Feeling incredibly lost and lonely
December 3, 2017 4:19 AM   Subscribe

This year has not been kind to me (job loss, bereavement, break up of LTR) and most recently a miscarriage.

It's been nearly two weeks since the miscarriage and I had no idea how devestating I would find this.

I would love some ideas for when the world overwhelms me and I have a mini grief attack. So far I have: dog walks, Seinfield, baths. I don't have a partner and feel very lonely right now. Work is crappy and they were irritated I took three days off ill to deal with this. I want to quit it - I have savings - but unemployment this year has left me scared. Basically I have no idea what to do with my life now that a baby isn't in the picture.

How do I suddenly take it day by day when I have been planning my life far in advance?

(I'm in therapy. Forever.)
posted by teststrip to Human Relations (12 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I’ve been through some similarly shitty traumatic experiences this year. Things that have helped:

-talking about it. Not only with my therapist, but also with all the close friends that I trust. I talk to so many people. I talk till I’m blue in the face. This level of event requires way more talking to process than 50 minutes weekly.

-focusing on being kind to myself. The world is doing an excellent job of beating me up right now. I don’t need to help it. (I found Hallelujah Anyway by Anne Lamott to be helpful reading in this regard. Her explicitly Christian perspective means she’s not for everyone, but the book is informed by religion, not about it. YMMV.)

-remembering that there is no plot. I am not the hero of a story. There is no narrative. Things just happen. (Reading Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron was helpful for me for this.)

-doing as much as I can to be in the moment. I’m constantly dogged by memories of my trauma. But I try to allow those memories to be there without preventing me from appreciating what’s going on around me. I do a lot of things to engage my senses: massages, eating delicious food, walks outside, lighting a scented candle when I get home from work. I can tell myself, “Yes, this awful thing happened, but right now I’m appreciating the way the moon is obscured by clouds,” or “Right now I’m enjoying how soothing the masseuse’s hands are on my back.”

-All my expectations of myself are scaled way back. Did I show up to the place where I was supposed to be and not have a breakdown? That means the whole day is a win.

You are dealing with an enormous amount of difficult things. Trying to manage them all at once is overwhelming. Don’t force yourself to take on that burden. Take it one step at a time, and be as kind to yourself as you can possibly muster.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:46 AM on December 3, 2017 [12 favorites]

Also, for the loneliness: I am texting friends and family constantly and telling them about my feelings. I’ve got about five individuals that I text with, as well as a group chat with a group of friends. I try to spread it out so I’m never overwhelming any one friend, but I always have someone I can reach out to. Texting these folks throughout the day is my number one coping mechanism.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:50 AM on December 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

Your mileage may vary, but knitting helped me. Maybe jigsaw puzzles or crocheting or sudoku or coloring, anything else you can think of that requires focus and repetitive movement. It can be soothing.
posted by sacchan at 5:05 AM on December 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I found writing down how I was feeling to be really helpful when I was going through loss. Partly because in the moment you can feel better about getting things off your chest, but also because I found it was heartening to look back at what I wrote in the worst moments with the recognition that I eventually felt better. It was a bittersweet reminder that we can move on from things, which is not something I would have believed at the darkest moments.
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 6:41 AM on December 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

I feel like a lot of people are dealing with grief this fall/winter this year. Perhaps because I'm experiencing grief too, I'm noticing it more.

I see you are trying to be kind to yourself, so that's a start. I found that this blog post about mourning losses big and small was helpful for me.

I've been using my Facebook more of a journal to vent what I'm feeling with no expectation or call to action for my friends and family. For those who are concerned about my well-being, it's a window into how I'm feeling and how I'm working through the stages of grief, and I don't have to constantly answer "How are you doing?"

Perhaps you may want to look into a local miscarriage-specific grief support group. I know Meetup has several groups on coping with grief and loss.

A few things that have been working for me:
* Creating music playlists as I work through my grief, I tend to express myself through music, so it's been healthy for me to have a creation based solution even if the content of the songs are about destruction or loss.

* Baking, even if I don't eat everything I make. Working through each step of the recipe and ending in creating something works for me. If cooking works for you, I suggest "My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life" as a companion.
posted by msladygrey at 6:48 AM on December 3, 2017

Grief takes time. Grief over your relationship and grief over the loss of the pregnancy and all the hopes and anticipation of your child to be. Add anxiety about work and loneliness, and really, you get an award for getting out of bed every day. Recognize that this is a very hard thing and that you are coping.

Nutrition. Eat well, lots of vegetables, and avoid junk and sugar.
You have a dog or can borrow a dog; that's a big help. Good company and unconditional love. And getting outside and exercising is also a big help.
Buy scented candles to makes bathtime nicer.
Music. Music works on a different part of your brain and helps you in ways that are hard to quantify. It can be a great comfort.
Grief is a thing you have to experience, acknowledge, and move through. You're doing this. Journaling may help. There may be a support group for people wo have experienced miscarriage; the hospital would know.

Wishing you the best.
posted by theora55 at 6:56 AM on December 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm having a really shitty year (sorry to hear that you are as well) and I'm finding that exercise and taking care of my physical health has been crucial lately for dealing with all my feels. I started curling a couple weeks ago and love it. For that 3 hours a week, I can focus on intense physical exercise and turn my brain off of the grief ruminating and cycling and give it something else to think about (i.e. how am I go to play this shot?). I also like that its a low pressure social situation, and have met some nice people. It's been a good way of staying connected to people without feeling pressured or feel like I have to be "on" all the time.

Is there a physical activity you have always wanted to try? Maybe yoga, running, dancing, something that sounds fun to you? Don't be afraid to experiment and try things. I tried a running clinic and hated it after the first week, it was way too much for me at the time. So I tried aerial yoga and curling instead. All the best to you.
posted by snowysoul at 10:26 AM on December 3, 2017

I know it's not much, but through some very tough times, thinking "this too shall pass" always helped. To remember that these feelings weren't permanent and would heal, that these circumstances were painful in the moment but would recede into the past.
posted by WCityMike at 11:16 AM on December 3, 2017

I am so, so sorry for your loss. I have had a similarly rough year. What helped me at first was talking to friends, then therapy and medication for treating the acute anxiety. But in my case, even that wasn't enough in the end -- the past was haunting me, so I moved to another state to start over about two weeks ago. I don't know if I'd recommend that, circumstances matter a lot, but it's been really healing for me so far to put geographical and temporal distance between me and what happened this year so I can recover in peace. I may move back, I may not.

Anyway, other things I do when I begin to have severe anxiety or panic attacks, or the realness of the past year gets to be too much: lighting candles, binge watching Grey's Anatomy (it helps me get the tears out and process vicariously), a fire in a fireplace, comfortable clothes, beautiful surroundings (hikes, walks around water, sunsets), and maybe this is just me, but I enjoy being surrounded by strangers. No one knows what happened to me, and I get to choose who I am that day. If I want to be alone and sad, I can do it without judgment. If I want to engage with others, I can, without obligation. The point is there's no pressure for me to perform recovery when I'm absolutely still in the thick of it all.

For acute panic, where ruminant fatalistic thoughts are flooding my head and I'm deep in the dark spaces of my head, I play a coping word game my good friend with OCD taught me: A my name is Aurora, I'm from Alaska, and I'm bringing Apples. B my name is Bob, I'm from Baltimore, and I'm bringing Bagles. C my name is Cornelius... It's my brain equivalent of hitting a big red button that helps divert away from the destructive thoughts.
posted by Snacks at 12:41 PM on December 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Update: I was let go from my job :(
posted by teststrip at 5:05 AM on December 4, 2017

I'm so sorry you were let go on top of everything.

However, you have savings. GOOD JOB by the way. Not everyone does - you have put yourself in a position where you can take a moment, take stock, and start the next phase of your life when you are ready.

Can you take a break somewhere? Perhaps stay with friends, or rent somewhere cheap for a week to just clear your head.

Then, take a week just to plan, research, and focus on what's next. Then, go for it.

Timescales depend on how long you've got saved for, but make sure you give yourself time to take a breath before you start moving forwards.
posted by greenish at 6:36 AM on December 5, 2017

teststrip, I'm sorry to hear about your latest news. I don't have any pearls of wisdom since I'm struggling myself (read my previous question if you're curious) but I'm taking magnesium supplements and dripping lavender essential oil on my pillow before bed in the hope of getting some sleep. I already take fish oil everyday and I try to eat nutritional yeast for the B vitamins.

As greenish says, do take some time off to comfort yourself. Eat macaroni and cheese or whatever your favorite food is. Get lots of rest. Take long baths. Sending you warm, healing vibes! I know it's especially tough to be sad and lonely during the holiday season.
posted by whitelotus at 4:30 PM on December 5, 2017

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