More than a year after my miscarriage, I still suffer from flashbacks.
Yesterday, I came across a TED talk which gave me a refreshing reminder on what I should focus on.
The speaker, Dr. Lucy Hone, lost her 12-year-old daughter in a brutal car accident.
While such a loss often leads to a dissolved marriage, depression, etc., there are ways to cope better, she says. She extracts the following coping methods from her own experience as well as those of the people whom she has advised as a psychologist.
1 – Accept that suffering is an inevitable part of human existence
Facing loss and grief, we often ask ourselves “why me?” – I did exactly that numerous times over the last year and half. Dr. Hone reminds us that in fact, the appropriate question is “why not me?” because loss is literary everywhere in human life. Accepting this fact gives us a perspective.
2 – Focus on positives in life
This is much easier said than done, because “negativity bias” – a tendency to fixate on negative information – is a natural characteristic of human beings. Perhaps in our hunter-gatherer days, it paid off to hold on to the past experiences that shook and threatened us.
But for our own well-being, we have to keep working on reminding ourselves that there are still positives – however small they are – in our lives.
3 – Be kind to yourself
We all deserve to be treated kindly, above all by ourselves.
Dr. Hone uses the example of a time when looking at the old photos of her lost daughter, feeling sad. After asking herself whether looking at them was hurting herself, she had to put them away.
It takes a constant, deliberate effort. But we have to consciously choose actions that protect ourselves.
No quick fix – It is a journey
Even though I loved Dr. Hone’s talk, I do think she could have emphasized one thing more explicitly: that these three coping methods will not resolve our pain in an instant.
Rather, these are the tips we should keep in our pocket, so we can access them when our minds sway towards the dark side.
We have to also accept that grief is a long, long journey, and that it is normal to sway.