Grieving My Own Death

Updated: Jul 29

Discussing grief and the natural cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

Here I am, sitting outside on the white lawn chair with my pit bull named Ladybug laying by my side. Overhead I hear birds chirping, I hear cars and motorcycles driving along the highway, and next door I hear Led Zeppelin playing on the outdoor speakers. I sit with a homemade smoothie, Del Taco french fries, and 7 pills in my belly, 6 of which are steroids and 1 a Benadryl. Not the usually diet, but that is because I am forced to surrender as I initiate a deep shedding of my own skin and a grieving of my own death.

Not only am I currently struggling with a head-to-toe, hive-covered inflammatory reaction to God knows what and a stye that has been living rent free for almost 3 months under my left eye, I am now faced with a stubborn and extremely judgmental part of myself that compares her current self to a version in her past that no longer exists.

I feel as if I have been giving so much of myself lately but at the same time, I believe I could be doing even more. I believe I have been trying so hard to make ends meet. I believe I have been putting in so much work to only be left dissatisfied (and clearly impatient). I also believe I have been holding on to a part of myself that I am not ready to accept is gone. A part of myself that appeared to "have it all together" or "is doing really well for herself" on the surface because she was making a lot of money and she had stacks in her savings account. A part of myself that overall did not have much to worry about (at that time and so it seemed on the surface).

Now, I am an author trying real hard to get my book out to the public and make a career amidst the author world. My psychological thriller/ horror/ self-help fiction novel called The Maze: Her Rude Awakening is doing pretty well! But as a new author, it is a bit challenging to find comfort in making a living off of my one, individual book (so far). The money I am making now compared to the money I was making then is quite... how do I put it... stack-less.

I'm well aware that it is unhelpful for me to ruminate on the past and "what could have been," but when the intrusive thoughts and self-critic voices arise, they are loud, taunting, and make me feel like if I don't listen to them or do something about it right this second, something absolutely catastrophic will happen.

Comparing my current reality to a past version of myself greatly influences my cognitive function and my nervous system to operate in an anxious state. Remembering the past of my marvelous serving job and impressive income also means remembering the time when anxiety and fear infiltrated my life. It was the time in my life when #OCD onset and turned my reality upside down.

To clarify, this post is not to talk about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (that'll be saved for another post.) But I did want to mention that this onset of OCD dramatically changed my life. Because of OCD, I lost my job. Because of OCD, valuable relationships of mine had died. Because of OCD, my entire identity and perception of life shattered and I felt absolutely hopeless and out of control. When I reflect on what changed in my life after my rapid decline of my mental health, I notice a part of me that still activates; a part of me that is still carrying the heavy load of shame, guilt, anxiety, fear, and as of more recently, grief.

I have first-hand experience when it comes to grief. I was initiated to grief when I lost my father unexpectedly in 2018, and while losing a loved one is an excruciating feeling, grief, whether it be consciously or subconsciously, can also manifest from a past version of yourself that no longer lives. Perhaps a version of yourself that you perceived to "have it all together" or was "doing good".

What does "doing good" even mean? Does it mean making a lot of money? Does it mean upholding society's standards of staying on top of that grind and trying our hardest to make the money we need to support us and our family? Does it mean that even though I'm struggling on the inside, on the outside I appear to be doing well, so therefore I am? Is "doing good" or "doing bad" a state of doing or is it really a belief that we unconsciously hold on ourself?

Was I truly doing well 1-2 years ago like I believe I was? Well financially, I would say most definitely. I could have rolled in cash back then if I wanted to. Was I doing well physically? Kind of, because while I was much more active with yoga, aerial, and being active as a server at a restaurant in general, I still was not moderating my alcohol intake and I was drinking almost regularly. (This is not to say if you drink regularly then you are "bad" but for me personally, drinking everyday is not something I align with, therefore living out of touch with my values was not serving me, which leads me to my next question.) Was I doing well spiritually? Absolutely not. I was simply existing on the surface of life with little to no depth, despite what my ego believed. How about mentally and emotionally? Again, I was unconscious to my wounds and my programming, so I had not yet understood the impact these factors had upon me during that time in my life. I was simply grazing along, unaware, disassociated, and unintentionally self-sabotaging and engaging in unhelpful coping mechanisms that no longer serve me. So no, I guess I would say I was not, even though on the outside, it appeared different.

This is also to not bypass my old self and to not give grace to past Alex. She was only doing the best she could with what she knew at that time. While I still notice an immense amount of resistance to fully accept who I was then and who I am now, I am confident that grieving the death of a version once lived and unconditional self-acceptance for the then, now, and the unknown future is a gateway to a deeper awakening and a more fulfilling life.

I believe in the natural cycle of life, death, and rebirth. A cycle demonstrated by nature every time we step outside. A cycle created by the Holy Spirit that if and when we can surrender to its natural process, then and only then can we begin to open our next chapter. It is a cycle that doesn't have to equal a physical death or a painful break-up with a partner or friendship. It can also be a cycle of releasing an old version of self while learning to embrace this new, unfamiliar, state of the art Alex.

I am learning to let go of a version of myself that while I miss dearly, I know no longer serves me. I am learning to rewire my brain and disengage with my limiting beliefs around money. I am learning to regulate my nervous system still while also giving myself compassion. I am learning how to surrender to what is, in this very moment, instead of comparing to what was. I am learning to release coping mechanisms that no longer support me. I am learning to let go of who I think I "should" be or where I think I "should" be and instead embrace who I am today.

If you find yourself in a dance with grief, I encourage you to take the knowledge it has to share with you and trust that you are not alone.

Here I am, my vessel covered in hives and my left eyeball swollen, grieving a part of myself that no longer lives. What a shattering, yet beautifully remarkable experience.

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