Most of us know someone who seems to like to “wallow,” and usually in suffering. Maybe they’re sick, in pain or grieving. Whatever the source, they can’t leave the muck. They can spin out on it for weeks, months and yes, even for years.
I get it. Wallowing serves a function.
It’s a way we can avoid accepting what’s happened. Maybe we’ve suffered a loss. Maybe that loss is not a death but loss of mobility. Of the life we’ve had. Of financial security.
Does it seem strange to consider wallowing comfortable? Because in its discomfort, it can be comfortable.
What’s UNcomfortable is accepting our loss.
Loss is hard to accept
I’ve seen with clients. But I’ve also seen it in myself.
I’ve spent my own time wallowing and at times have had to make a concerted effort not to wallow, especially in grief. After my soulmate dog, Riley, died, I was in pretty rough shape. I wallowed in my grief, even though it was painful. I felt a little like I was going crazy. So I made an appointment with a therapist.
The week before I saw her, I went to Yosemite and something miraculous happened: I felt better. I still grieve his loss, but I stopped wallowing. I wrote about it here.
Grief: the bigger picture
But then I realized something: my grief was not only for Riley. It was for every loss I’ve suffered and failed to grieve for. I realized I couldn’t avoid grieving those loss any longer. So I kept my appointment.
Therapists have been helpful to me throughout my life. But here’s the truth: Connecting with a new therapist can be difficult and is one reason that people hesitate. No one really wants to go through their story again.
Miraculously, though, I found a therapist who spoke my language. I even managed to give her a meaty outline of my story and although I was all over the place, she tracked with me the whole time. What was even better is that she participated, with comments on my insights, adding insights of her own. And support.
Moving forward after loss is hard. Yet I knew I couldn’t wallow much longer. I had to be functional for my work, for my clients. I wanted relief from my pain and I knew I had to feel more of it to get there. I don’t expect a straight line of improvement. I know grief isn’t linear. So I’ll continue with therapy for a while.
Wallowing is part of grief. But we don’t have to stay there.
When it’s time to move forward, there are steps we can take to get out of the mire, yet still honor our loss.
I’m sure I’ll write more about this as my journey continues.
Don’t forget our helpful products for grief. Yes, I am now my own customer.