“Grief”, according to wikipedia, is defined as “a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something that has died, to which a bond or affection was formed”. But what about the living? Grief does not have to be defined or limited just to someone that has died. Can’t you grieve a break-up, for example, or the loss of something non-living that you had a deep attachment to, such as a job, or position of responsibility? Of course, you can. These are major life changes, and often times they come to us unexpectedly.
You might be wondering why I want to discuss this. Well, as an INTP I handle my emotions differently than most other personality types being that our Fe (function type) is the last to develop. So how we handle grief and how we keep it from devouring us into a deep depression is incredibly vital. Because it WILL ambush us.
I know exactly when it was when I discovered that I was totally different in how I processed grief. I had never cried at funerals before, but that didn’t really register. I get it. Sometimes you save it for the ones you truly love. But what happens when the only man you ever loved walks out of your life? What then? How about when someone takes your daughter away, along with all of your belongings? How will you feel then? Me? I was still totally devoid of feeling; that’s when I knew. I was in an emotional coma, detached from my own body, and living just to exist. It wasn’t until a year later that I decided that I would not run from it any longer. I had no choice but to feel and make sense of it, or it would consume every ounce of life left in me. Me being an INTP, I logically had to implement a plan to help me deal with my delayed grief, seeing that I had skipped all of the normal steps in the grieving process.
Here is the plan that I implemented, in five easy steps:
- Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling in the moment. And WRITE IT DOWN. Whether it may be anger, sadness, or frustration, as INTPs, we need to logically process what it is that we’re feeling before we can let it go. Know it will pass.
- Keep yourself busy in mind-stimulating activities. Do not let the grief overcome you to the point that depression takes hold.
- Don’t let anybody tell you that there’s something wrong with you just because you didn’t grieve when they did. We normally skip all the usual steps of grief, but that doesn’t make us inhuman.
- Get closure. Otherwise, your mind will punish itself with what-ifs. Write a letter to yourself or the person, aka the cause of your grief, so that you can refer back to it when you find that the feelings are overtaking you.
- Lastly, and most importantly, it is easy and comfortable for us to run and hide from our emotions and feelings- DON’T. They will keep coming back to haunt you. Face them, accept them, process them, let go of them. You will find that you will grow emotionally.
Grief, as painful as it may be, especially when delayed, does not have to be a bad thing. It’s just our way of shedding our emotional skin- embracing the new and dispensing with the old.