Whenever I find myself in an unfamiliar or unwelcome situation, I typically wonder what others have done in similar circumstances. Even though I know we all have different personalities, backgrounds, values, and temperaments, it still feels comforting to know I can't be the first person in the history of earth to ever encounter my current dilemma.
It's just in my nature to research strategies, whether it relates to more mundane topics (recipes, personal interests, technology challenges, etc.) or to navigating serious or even traumatic life changes. I always end up asking myself, "What do other people do in situations like this?"
This is partly the reason for so many support groups; not only is it validating to be in the company of others who have walked in our shoes, but it's also useful to learn others' ideas and to share our own. We each get to consider possibilities and to figure out what might work for us, what likely won't, and what we may want to adapt to suit our particular needs.
I strongly believe there is value in our sense of community, which is why I reached out to you in last month's survey. But you don't have to wait for another questionnaire to be a part of a healing network. Here are some ideas for easing your sense of isolation.
1. Each of my original newsletter articles is later posted on my blog at http://www.griefhelper.com/blog. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts and insights there; it would be wonderful to discuss common aspects of our experiences and spark further dialog.
2. Another way to join the conversation is on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RuthEFieldMSWLCSW. I share articles there from various sources, so it would be great to know your thoughts on any of these. You can either "like" the page and get the articles directly or just check in whenever you choose. There is always a Facebook button to click on the left side of each newsletter.
3. You can send me an email at ruthfield@GriefHelper.com. This is a great option for requesting articles on certain topics or letting me know about themes you'd like to see addressed in future newsletters.
Keep in mind that posts on social media and blog replies are public conversations. Even unencrypted email is not considered a confidential medium these days, although I do my best on my end to protect your privacy. So while discussing our human responses to loss, please be careful to avoid posting very personal details or anything you wouldn't want to see on the front page of your daily news feed.
4. Reach out to friends and family with whom you feel a supportive connection. There's an unspoken "sense" that we feel from certain individuals. Those people who listen without judging, minimizing, or trying to rush in and fix our problems are true gifts in our lives. Spend time with those who can simply be a companion on your journey.
5. Consider finding a support group. While they're not for everyone all the time, a support group can be a wonderful way to reduce loneliness and exchange coping tips. Identify your main challenge and see if there's a group for that (some meet online and some are in-person). See the article below for information on my Spring Bereavement Support Group.
I don't consider myself to be the authority on the right way to navigate life transitions. I believe each of us is the expert on ourselves, and I'm here to help you discover what works for you. So your post about a particular strategy, idea, or understanding may be just what someone else needs to read. I never intended this newsletter to be only a one-way communication. I hope it provides useful ideas that prompt more of your own, thereby moving you forward on your journey. And when you share your thoughts, it enriches us all.
Essays on Grief Resilience