It's Okay to NOT be Okay
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay
It'’s been one week since I walked into a space truly having no idea what I was about to experience. I was walking into day one of Grief Recovery Training and the first thing I noticed was there were full sized boxes of tissues designated to each chair. Not to mention, these chairs were in a semi-circle, meaning, no one could hide in the back behind their desks or tables.
Did I mention there were no tables?
I knew immediately after walking into this room that the next four days were not only going to be long but they were going to be emotional.
I was nervous.
What if I am the only one who ends up crying? What if I am the only one who has suffered such a significant loss? What if I am not as healed as I thought and I end up being a basket case for the next four days? What are these people going to think? Will I get my money back if I can’t get through it? Will they think I am crazy for thinking I could help anyone grieving when I can barely help myself?
Honestly, all of these questions went through my head literally seconds after I walked in the room. I had no idea what I was getting myself into and what I learned very quickly was I was not the only one feeling this way.
It didn’t take long before the introductions began and all I can say is WOW. There were twenty people in the room and every single one of them had a story.
Don’t we all?
I was instantly relieved that I was not the “only one”.
I know that sounds crazy that I was excited to know that everyone in the room shared devastation, confusion, and grief, but it’s so relieving to be in a space with people who get it. Who not only get the heartache but also understand completely why I have a strong desire to help.
We all had different stories but we all shared indescribable pain. This pain was not all a result of death. So many people think that if no one has died, then they aren’t likely experiencing grief. Contrary to what many people believe, grief comes in many forms and we learned about many of the life circumstances that cause grief. It’s pretty safe to say everyone has experienced one form of grief or another at some point in their life.
So why such a stigma?
As we went around the room we laughed, we cried, and we dug deep. We did this together as a group despite never having met. We became a team in minutes and the room felt lighter than just moments before.
I am not going to go into detail about what we learned in the four days relating to the grief recovery method but what I do want to share is what I learned and was reminded of about humans in general.
We all feel.
We all experience loss.
We all experience pain.
We all grieve.
We don’t necessarily grieve the same way and our pain doesn’t always come in the same form. Neither do our losses. No one should feel as though their story isn’t hard enough, or powerful enough and everyone should be allowed to feel without worrying about comparison. Comparison and “one upping” another person’s grief helps no one and typically creates more damage than good. We all have a right not to be okay and we should never have to justify it to anyone.
One thing I know for sure is we often mistake our pain for weakness and we limit our healing because of the lies we are told in society about what “being strong” really is.
The lies we are told about what grieving is supposed to look like.
I want to remind everyone that it’s perfectly okay not to be okay.
This statement can be seen everywhere in the mental health world, the grief community, in songs, and in books, but we often ignore it anyway. We often go on trying to hold ourselves together because we don’t want to burden anyone or make others feel uncomfortable. Sometimes we don’t want to feel the discomfort of explaining why we are sad and why we aren’t “over it”.
Sometimes we are tired and sometimes we just don’t have the tools we need to carry on.
We are told time heals and yet we don’t know what to do in the meantime while we wait for the proverbial “time” to heal us. It just doesn’t work and it’s not helpful for most people who are hurting and or feeling stuck.
If you are lucky enough to have a knowledgeable therapist who understands the realities of grief, then you are one step in the right direction towards healing, but if you aren’t so lucky you are left talking in circles for far too long only to give up once the boxes have been checked off. Only to give up once the infamous stages have been identified and once society believes your grief should be done.
Something that was reiterated to me at this training was this; people want their grief to be validated, they want to be heard, and they want to heal in way that is unique to them without judgement.
I was truly blessed to be where I was for those four intensive days. I felt that the universe placed us all in that room together in the exact moment we needed one another and I will always remember the people as the way they were on the first day and the way they left on the last day.
We were given a gift that weekend and that gift came in the form of compassion, knowledge, and the ability to move forward with tools to help people who are desperately looking for a way to feel okay again.
It’s okay not to be okay, but when you are ready to be okay again; the grief recovery method is a truly restorative experience and one that you will walk away from feeling EMPOWERED and READY to carry your story with you in a way that brings peace and healing, rather than pain and sorrow.
To all those I met in the training, I am so honoured to have spent those four days with you. Your stories are inspiring beyond belief and your compassion for human kind is commendable.
If anyone is interested in learning more about the Grief Recovery Method, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are not in the same area as me I can direct you to someone in your area or someone who has the advanced training which gives them the authority to facilitate this method online. I don’t have the advanced training yet but I have no doubt I will in the future.
The grief recovery method is all over the world helping so many grievers deal with the pain and emotional loss in any relationship and is evidence based and effective. The Grief Recovery Method is the only Grief Support Program to have received this distinction of being evidence based (www.The Grief Recovery Institute.com).
“It’s never to soon to heal your heart” – thegriefrecoverymethod.com
Photo story: Back in 2016, when I was still very early on in my grief after the death of my fiancé, my good friend Sarah texted me this song after having met Madeline Merlo. Sarah told me the song made her think of me and when I listened to it on repeat I felt so lucky. I felt lucky because I knew that Sarah genuinely had my back and that she would ALWAYS be there with no judgement.. The song meant the world to me and when I got to hear Madeline Merlo perform it live this year, I of course had to buy the shirt ;) Here is the link.