My Grief Cycle

For a long time, I didn't process my breakup as grief, but when I did, as much as I felt like it was an overreaction, it helped me recognise my own emotions. It wasn't just grief over loosing someone I loved, but also grief over loosing the future life I had planned. In my first counselling session, my counsellor discussed the grief cycle. I last looked at this in my own undergraduate studies, but I hadn't applied it to myself and it was interesting to look at it as a way to frame my emotions. 

As with many cyclic models relating to psychology, there is no typical response and although it is a process, it's not as simplified as the initial model represents. Instead an individual can go through all the stages multiple times, back and forth, across and diagonally. At times, I maybe felt all of the stages at once and as hard as it is in the moment, being able to reflect on that I've found incredibly beneficial. 

I think for a long time at the beginning, I was in denial about everything. I forced myself to continue normal life to protect myself, when in reality I should have appreciated the emotions and taken them face on. I found myself trying to look back on the relationship and try to change what had happened. I overthought everything I said and relived the conversations over and over again. I felt like because we didn’t both try to work on the relationship equally, there was no way it could be over forever. I just want that second chance, for both give it our all to see if it could work. I felt, and in a way still feel, like I couldn’t move on until I knew for sure it wasn't going to be successful.

I bargained with myself and with him. I made promises to change certain aspects and be more accepting of the lifestyle choices I originally disagreed with, hoping for reconciliation. Motorbikes was a big topic of debate, alongside prioritising each other and planning life together. There was obviously reasons why I broke up with him in the first place, but I was in a headspace where I could no longer see them. Instead I looked back and remembered a life was pretty perfect. I loved coming home from work and having you in the kitchen cooking me tea. I loved reaching over in the middle of the night and holding your hand as I fall back to sleep. I loved the morning kiss as you would say goodbye and I would watch toy leave with the biggest sleepy smile on my face. 

Anger was the one stage I initially felt like I hadn't gone through, but then when I delved into it on a deeper level, there was a lot of anger that I pushed to one side and held back. Of course, I wanted him to be happy and at the end of the day, I love him as a person and I hope that one day, he finds a person who loves him equally. However, I am incredibly angry at him for finding it so easy to move on. For seemingly having it all together and not being upset, whilst I'm struggling and falling apart the majority of the time.

He tried to be there for me, but I was so angry that in those moments of incredible pain and torture he didn’t want to cuddle me and kiss me and hold me which is how I felt I needed to be saved in those lowest points. When I needed him, he refused to drop everything and prioritised cleaning his house or visiting his mum. To me, I felt if he ever loved me, he should have dropped everything to rescue me. I guess I compared it to myself when I dropped things and cancelled plans and changed work shifts in order to be present for a friend...a relatively new friend who was struggling. I couldn't understand how he didn't feel the same pain.  

The depression stage was obvious. I had an immense amount of sadness and heartbreak. I felt completely and utterly broken. I didn't recognise the person I was anymore. I felt emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted. I had no energy to do anything and I lacked enjoyment with life. I spent my life constantly thinking about him, us and the the future we’d planned for us together. I isolated myself, stayed home and just didn't make plans. I told myself it was because I was having renovation work and on call around builders, but it was just an excuse. I would sob constantly, to the point where I struggled to catch my breath. Life was hard. 

The week after my first session, was the week that I finally felt like one day, perhaps I will actually be okay...9 months after we originally broke up but just a couple of weeks after we said our goodbye forever. The complete cut forced me to realise that he really didn't care about me anymore. He was gone and I had no choice, but to move on. I finally accepted the truth he was trying to tell me all along, the truth that I refused to believe. 

I sometimes think I told myself I accepted it as a way to force myself to more forward. I’d given myself space to grieve and it was time to take those small steps to progress through this new stage of life. I think it helped that it was also a very busy week with 2 days, 3 nights, a sleep day and a day of cleaning. Mind over matter.