Reaching Out During Times of Stress, Divorce, or Grief

Whether you have been good at asking for help in the past, or not, now is the time to reach out.  When you experience a loss through death, the dissolution of a relationship, or transformation, grief engenders two primal desires.  One seeks solitude to nurse the wounds, while the other asks for company, someone to bear witness to the pain.

How is it that such seemingly contradictory desires bring solace? Each offers a different way to vent and heal. When alone, you can be completely uninhibited. Paradoxically, with a witness you connect even though you’re suffering from a searing disconnection.

As always, the number one imperative is giving yourself a cosmic permission slip to feel your feelings. Then, seek solitude, or companionship, whatever seems right in the moment. Grief is a consummate shape-shifter.  One day you crave company and the next shun it. Allow yourself to vacillate, depending on your mood.

If you have always been the independent sort, it can be incredibly hard to ask for help.  Perhaps, you were typically the giver, and secretly thought it weak to ask for help. You couldn’t be more mistaken. It takes strength to show your vulnerability. But habit is not your only roadblock, the ego is a bit of a tyrant and can also get in the way, especially if it thinks it’s being demoted. It is. Your psyche and soul get first place in this pas de deux with grief. Let the ego gain gratification from recognizing how courageous it is to do what you fear: picking up the phone and asking for what you want.

There is always someone with whom you can speak. If it’s 3:00AM you can call Crisis Services (or your local hotline).  Try logging on to Yahoo Groups and take advantage of a virtual support community, they are available 24/7.  If you have a bit more time, find a local group that deals with your particular loss.  Call a therapist ( is a wonderful non-pathologizing resource). The crucial thing is connecting to someone compassionate.

This may sound obvious, but consciously choose people who will listen and be supportive. Now is not the time to consort with challenging friends or family. The last thing you need is to feel defensive about your process. Remember, there’s no right way to go through a crisis. There’s only your way, and you create it one breath at a time.

Copyright Nicole S. Urdang

Nicole Urdang

Nicole S. Urdang, M.S., NCC, DHM is a Holistic Psychotherapist in Buffalo, NY. She holds a New York state license in mental health counseling and a doctorate in homeopathic medicine from the British Institute of Homeopathy.