Due to an unfortunate family emergency, I have been inactive for several weeks. Whilst it would be for the best to not go into great detail about the specific incident which occurred, I believe it is a good opportunity to write about grief.

Grief manifests itself in various forms, and is triggered by a whole number of various incidents, most commonly: Loss. This loss is generally the death of a loved one, but may also be a result of cutting ties with an individual such as during a break up, or even losing a job. Grief, as a general definition, is the feeling of distress caused by a negative occurrence, and is particularly devastating to those already suffering depression and other mental illness.

Personally, I am an individual who suffers from both depression and anxiety, with mild PTSD which stems from a similar incident to that which befell a close family member. Whilst myself and this family member were not emotionally close to one another, it was still devastating and left me feeling very hopeless, being so far away from my family at the time. The similarity of the incident to my own previous experiences also brought up a lot of unhappy memories and strong, negative emotions, which I myself did not realise were a result of my PTSD until my partner brought it up – I was so focused on my family member that I’d forgotten the very thing that was making it more difficult for myself.

Part of my grief also resulted in temptation to fall back on toxic coping mechanisms – drinking and smoking, with thoughts of self harm scattering my mind. However, you must understand that these methods do not aid coping with any emotions, rather they get you sucked into a vicious cycle of negativity and harmful behaviours. Alternatively, I opted to seek a friend out and discuss my feelings. The simple act of speaking out to people you can trust takes a great load of stress from your mind and eases you back into a happier reality, and allows the other person to be the voice of reason you may be lacking at this time.

Even now, two weeks on, I am still gently encouraging myself back to a normal reality. I know that I cannot force this, and must allow myself time to heal naturally, but at the same time I must also ensure I am not holding myself back any longer. I have returned to work and study as before, and have found it much easier to relax with many other distractions. And now, I can also focus on enjoying my time writing again.