On April 9, DMX — one of America’s most well-known and successful rappers — died of a heart attack brought on by a drug overdose. DMX’s history of addiction is well-documented, and as a fan of his who also has a history of substance abuse, I found myself rocked to the core by his death. I have found that my past trauma is deeply connected to my substance abuse, and I am often triggered by news of celebrities overdosing or struggling with addiction. However, my feelings intensify when a celebrity I admire passes, and I have found that with DMX’s death, I am having a challenging time functioning.
For as long as I remember, I have felt profoundly connected to certain celebrities so much so that if or when they die, I grieve their deaths in the same way I would a loved one. Because, to me, those celebrities I admire are my loved ones. It is because of this deep connection I felt to DMX that his death has impacted me and sent me into an episode of grieving, while also triggering my depression. I feel like I have lost someone very dear to me, but I also feel like I can’t talk about it to anyone in my life because they don’t understand the connection I feel to DMX. So, if you are also triggered by the death of DMX and are unsure how to handle your grief, I hope that my next few ideas help you to mourn him while caring for yourself in a meaningful way.
1. Spend some time just listening to his music.
DMX’s music is so important to me, and it is the main way I can feel closest to him. One thing that has helped me find meaning in my grief has been to listen to his music in solitude — whether that means going on a walk or taking some time in my safe place to listen to his music while mourning him. However, sometimes it is unsafe for me to be alone when I am feeling such strong emotions, so I spend time with someone I trust and talk to them about what I am feeling. They may not fully understand what I am going through, but it is nice to have someone to listen.
2. Share your feelings online.
Another thing that has helped me is finding fan groups online where I can connect with others who are affected by DMX’s death. You can find fan groups on Facebook where you can post your feelings and speak with other fans about what you are going through, and, in turn, maybe even make some new friends. I find connection to be so important when I am grieving or triggered and speaking with others who understand is paramount.
3. Be kind to yourself.
I know that when I am triggered and grieving a celebrity’s death, I beat myself up over what I am experiencing and try to push my feelings away — which just makes them more painful as time goes on. Take some time now to be kind to yourself and do some self-care things that you enjoy. Grieving is grieving, no matter who you are mourning, and when you are feeling such strong emotions it’s important to take care of yourself. Some of my favorite self-care things I have done while mourning DMX is taking time to listen to his music, drinking some hot tea, and reading a book that helps me to escape.
The death of DMX is a tragedy, and it makes me feel so angry to know that substance abuse has taken another beautiful soul. While I am in recovery from substance abuse, I am often faced with just how difficult it is to stay clean and watching those I love to get taken away by addiction is absolutely heartbreaking and intensely triggering for me. It feels as though a dark hole has begun to grow within my body as I work through this grief, and I am finding myself mourning the years I lost to addiction as I experience flashbacks and my past pain. While what I’m experiencing feels somehow feel tortuous, it does help me to feel more connected to DMX. I only hope that my story and ideas help you through whatever you may be going through as well.
Originally published at https://themighty.com.