*TW: there is mention of suicidal ideation/psychiatric hospitalization in this post
You know those times in life when it feels like everyone around you is going through a crisis or a loss, and you have this strong urge to be super supportive but you are also reeling a bit yourself? That is happening to me right now. There have been two unexpected deaths in my circle of friends–one was a friend’s mom and the other a friend’s sister-in-law. To top it off, an older family member is on hospice care and is expected to die soon. And, my new boyfriend’s (shit, here I am using that term and still feeling weird about it) sister has been hospitalized for suicidal ideation. It is all very triggering and stressful. None of it is directly happening to me, ya know? I am mourning alongside and on behalf of people, but I am not the griever. I am supporting in the best way I can, but I am not the one with the loved one who is in crisis.
I am feeling a bit anxious and also on edge about how to be the best support possible–trying to remember what was helpful to me when I was the one in crisis and grieving. My mind sort of wanders around as I second-guess my every move of support–what if someone doesn’t grieve the same? What if I reach out too much or not enough? What if I am one of the people they look back on in 5 years and think, ‘that was not helpful’? I guess my traumatic and life-altering loss makes me feel like I should know what to do. I should know the right words and gestures, and I shouldn’t make any mistakes. But, I know that is not true. Even looking in my own circle of grief after Boris died–we have grieved so differently, and some things that are helpful to me are not helpful to his mom. I know this, and yet, my head still spins a bit as I look for ways to show that I care, and that I have empathy for their situation.
On top of all of that, I think my anxiety comes from being triggered by these crises and losses–remembering what it was like when Boris was hospitalized for psychiatric treatment and remembering those early hours, days, and weeks after he died. It all just feels like too much–and I just hate that others have to do it. It has been almost 5 years since he died, but it still feels so new sometimes. My heart still beats a little faster and my stomach turns when this kind of news hits me. Even when it is someone else’s crisis, it still feels like mine somehow. And, I never want to be the person who makes it about me, you know? I want to honor and recognize this is their pain. I thought this blog might be a good place to speak that truth, and I wonder if others feel this way too.