Sharing Raw Loss

Friday, 6 July 2018

I share, I believe, quite openly about my losses. I also believe that words very much have a sort of healing power, and ridding yourself of them can be therapeutic. However, sharing raw loss, sharing thoughts and feelings so soon after a loss, I believe, can have a detrimental effect. 

In the first weeks after I lose Ezra I wrote a lot. I wrote constantly. It was a way for me to get down in black and white what I was feeling, to get it out of myself and launch it into the world, but it was less about into the world and more about out of me. I had thoughts and I had feelings and experiences that I didn’t want to have, and by putting it down I could see what was going on and I work out what it was I was feeling and fuck it off. I could stop thinking about that particular thing because by the time I’d worked through it enough to write coherently about it it was done with.

I did not get a huge amount of responses to these things and, in all honesty, responses were not what I wanted. Responses and interaction and understanding were not what I wanted. I wanted relief. 

This is where I feel the world of instagram may, in some ways, do more harm than good. I would like to make clear, however, that this depends on the person, it depends on what they aim to get from things and on their ability to see clearly. Instagram is all about validation, we post photographs and are rewarded with likes, we add captions and are rewarded with comments. We, as more “serious” users I suppose, know how to use this cause and effect and know how to use it to our advantage. We, with clearer heads, know when we are being pandered to and know when we are being unreasonable.
When loss is new our thoughts and our feelings are erratic, we flit from feeling to feeling, most due to their proximity to tragedy are unreasonable. Anger, I believe, is the most damaging. Now, do not get me wrong, anger is normal. It is normal to be unreasonably angry at yourself, at your family, at children and pregnant women, and that’s fine. The problem begins when this unreasonable anger is validated and thus extended. 

I’ve seen it manifest in attacking others who have fallen pregnant, attacking others whose losses are different (and subjectively worse) than you own get ‘more sympathy’, in bitching and unfollowing and an overall inability to be fucking chill.

Pregnancy loss is tough, the loss of a child is super tough. The responses to it, shock, anger, sadness, are all the most normal, basic human reactions, but rather than pander to these feelings until the end of time, I believe that there is a point we need to  start helping our friends put their big girl knickers on. Personally, I’m not sure when that is, or when that should be, but as a general rule when those feelings start to hurt other people I believe we need to step in.

We go through these things and yet we have to work through them in order to progress. If our anger is validated at every turn then we will never truly surpass it. We will continue on with this anger in the back of our minds and with this anger that we think is fine. 

I have anger. Of course I have anger. However, I feel like the time I had away from social media after my losses, though it wasn't a particularly long time, a month maybe, or two, allowed me to work through the blinding rage. People around me did not big me up every time I made a complaint, instead they listened and empathised.

When we see people sharing their losses, and their losses are raw, they're angry at one person, or a whole group of people, I think, I suggest, rather than big them up we ought to simply say "yeah, I know, it's tough". The kind of anger I've seen is not just anger, which is why I write this, it's anger that has hurt others. It's intentional, and it's unnecessary and, in a way, I think we sometimes perpetuate it more than put it out. 

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