantic line between them in season 5.But I can't wait!Aargh..Really difficult dilemma 👾

Originally posted by fyeahbellarke

I am impatient, and I don’t believe in artificially prolonging something that has CLEARLY been building for 3 seasons. Plus, I would love to see them work together as an established relationship. Because will they/won’t they is all well and good, melodramatic unhealthy relationships are super passionate and exciting, but I want to see them tackling the end of the world KNOWING that they have each other. I like that idea. So that’s why I’m not for putting it off until season 5.

HOWEVER, I recognize that the tension of unfulfilled love and sex is also really engaging, so here’s what I’m looking for.

Start off with an acknowledgement that they’ve reached a new plateau in their relationship. Show them with a mutual desire to be together, to touch, incrementally getting closer and closer. Show them healing, gently from their mutual grief and loss, and finding comfort and joy in each other. But still “platonic.” Then throw in an obstacle. 

Let’s make it a Bellamy love interest. Yes, damn you. And I don’t care who she (or he) is. I don’t even care if it’s Echo. It’s not important. It’s not a real serious one, but someone showing interest in having Bellamy in the ways that Clarke has been holding back from. Having her realize that someone could take him from her before she ever had him. Now she’s got to confront that she actually wants him and either back down and let him be with someone else or, of course, step up and make a claim on him. 

So now we have another new plateau in the relationship where Clarke and Bellamy have acknowledged her feelings, and probably his. Let’s have them grow closer. Address the issues of leadership. The end of the world. Their friends. Not really know if this is where they should go and still finding themselves drawn together. How about we reach a point where there is a kiss or two? 

Now let’s have a new obstacle. It’s the end of the world. Easy. Bellamy and Clarke have to separate for a mission. Maybe there is a near disaster. Maybe one or both of them nearly dies. They realize what they almost lost. When they meet again, they have a passionate reunion where they finally admit what they mean to each other and that they don’t want to be apart anymore or be unsure or resist. And blammo. They do they deed. That’s it. Full on consummation. Romantic, sexy love scene. LOVE. New plateau.

But you don’t really think I’m going to let it be easy, do you? No, silly bellarkers.


This time it’s back to the end of the world. Because this show is about survival, not ships, how many times do I have to tell you? Just obstacle and after obstacle and adventure after adventure. And maybe sometimes they are separated, but most of the time they are together, and they are just not ready to make this relationship that they haven’t figured out yet public to everyone, so they are trying to be together on the DL. But because it’s the end of the world and they are busy trying to save it with adventure team, they are surrounded constantly and have to sneak around and find ways to be together. SO MANY POSSIBILITIES for sexy, exciting scenes, rushed and slightly dangerous and interrupted, but giving them a reason to keep fighting.

So here they are, saving the world again, finding moments within the mission where they can offer each other comfort or ease or help each other figure out the next step or give each other strength. But they are unable to fully express their relationship to the world because there is simply no time or energy. So they are constantly wanting to be together in all the ways and being held back by the necessity of saving the world. Until they are there at the final battle and they do it again, they save the world, save the kids, make it through impossible suffering and loss and that’s it, they are done hiding. They fall into each other’s arms, kiss passionately in front of their entire people, who of course have been watching them fall in love the entire time and are not surprised but are relieved that they have finally figured it out.

This all is, of course, a subplot that occurs at the same time as our post apocalyptic adventure story, apocalypse part 2, with overtones of Indiana Jones, The Hunger Games and The Old Testament, which is the main story. as well as the side plots that will be happening.

So here I am. I get my undercurrent of romance, my flirting, my jealousy, my UST, my kiss dammit, my separation :( danger and fear for eachothers’ lives, then subsequent fantastic reunion :), my declarations of love, my love scene, my secret love affair, my sneaking around, my action, drama, end of the world survival pain and adventure and then eventually they are fully together and established within the post apocalyptic community at the end of the world.

I got it all. Prolonging. Hiding. Kissing. Screwing. Loving. Danger. Reunions. The ups and down, highs and lows, a delightful rollercoaster of Bellarke emotions.