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Sometimes Self Care Involves Having a Pity Party

Today I am sharing a post that was originally written a year ago. Over the past week, I’ve had my share of grief triggers and I also know a dear friend is going through her own struggles of grieving multiple issues in her life. Each of us go through personal struggles but often do not fully acknowledge the full extent of what we are dealing with. We’ve been taught to not feel sorry for ourselves but sometimes the best self care we can offer ourselves is to have a pity party.

I’m warning you in advance that today I’m talking about something that you will not find many blog posts on. After all, many bloggers focus their blogs on being happy, enjoying life, being the best mom/sister/friend/person they could possibly be.

 I try to do that on a regular basis in this space. For the past two years of my life I have practiced gratitude on a daily basis (often multiple times a day). I have looked for the good in the bad and accepted that things will not always be as they are. Each day over the past two years (starting with our IVF in April 2012), I have prayed for God’s will and been willing to accept that whatever happens is part of the greater plan. Overall, I have done well with accepting the events which have been placed in front of me. I’ve got up each day, tackled my tasks and just kept moving. My mantra has always been Get Up, Get Dressed and Show Up. Eventually, things fall into a new rhythm and pace. A new normal.

A few weeks ago, I closed on my Mom’s house and thought I was doing OK with this step in the process.
 
“It’s Almost Over” James tried to say optimistically. “New Beginnings.” 
  
Although the grief counselor in me knows this is normal and to be expected, I truly was not prepared for, what I simply call “The Funk”. 
 
I questioned if I was depressed (I have every right to be). I did all of my assessments and reminded myself of the emotional events I have gone through. I practiced all of my self care activities of exercising, journal writing, reaching out to friends (see below). I saw a short amount of improvement and then “The Funk” returned.
 To make matters worse, all of my typical support system outside of my husband were also going through their own struggles of being overworked, sick children, battling sickness to the point some weren’t even able to return e-mails.During this time I also couldn’t help but think of the friends who had never been around for anything and the others who were willing to see me but only when it fit into their schedule. Also my college students  returned from Spring Break and basically had shut down their ability to think.

Everything seemed bad. Yet, I continued each day to find a gratitude. I tried to be thankful.
 
And then I remembered the advice I provided all of my grief clients who came into my office.  I gave them permission to HAVE a pity party.
 
A Pity Party? Why yes, that is what I needed to have. 
 
I needed to give myself permission to have a pity party.
 
You see, for all of this time- through the miscarriage and illness and death of my Mom and Nanny, I never truly allowed myself to feel sorry for me. I also didn’t want anyone else to feel sorry for me. I saw myself as strong and able to get through all of this. 

But let’s be honest, what I’ve been going through SUCKS!!!!!!!!! 

I have lost my two closest biological relatives, we do not have a child. I watch all of my friends go about their lives as if nothing is wrong, I’m trying to figure out what to do next with my career and to top it all off, I’m not supposed to be eating anything with gluten or dairy. Just where am I supposed to find comfort?
 
I’m writing this today to perhaps help someone else who needs to spend some time basically acknowledging that events in their life aren’t great. Just as it is important to find the blessings, we also need to truly acknowledge the pain that we are going through. Being mentally healthy involves owning your story and your pain.
 Part of the struggle with grief is that most grievers do not feel they can be honest with their emotions. Others are uncomfortable with the painful feelings and thus the griever often doesn’t acknowledge how he or she is feeling on a personal basis.

Although I have tried to be open and honest with my grief emotions, I have also found I have blunted my emotions in order to fit into the regular world. I had events to go and dates to keep. I didn’t have time for my grief. No one wanted to hear it (or so I told myself).
 
But no matter where you go, your grief goes with you. You carry it around like an extra coat and it weighs you down. 
And that’s what I’ve been feeling over the past few weeks. The weight has been great and I’ve become tired.
 
“I’ll let you have a pity party, but it can’t last forever!” is what I would share with my clients.

Even though I have known I needed to sit and simply feel sorry for myself, it’s been a struggle. It feels bad and I don’t want to be here but I know that in order to move forward I must take off this proverbial coat and acknowledge what I have gone through. I am not someone who believes in wallowing in self pity.

 I can already feel the movement towards the future. (Which is a positive sign). My habits of finding the blessings come even when I don’t try. Each of us go through difficult times in our lives and we can not compare our losses and say that one is greater than another. I do not know what you may be dealing with but I want to also give you permission to have a pity party of your own. Feel sorry for yourself, acknowledge that it is horrible and it sucks, spend a day watching bad tv (I spent a few hours), avoid the housework, list it all out, cry if you can (I’ve finally been able to cry a little).

And then, just like all parties, your pity party must end. Pray, meditate, exercise, seek a doctor if that is what you need. Realize that this is something you must recognize and then you are able to look towards the future. 

9 Comments

  1. Mrs.AOK on April 11, 2015 at 11:30 am

    EVERYONE needs to read this! I try to keep my pity parties to a minimal, but they do happen. Sometimes, I feel guilty for having them and sometimes I don’t.
    I’m always trying to remind myself you have it better than many, so why complain. However, I’m human, I should allow myself to feel human, right?
    You certainly deserve it, Sheryl! Let it all out…
    Sending you virtual hugs. —O—
    XOXO

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on April 11, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      Thanks Lady. We need to stop feeling bad about having our own pity parties (of course, if it’s happening every week – that’s another subject.) Sometimes life just isn’t great and we need to take a minute and acknowledge it. Then we get to move forward, more likely feeling much better. Feeling those hugs!! XOXO

  2. Kasey Decker on April 11, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    this is absolutely something that everyone needs to hear. I just recently figured it out on my own + it has quite honestly made all the difference. I had my little pity party, I blogged about my funk in case someone else needed to know they weren’t alone, + honestly now I so much better. I’m not out of it, by any means, but I know there’s an end + I know I can make it through.

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on April 11, 2015 at 4:49 pm

      Kasey, I’m so glad you’ve had your own pity party.. Sometimes we simply need to acknowledge how we are feeling rather than deny and act as if everything is ok. Yes, there is an end and you can make it!! Thanks for stopping by – so glad you are here.

  3. Liz Kelly on April 11, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    I just came across your site (from Kasey Decker’s) and I must say I’m glad I found it. I really need to focus on self care and I can already tell your blog is going to be helpful. Thank you!

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on April 11, 2015 at 4:47 pm

      Thank You Liz, I’m so glad you are here. I specifically write about self care every Saturday but the truth is, I try to always mention it in my posts. I hope you find things that are helpful here.

  4. Ashley | StyleOnHigh on April 12, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    I thought this post was really wonderful. I’m sorry for everything you’re going through but appreciate that you shared it. I think it’s such helpful information. Cheering you on! xx

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on April 12, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      Thank You Ashley. Things are truly much better than they were a year ago; however there are always moments. I’m so glad you stopped by!

  5. Laie Cariño Campilla on April 12, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    I admire your strength for talking or writing something like this and helping other people out, even when you are going through the same. It’s hard. Sometimes I’m selfish when I feel bad. But you have a big heart. Thank you for sharing! And know that there’s HOPE (Hold On, Pain Ends) *big hug for you*

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