I have been posting a series of “Truisms About Grief” that I received from fellow grieving dad and friend, Charlie Schmidtke. I met Charlie as part of this grieving dads project.
It is important to learn to be alone. Americans tend to have a difficult time being by themselves without any distractions around (music, TV, radio, blogs, twitters, etc.). The need always to have some intruding noise prevents us from finding solitude. Being alone does not necessarily cause depression, anxiety, or feelings of worthlessness. Some other factors in life are really the cause for those feelings. Solitude becomes the ability to be comfortable with being alone and learning to accept the person you are attempting to be or become. There is a real and important distinction between being alone and feeling lonely. We can experience one without the other. We can feel lonely when we are in a crowd or even when we are with our best friends. Being alone does not necessitate that you have to be consumed with feelings of loneliness.
There were days I felt so alone in my grief. Like I was the only one that ever felt the way I was feeling. This had a lot to do with the fact I had never experienced grief, depression or anxiety before and it scared the hell out of me. As part of my “keep clam” routine, I would rush home from work and sit in a chair and read about grief, trying to wrap my mind around what it was I was experiencing. Trying to determine if what I was feeling was a “normal” part of the grieving process. Looking back I believe sitting there alone with a book helped me process what I was thinking. It helped me to understand the thoughts I was having. Of course I didn’t get to this point until I hit what I’ll call my rock bottom or turning point in grief. I would also go for long very intense bike rides or I would go for a run. Pushing myself physically was an excellent way for me to allow myself to process everything. There are so many ways to be alone. Find the ones that work for you and force yourself away from the TV, computer, I-Phone, etc. and just be mentally still. You may find yourself releasing tears and other emotions. But that goes back to one of the other “Truisms” that Crying Cleanses the Soul.