The Way You Feel Your Thoughts

How To Recover From Tragedy (My Story)

deal with tragedy
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As a child life seemed pretty straight forward.

Apart from the odd worry, the process of puberty and the occasional heartbreak from the girls I had a crush on nothing seemed too hard to handle.

But at 18, (a month off my 19th birthday) my Dad took his own life.

It was completely out of the blue.

On paper he had everything, but after a sudden breakdown 6 months prior on March 4th 2009 he stepped in front of a lorry.

Tragedy struck.

How the fuck do I deal with this?

Life seemed to spiral down from that point, as my Nan lost her battle with cancer a month after she sat through her only sons funeral.

Just before Christmas that same year, my Mum got rushed to hospital after a seizure.

She’d suffered with an alcohol addiction for many years, she was a functioning alcoholic but she couldn’t control it.

The seizure was a cause of the alcohol abuse, her skin was yellow, she was violently being sick…

We were told her livers were failing.

It didn’t look good.

Fuck, can we (me and my brother) really lose both our parents in less than a year?

She spent a week in hospital recovering to be told that if she carried on this way, she’d die.

She’d been given another chance.

When she came out of hospital she spent a few months dry, but she returned back to drinking only to end up in hospital again in June.

Once again, she was lucky.

Note: Mum has off alcohol for several years now. She’s transformed her life, made difficult decisions to deal with past hurt and went on to become a counsellor.

me, mum, steve and Dad

June 13th, 2017.

3 days after returning from my wedding in Italy.

My brother was involved in a life changing accident at work.

On site, some steel being hoisted above him slipped out and fell directly onto him. It fractured his skull in multiple places, leaving him with brain damage.

We nearly lost him, and even when we knew he was past the life threatening stage we still never knew how he’d recover.

He went from not being concious to not being able to communicate, from being able to communicate to not being able to eat, from being able to eat to not being able to see, from being able to see to not being able to move…

As I write this right now, he’s still in hospital.

But he’s still my brother.

Cognitively he’s fine, he can remember everything, he still laughs at the same shit I laugh at, and he can do a lot of what we were told he wouldn’t be able too.

But he still can’t move.

His movement is slowly improving, but he’s got a long battle in front of him.

His recovery is truly inspiring.

In fact he laughs at me every time I tell him “he’s inspirational”.

Maybe I say it too much.

me and steve

How To Deal With Tragedy

I just chuckled to myself.

Reminiscing back to my ‘easy’ childhood I would’ve laughed at you if you told me I’d be writing about dealing with tragedy.

I was an aspiring rapper when I was younger, the next Eminem (or so I thought).

My issue was having nothing tragic to rap about.

Now? I could write an album.

But how can we deal with tragedy in our lives?

What helped me personally overcome the moments I’ve already shared with you?

Understand That Tragedy Comes In Different Levels

Perception is key.

To know that we control our thoughts, controlling our perception of how we see tragedy can help relieve the sadness.

It’s not easy, but looking for the ‘good’ in the hardest of times can help drag you through the sadness.

My story to some may be shocking.

Losing my Dad to suicide, nearly losing my Mum to alcoholism, my brother and his accident…

But to others…

It might seem like a walk in the park.

You see tragedy comes in different levels, and the way we perceive tragedy plays a huge part in how we deal with it.

Tragedy to you might be not getting the grades you wanted, getting fired from a job or losing the girlfriend you loved. But on the other hand it might be dealing with a life restricting personal illness, being abandoned by your parents, sexually abused or more.

The levels of tragedy differ from person to person, but always remember…

Someone Is Dealing With Worse Than You

When my brother had his accident it sucked.

Why has this happened?

But then when I tried to look for the ‘good’ it quickly made me realise how grateful I was that he was still alive.

I remember crying down the phone to my wife when his chances of survival were rapidly declining and saying “I just want him to open his eyes and see me”.

Now, even though the whole situation still sucks… we’re cracking jokes and I feel like I haven’t lost my brother.

The situation could’ve been a lot worse.

In fact I know a lot of people out there weren’t as lucky as we were.

When you’re going through tragedy, ask yourself “how much worse could this have been”?

With everything I’ve been through, I know that it still could’ve been worse.

My Mum survived, my brother survived.

I’m grateful.

And being grateful will help you remember what you’ve got.

Someone out there is dealing with worse than you, you’re lucky and have huge abundance in your life, you just need to remember it.

Tragedy Isn’t Permanent

My Dad killed himself over 8 years ago now.

When it happened, I struggled to deal with it.

I couldn’t get him out of my head, I kept seeing him everywhere I went, I questioned why he did it over and over again and I never thought the pain would ease.

But time is a healer.

There’s still not a day that goes by where I don’t think about him being here, being a Grandad now and giving me advice in life.

But looking back it’s made me realise that pain inflicted from tragedy isn’t permanent.

It gets easier.

When you’re in the moment, it’s hard to feel like it’s going to get any easier.

But it will.

Through my brothers accident we were told to keep a journal and take the odd photo.

Looking back, I see how much he’s recovered and it’s a reminder of how far he’s come.

We get very caught up in our heads, but remind yourself that the pain you’re going through from this tragic event will get easier.

You’ll learn from it.

I really hope this article helps.

It’s messy, it probably doesn’t read that well…

But I wanted to be as open and honest as possible.

Comment below if you want to share your story of tragedy and how you dealt with it.

I’ll reply 🙂

Signing out…

Paul McGregor
Founder of MFM, Lecturer at the London College of Fashion and Online Consultant.
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