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Grief has been looking over my shoulder for a long time now. At age 19 I suffered the loss of two people whom I loved dearly within seven months of each other. Lines from a diary I kept at the time describe how ‘I am full of emotions that I do not understand’; ‘my moods are very variable, one worse than the next’; ‘I sometimes wish I could die’; ‘I feel so lonely’; ‘I seem to be able to handle things for a while but after a certain amount of time I feel like exploding’. I felt as though I was being selfish having these strong emotions months after the bereavements. Writing gave me an outlet to express myself (as in the poem above) without having to burden others. I did not know it then but all those feelings were normal. Grief is a very individual experience and does not travel on any one particular course. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.

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The reason I have decided to write this now and not last year or next year, is because I feel strong emotionally and mentally now – and I credit this to being sober. // Post natal depression followed along with trying 4 to 5 different types of antidepressants to see which “worked” best, I decided in the fog of being a new-antidepressant-taking-mom with racing hormones, that it might be an even better idea if I drink alcohol to self-medicate.

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