Being alone and grieving is different than being alone in your grief. How do you know the difference? Determining when being alone during a period of grief is healthy or harmful is important.
Humans were made for connection. Introverts tend to recharge from that alone time while extroverts traditionally recharge from being around people. Everyone recharges from connection. How you connect may look different based on your personality or what you value in life. Everyone longs for that connection. To know that you are not alone in the world is a significant factor in your mental health and what grief looks like for you. You may like to be alone but nobody wants to be alone in their grief.
Grieving and Alone Vs. Alone in Grief
Have you ever felt like just being alone? You don’t feel like talking to anyone, you don’t want anyone to see you in this state of grief. You just want to be left alone. So what is the difference and when is it healthy to desire alone time while you grieve?
I will break down how to decipher when it is healthy to be alone while grieving or when it is harmful.
First we will start with what to look for that may be harmful to your healing and how to spot it.
- Are you feeling like nobody understands you? Does it seem that you are the only one in the world who knows your pain, so you decide you will just keep it to yourself because “nobody understands”?
- Has the feeling of hopelessness crossed your mind. Do you feel as though your grief is so deep that nobody or nothing could recover it from the depths. So you sit at home in the dark because there is no way out.
- Negative thoughts keep circling in your head. You are upset with yourself. You feel as though you have failed and toxic shame starts to tell you that you are no good. Is your inner critic’s voice not able to find anything that is positive or anyone who can support you?
- Are you finding yourself wanting to stay at home alone and isolate yourself while using various vices to manage your pain? Have you made excuses to be alone to grieve so that you can have your drinks or food or even media to an excess?
Alone in Grief
If you can identify with any of the examples above you may be feeling alone in your grief. Isolation is the breeding ground for addiction and mental health issues. If you are finding yourself wanting to be alone because any of the above reasons it may be time to get some help. There are so many great virtual therapy apps and grief support programs. Connect with people. Even when it feels like nobody understands you I assure you there are people that do.
Now let’s take a look at what it looks like to want to be alone while grieving in a healthy way.
- If you are feeling overwhelmed with life. Everything is going a million miles an hour around you. Night and day has been full of memorial planning and funeral arrangements. You are grieving and you just want to be alone for an evening.
- You’ve lost a loved one and you are the tower of strength in the family. You are holding it all together for everyone. You are the shoulder to cry on. Some forget you are grieving too and you just want some time alone to let the grief flow.
- Dinners and phone calls. Funeral arrangements and sympathy cards. So much has been going on that you haven’t had a chance to relax and let go of your thoughts. All you want to do is grieve alone and binge a couple hours of netflix.
- Your nails are chipped, your hair is an amazing messy bun piled on top of your head. It looks as if you haven’t slept in days. Your friend wants to go to the mall with you. All you want is to go get your nails done, alone.
If anything above feels familiar it’s likely it is a perfectly healthy time to tell everyone to “leave me alone”, nice of course. Sometimes we just need to be alone. When you are grieving it is ok to reflect and be alone. As long as you stay connected with your support team, take that alone time.