Carrie Barron M.D.

The Creativity Cure

"I Thought I Would Never Get Over It"

The Surprising Appearance of Resilience After Loss

Posted Sep 06, 2014

made by Chloe's hand

Sometimes, you are not who you thought you were. Or .ou can handle things you thought you couldn't. Your own strength may surprise you when you are put to the test. There is strength in stoicism but also in true detachment.  Wthstanding difficulty is one thing. However, remaining not only upright, but unfazed and quite fine in the aftermath of a severe blow, is better. It is achievable with time, support, thought and insight.  

A compelling poem by Elizabeth Bishop, called One Art, captures the mind of a person who has suffered several losses. Because many people find it hard to let go of a place or a person, I thought the poem might be biblio-therapeutic. Seeing your self in a story or a situation –a film, book, fable, poem– brings relief because feeling understood, as if your own heart is being expressed, is healing. Art and literature are useful for psychological shifts.

This poem struck me because it goes beyond, “I survived, I’m still standing, I am stronger now.” The narrator seems to have evolved into a psychological position wherein the person she is addressing has become emotionally irrelevant. Self-possession allows her to distance herself, maintain sentiment and move on. If you have lost someone, this is a good place to get to. And it is totally possible.

made by Chloe's hand

One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster.


Lose something every day. Accept the fluster

of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.


Then practice losing farther, losing faster:

places, and names, and where it was you meant

to travel. None of these will bring disaster.


I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or

next-to-last, of three loved houses went.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.


I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,

some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.

I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.


—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture

I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident

the art of losing’s not too hard to master

though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.