When Devastation Strikes

Devastation is a really hard word that I don’t think should be applied to too many personal things BUT IT IS! If you research the history of the word, it was usually used when talking about weather disasters or in war. Some of the synonyms are destruction, desolation and wreckage.

I have personally used the word when referring to my own break-ups, deaths around me or upheavals in my world. But in hindsight, while I was feeling especially devastated as though an elephant sat directly in the middle of my chest, it was nothing compared to a village being flattened or some of these national disasters we’ve seen.

Preservation is the opposite of devastation although I don’t feel like the word is useful in present day. Of course prevention is better than trying to fix something after the fact, but our reality has become we all have to fix something that is pure devastation in our world now. Prevention was like some fleeting thought passed across a board room table in yesteryears. Please don’t mistake this as me not being a believer in prevention, I am …but the immediate needs of people are to fix things, to correct the devastation and just get to step one of survival.

But try telling any of that to someone who swears they are devastated. See, today I listened to a girl who said she felt so devastated by a break-up that she wanted to take her own life. I wish I could say this was an isolated incident because it would be nice to chalk that up as nonsense, but the reality is that she was sitting in the middle of her wreckage and felt as though she’d been crushed by a fleet of elephants. Ah see, devastation is in fact relative! To tell her that what she was feeling was not devastation would be diminishing her feelings and really not at all helpful, so suffice to say I left my history lesson off the table. :) I do however, hate to hear anyone crippled by their emotion because it soaks up valuable time where they can be out there being creative or building a cool life!

The one common thing that a person who is emotionally devastated will feel which is in alignment with the historical definition of devastation is the sense of loss, the overwhelming lack of direction, the crippling sense of numbness and quite often the talk of taking one’s own life. For these reasons and many others, I find people likening their break-ups to disasters because all the symptoms creep in.

So in all cases of devastation, how does a person even begin to take step number one to come up from the ashes? That is a novel of an answer, in fact it could be a whole library of afterthought along with it. In my own instances, all I could do is something called a reality check.

In every case where I have felt devastated whether real or imagined (very real to me in any case) was to ask myself "what just happened?" Before getting a grip on how to fix it, I sorta had to know what was broken. My mind is the Queen of Imagination. This works well for me sometimes and other times it’s an alternate reality I have made up.

Break-ups have always seemed like the death of me because I always invest more than my heart could take on. So, in the case of break-ups, I had to ask myself if that other person was really MY WHOLE WORLD like the love songs suggest, or if they were perhaps just a person along my path at that time, at that place in my life. Then I could really ask myself, is this devastation or really just a crappy hurdle?

In looking back it was a hurdle, nothing more. At the time, I was crushed.

My reality check when I lost my mother was the worst hurdle in my life because I considered her to be my whole world. But here is where I may come off insensitive but I don’t mean to be. My Mother’s death hurt like nothing I could ever have imagined, but the lesson I learned was that she left a piece of her with me to move on and do things…to involve myself in the bigger picture and seek out my purpose here. I am certainly very sad about it and felt instantly devastated, but I had to zoom out and find my reality check. The reality was I had a FANTASTIC Mom like no other and I was blessed. The reality was that I was going to move on. The reality was this was something I was going to turn into art. My reality check is how I began to heal.

When devastation strikes, we all feel like we cannot go on. But suicide will devastate someone else and the reality of life is none of us are free from feeling devastation and I find great comfort in knowing it’s not just me.
If you feel the need to take your own life over something you have found devastating to you, I encourage you to seek out like-minded people and there are MANY of us who maybe don’t know exactly what you are feeling, but together we are all coming together to find our reality check in it all.

This life can throw many curveballs at us and can suck so badly in so many ways, but I have crawled out of what has felt like devastation and I am finding a beautiful world out there with cool spirits and green fields. It’s not all bad like the news suggests and it’s not as devastating as our love songs try to infer.

It may feel bad right now, but we are given a day at a time with sleep in between. I personally never thought I’d be here to make new friends because I have attempted it. Nobody could convince me at the time that I was going to make it through. But here I am feeling like a kid again. At times, I really can’t believe it!

Much love on you…we’re all in it together…and you are NOT alone!
Karen :)

"All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming." ~Helen Keller

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