We live in troubled times. With the coronavirus pandemic still amidst us, climate change more undeniable than ever, and a steep decline in mental health across the world, many of us aren't really doing too well. We grieve for the loved ones we’ve lost, for the state of the planet, and for the ways in which life would never be the same.
And yet, the wheel keeps turning. We have jobs to do, households to run and lives to get on with. It has not been easy. During this time, numerous creators have taken to social media platforms to speak of this grief, to normalise having to talk about it, and to create community resources for us to help each other other.
Here are five Instagram accounts you can follow if you are looking to find some uplifting content on your feed.
Staying with the depths of grief
@grievemebe is run by a creator who calls herself Brown Girl Grieving and writes about the tragedy of losing both her parents to Covid and cancer in the span of two years. She started the page to share the complex emotional depths she’s experiencing in the aftermath of such tragic losses. Grief is a highly subjective experience and there is no one path to recovery. In fact, it is said that no one really gets over losing a loved one, one simply learns to live with it. And yet, there is a lot of social pressure on survivors to simply ‘move on’. Through her posts, this creator tackles some of the common ways in which even people with the best of interests end up saying the wrong things to those who are grieving. This page may help those who are not looking for positivity or hope, but simply want to stay with the darkness for a bit.
Coping with eco-grief
Climate change has been wreaking havoc in different parts of the world for years now and it is becoming harder and harder to avert our eyes and keep going about our lives. As individuals, we may have next to no power when it comes to mitigating or repairing the scale of damage that has been done to the planet. The grief and hopelessness one feels in response to a rapidly deteriorating ecosystem, however, is real and inescapable. The Instagram page @ecoanxious holds space for people to share their experience of living during these turbulent times. “When you share the meaning of eco-anxiety in your life, you are helping to humanise the problem,” says a post. The page aims at bringing together a community that engages with the crisis without slipping into hopelessness and nihilism. By reframing our narratives around climate change and transforming our grief and anxiety into meaningful action, we can begin to make a change, the posts say.
Surviving tragedy and loss
Psychotherapist, writer and grief advocate Megan Devine lost her partner unexpectedly, with no chance to process or say goodbye. In the subsequent years, as she grieved, she realised how useless her own training was when it came to helping her cope. It is in the thick of her own grief that she came up with a whole new approach, not just to grieving, but to life itself. Today, she uses this platform (@refugeingrief) to raise awareness, bust myths and offer support to those recovering from tragedy and loss. Her posts acknowledge the difficulties of navigating the outside world while being consumed by grief and offer tools and resources to help people cope. Devine is the author of It's OK That You're Not OK (2017) and How to Carry What Can't Be Fixed (2021) In her podcast entitled Here After, she has conversations with fellow survivors, experts and therapists that delve deeper into specific contexts in which people experience grief. She also facilitates an online support group called Writing Your Grief where survivors can come together to write their way through their emotions.
Handling grief around infertility
There has lately been a lot of conversation around the psychological fallout among men and women who find themselves unable to have children. Women bear the brunt of fertility treatments, miscarriages and social stigma around infertility, while little to no social support is available to them. Pages like @infertilemillennial come to the rescue, sharing stories, insights and resources to help couples and individuals come to terms with the grief for the life they are unable to have. They also provide a welcome break for those whose social media feeds are filled with baby photos and videos posted by peers. @infertilemillennial shares content that helps mitigate the intense shame and guilt women feel about losing pregnancies or being unable to conceive. The posts further throw light on the innumerable myths around the subject and share tips on how friends and caregivers can be more sensitive to those who are struggling with infertility issues.
Grieving one’s lost childhood
The agony of a traumatic childhood stretches far into adulthood, as survivors tend to see its effects in every area of life. A lot of modern psychotherapy focuses on looking at one’s childhood wounds and acknowledging what went wrong all those years back in order to reclaim one’s power as an adult. Run by marriage and family therapist Allyson Dinneen, @notesfromyourtherapist features pictures of hand-written (often scribbled) notes from the author as she processes a memory, thought or trigger. These posts are deeply relatable, helpful and gentle for those who are coming to terms with their own painful past. In 2017, Dinneen lost her husband in a logging accident. Several of her posts are also about coping with the grief of losing a partner on top of everything else. “Being willing+able to grieve makes you less afraid to risk being your true self. Because you know how to grieve the consequences+loss of what so often comes with that,” she wrote in a recent post.
Indumathy Sukanya is an artist and independent journalist based in Bengaluru