Death can be very hard to process when it involves someone you love. Instead of confronting tragedy, some want to pretend it did not happen and live in denial to avoid having depression, anxiety, or insomnia. The death of a loved one cannot be ignored as we need to accept the present reality but still keep the memories of our loved ones alive.
People stay in denial when someone they love dies because in order to escape the brutal reality of what life will be like without that person there. Maybe they recognize that that person died but they do not want to deal with the devastating consequences. Being in denial becomes a problem when you are deliberately trying to avoid reality or escape your feelings. Examples include when you continue to speak of the recently deceased in the present tense as if they are still here, refusing to believe they died, saying they are just away on vacation, leaving their room exactly the way it is, staying busy to avoid thinking of that person, downplaying your relationship to that person so that they do not feel important to you, not talking about them, or resorting to drugs or alcohol to hide the pain of your loss. We need to acknowledge that as painful as death may be, it is a part of life and it is not healthy to pretend that nothing has changed.
The best way to break out of your denial is admit to yourself that the person you love has died but to keep them alive by keeping their memory alive in your thoughts. Acknowledge this truth and accept reality for what it is. Acknowledge that things are not fine and be honest of the painful feelings you are experiencing. Instead of running away from everything that reminds you of that person like people, places, and situations, confront them. This can involve visiting that person’s grave, smelling their favorite perfume or cologne, looking at pictures of them, listen to their favorite song, visit their favorite places, or take a look at their clothing. Instead of hiding in a room when you feel like you are about to cry, let others see how sad you are to show them that you care about the death of that person. If you have children, it will let them know that it is fine to embrace the sadness you feel.
Located in downtown Midland, The Springboard Center’s mission is to offer programs and services to treat alcohol and drug addiction treatment using an evidence based curriculum, 12 step programs, diet, nutrition, exercise, emotional, mental and spiritual development for a long recovery. For more information, please call us at 432-620-0255 as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.