Filling the Hole in Your Heart

Purple rose quote

There are times in which the people we think love us really don’t. Instead, they break our hearts in a number of ways.

We forget to love ourselves. We forget that we are worth love and even in a world that values relationships and marriage, we forget that it’s okay to be single.

I’m not single, but I would be okay if I were. Taking time to work on yourself may require you being single. Sometimes it doesn’t.

The love that you have for yourself can make up for the love that others don’t have or show for you. It hurts. It’s not pretty to realize that people that you love may not love you back or even in the way you want them to.

This missing love can leave a bit of a hole, an emptiness in your heart. Fill it with happiness, good times and love. This will carry you through the harder times.

The Words Left Unsaid

Regret is a terrible thing. I’ve lived with it and even with therapy, the feelings stick.

You can work through the feelings, but the situation itself remains.

Hands

So Close But Yet So Far

What hurts the most

Is being so close

Having so much to say

And watching you walk away” –

What Hurts the Most”, Rascal Flatts

It can be difficult to express your feelings with someone that you care about, for a variety of reasons. Fear is a beast that can keep you from doing what you need to the most.

What if I say how I really feel?

Does this change everything?

Will he/she freak out?

The closer you get to say these things, the bigger the questions get.

The Words Left Behind

I wanted so badly to tell Jake that I loved him, along with years’ worth of other things. “I love you” just happened to be at the top of the list.

I just didn’t. I was afraid.

I knew he cared a lot about me- but love? I couldn’t tell. He wasn’t a fan of commitment and I was aware that he had other women in his life, so I really struggled with the idea of saying this.

Things were about to change between us as it was- when he died, I was a week from filing for a divorce. I didn’t know what would happen next, but I was worried that putting too much on him emotionally would push him away.

We hung out a week before his death and there was one moment that I felt it was finally okay, and for some reason, I told myself, “Nah, next time. This isn’t it.”

There wasn’t a next time.

The next time I saw Jake besides work was his visitation.

Sad

Dealing With the Leftovers

I realized that I wouldn’t be able to tell him how I felt. This crushed me. I would never know how he really felt about me.

While sitting with Jordan at the visitation, I asked him if he thought Jake died knowing how much I cared about him.

“I think he knew. He really cared about you.”

Jordan has no idea how much that has helped heal my heart. I had a hard time figuring out how Jake truly felt about me sometimes and this has always stayed in my heart.

His words helped me come to terms with not fully knowing how Jake felt about me, along with therapy.

But how would I deal with what I didn’t get to say?

I wrote.

Of course. It’s the main way I deal with things.

I wrote in an online journal, in a letter from, like I was talking to Jake as I wrote. This helped immensely through my grief process.

Letting Go of the Words

How do you let go of the things you don’t get to say?

A few tips:

  • Just say it. Saying three small words would have saved me a lot of heartbreak. I could have gotten hurt afterward but at least I wouldn’t have the regret. I’ve often said on social media to not hold back and say how you feel.
  • Don’t hold it inside. If something happens and you are truly unable to tell the person what you need to, don’t hang onto it. This might set you up for emotional distress.
  • Write a letter and then destroy it. This can help you get the feelings and thoughts out, then you can let them go (safely)
  • Talk to someone. Verbally expressing your feelings can be extremely helpful, whether this is a friend, family member or even a therapist.
  • Distract. Sometimes our brains like to mess with us – either with “what-if” thoughts or replaying the situation repeatedly. Finding a good distraction, like music, cleaning, or even a funny movie can help.

We can’t fully avoid things we regret, as much as we would like to. We can, however, try our best to deal with it in a healthy way. This can also help with words left unsaid.

Men and Mental Health

As kids, most boys were told not to cry. They were told to be tough, to be “real men”, and those men didn’t cry and show emotions. They hid their feelings, no matter the cost.

This piece of advice has had terrible consequences, leading to high substance abuse rates, violence against women and children (among others) and other issues. When you can’t let out your feelings in a healthy way, it tends to come out badly. It also leads to higher rates of depression, anxiety and lack of self-care.

Why Men Don’t Seek Help

Everyone needs to take care of themselves, physically and mentally. This is a well-known fact. Men have a harder time acknowledging this because of the stigma they face in doing so. This will be covered in a later post, so stay tuned, but here are a few examples of what many men fear when going for help:

  • Being labeled as “weak”, “sick”, or any number of labels.
  • Having to be vulnerable. I can say from personal experience that starting therapy is rough. You are opening up with some of your worst demons to someone you just met..many men (and women) are not having it.
  • Being judged by those who know that they are getting help.

This information is in The Stigma of Mental Illness

Untreated mental illness can also lead to suicide, which has a higher rate in men, and men usually use more lethal means.

This fact breaks my heart each time I read it. Suicide in itself is heartbreaking and has far-reaching consequences.

As a mom, I’m teaching my kids that it’s okay to cry. My sons know it’s okay to have emotions. In light of numerous teen suicides in the news and those that I have lost to suicide personally, I feel a huge responsibility to watch out for my kids’ mental health. It’s HARD to be a kid these days.

Cameron started taking daily naps when he started middle school, and at first, I thought it was a phase. Then I worried about his heart because his SVT is pretty severe and can tire him out easily.

He told me that he felt fine, that school was just tiring him out. My next question was if anything was bothering him, and thankfully, he said no. Cameron is a pretty chill kid, but you never know.

Julian is pretty quiet, but he knows where Mom is if he needs to talk. So does Lily, but she is NOT the quiet type. The point of this is, please talk to your kids, no matter how rough it may be. Just check in.

What can we do for the men in our lives?

  • Check in with them. Especially if something major has happened to them recently- a death in the family, job loss, etc.
  • Be gentle. Most men facing a mental health issue don’t want to be forced into talking. Matthew’s parents divorced a few years ago, and there was a lot of drama involved. He’s not a huge talker, so I had to let him talk about it at his own pace.
  • Encourage him through whatever he does, if anything. If he decides to seek help, he needs to know you’re behind him 100%.

Of course, if things are going downhill quickly, please seek immediate help. You can go to the nearest ER or call 911.
Resources:

AFSP

Psychology Today

NAMI

Humor Helps the Pain

Everyone has their own defense mechanisms- ways of dealing with things that they may not like or want to push to the side. These mechanisms keep us from having to deal with unpleasant feelings like sadness, anger, confusion, etc.

Trying to Shift the Hurt

Humor can be a defense mechanism for many of us. I am guilty of this. I use humor, mainly sarcasm, a lot, to cover up for when I am sad, hurt or feeling otherwise not so great. I may not want to face how I am feeling at the moment. I may not want to show the person that might have hurt my feelings that they did so. I’m not the best at doing this. I tend to feel guilty- it comes from my past with Matthew.

He would get angry when I would even show a hint of being upset at anything he said or did that would upset even the hardest of women. I learned to hide it all, at the expense of my mental health.

I didn’t laugh my way through being emotionally abused, because that’s impossible, but there are other facial expressions for it. It became a regular thing to hide my sadness, pain or being offended. This is still present for me. I don’t think it will ever fade. Even if I had left, this would linger.

Using humor allows me to remain the funny person that everyone knows me to be and not fall into the deep hole of depression that I desperately want to stay out of.

It doesn’t take a lot sometimes, and there are times that I don’t know what will bring me out of it. It lets me keep going when I might just stop otherwise. If I stop and start crying, when would I stop? This question does not have an easy answer.

In the Spotlight

Many comedians/comediennes began using humor to cope as kids due to tragedies and/or bad childhoods. Making other people laugh helped them feel better plus it was a great distraction for them from whatever they had going on in their lives.

Some comedians also have mental health issues and this helps them cope, for example, the late Robin Williams. I was sincerely crushed by his death. I still get sad watching “Aladdin” and “Mrs. Doubtfire”.

I didn’t have the best or worst childhood, but genetically, I hit the jackpot when it comes to humor. I have two older sisters, and I’m the funniest out of the three of us. My mother is hilarious and so was my grandfather. My dad lacks a sense of humor- he’s a bit like Eeyore from “Winnie the Pooh”.

I’m not sure when my sarcasm blossomed, but it’s been around as long as I remember. Cameron has picked up on it, and even though he was a little late, so has Julian. Dry humor is his thing. Their childhoods have been miles better than mine so they’re just funny because they can be.

There is a reason we like to watch funny movies or YouTube videos when we are sad- it takes our minds off whatever it is that’s bothering us. We need a distraction.

I have watched “Horrible Bosses” countless times because it’s funny and I know almost all of the lines. I also know that Charlie Day uses the Epi-Pen incorrectly but yet it’s still comedic. I still yell “OMG THAT’S NOT HOW YOU USE IT!” at the screen each time I see it. (I’m First Aid trained, and while I have never had to use an Epi-Pen, I hope I never have to.)

Laughing makes us feel better, even if it’s only for the length of a movie, song or 6-minute video. The phrase “Laughter is the best medicine” is true. It can truly lift your spirits.

How do you get a laugh when you are sad? Do you use defense mechanisms? How do you try to not use them?

The Day Before

*Trigger warning: this post discusses suicide. Please read with this in mind.*

I wrote about “A Million Little Things” when it premiered and thanks to the 1/24/19 episode, it gets another blog post.

This episode discusses the day before John, the main character, completes suicide. His death baffles everyone around him. In the episode, he gets into an argument with one of his friends, Gary and promises his wife, Delilah, that they will have a long-needed talk.

John was freaked out about finances. The walls were closing in on him financially. He told his assistant, Ashley, to take the night off.

I’ll stop there with the spoilers, in case you want to catch up on the episode.

“Call Me Blind/But I Didn’t See it Coming”- P.O.D.

August 31, 2015, was my day before. I went to work at the job I loved- a mental health associate at a mental health facility. I worked on a unit for kids with autism and other developmental disabilities. I was days away from filing for divorce – Matthew and I were barely on speaking terms. Jake had been a bit quieter than usual, but I thought maybe he was just in a depressive episode.

Many people who knew about us have asked if I saw any signs, but I didn’t. I could see many things just by looking into Jake’s eyes. This wasn’t one of them. If I had even thought of him taking his own life, I would have done anything to stop it. It beats the hell out of losing him.

Jake and I texted like usual until he went to bed. He worked third shift and didn’t go to sleep before about 9 am. We made plans to hang out in a few days when our schedules would match up- I didn’t know then that those plans would never go through. I meant to text him later that day, but I got busy after work.

Early the next morning, September 1, 2015, I sent him a picture of Tails. He had blue ink all over him from Cameron picking him up the night before after a pen bled all over his hands. His very last text to me read: “Poor Tails”. He was still awake after not being able to sleep the night before. I had texted him on my way to work.

That was it.

Jake died later that day.

The Worst Phone Call

I’ll never forget the pain in Josh’s voice when he told me about Jake’s death. It is one of the worst phone calls I’ve ever had.

The aftermath of losing someone to suicide is.. shattering. It’s one of the few words I have been able to find to accurately describe how Jake’s loss affected me. This kind of loss will make you question a lot of things– I questioned who my friends really were, my strength and of course, my marriage.

Living without Jake has been difficult- but I am here, living the life he made me strong enough to live and having finished the work he started in 2013. I hope so much that he is proud of me, from wherever his caring spirit is.

There is a post about the day after, and you can find it here

Today’s PSA: If you love someone, tell them. You may lose that chance. The regret is hard to live with.

Pics courtesy of Pinterest

Resources:

AFSP