Good article on grief, Copa, Cedar, anyone interested!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by SomewhereOutThere, May 27, 2015.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I am going through a weird grief where as I didn't react to being disowned when it happened, but I'm feeling the pain of it now and this is a form of grief which I'm dealing with. There is "delayed grief" if you push things aside, which I did for so long. I also think the pushing aside is why I was suddenly not only willing but determined to tell my sibling what has been bothering me for so long, triggering her reaction, which was inevitable.

    It's like all this was bottled up for so many years that it's all coming out now. So I looked this up and I think it could help some of you too. So here it is.

    Common experiences of grief

    While loss affects people in different ways, many people experience the following symptoms when they’re grieving. Just remember that almost anything that you experience in the early stages of grief is normal – including feeling like you’re going crazy, feeling like you’re in a bad dream, or questioning your assumptions.

    • Shock and disbelief – Right after a loss, it can be hard to accept what happened. You may feel numb, have trouble believing that the loss really happened, or even deny the truth. If someone you love has died, you may keep expecting them to show up, even though you know they’re gone.

    • Sadness – Profound sadness is probably the most universally experienced symptom of grief. You may have feelings of emptiness, despair, yearning, or deep loneliness. You may also cry a lot or feel emotionally unstable.

    • Guilt – You may regret or feel guilty about things you did or didn’t say or do. You may also feel guilty about certain feelings (e.g. feeling relieved when the person died after a long, difficult illness, or feeling relieved because you had ambivalent feelings about the person). After a death, you may even feel guilty for not doing something to prevent the death, even if there was nothing more you could have done.

    • Anger – Even if the loss was nobody’s fault, you may feel angry and resentful. If you lost a loved one, you may be angry at yourself, God, the doctors, or even the person who died for abandoning you. You may feel the need to blame someone for the injustice that was done to you.

    • Fear – A significant loss can trigger a host of worries and fears. You may feel anxious, helpless, or insecure. You may even have panic attacks. The death of a loved one can trigger fears about your own mortality, of facing life without that person, or the responsibilities you now face alone.

    • Physical symptoms – We often think of grief as a strictly emotional process, but grief often involves physical problems, including fatigue, nausea, lowered immunity, weight loss or weight gain, aches and pains, and insomnia.
    Healing from grief and loss tip 1: Get support
    The single most important factor in healing from loss is having the support of other people. Even if you aren’t comfortable talking about your feelings under normal circumstances, it’s important to express them when you’re grieving. Sharing your loss makes the burden of grief easier to carry. Wherever the support comes from, accept it and do not grieve entirely alone. While you may be alone for some of your grief process, grieving with others is important for most people to heal.

    Finding support after a loss
    • Turn to friends and family members – Now is the time to lean on the people who care about you, even if you take pride in being strong and self-sufficient. Draw loved ones close, rather than avoiding them, and accept the assistance that’s offered. Oftentimes, people want to help but don’t know how, so tell them what you need – whether it’s a shoulder to cry on or help with funeral or break-up arrangements.

    • Draw comfort from your faith – If you follow a religious tradition, or have a spiritual practice, embrace the comfort it can provide. Spiritual activities that are meaningful to you – such as praying, meditating, or going to sacred places – can offer solace. If you’re questioning your faith in the wake of the loss, talk to a clergy member or others in your spiritual community.

    • Join a support group – Grief can feel very lonely, even when you have loved ones around. Sharing your sorrow with others who have experienced similar losses can help. To find a bereavement support group in your area, contact local hospitals, hospices, funeral homes, and counseling centers.

    • Talk to a therapist or grief counselor – If your grief feels like too much to bear, call a mental health professional with experience in grief counseling. An experienced therapist can help you work through intense emotions and overcome obstacles to your grieving.
    Healing from grief and loss tip 2: Take care of yourself
    When you’re grieving, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. The stress of a major loss can quickly deplete your energy and emotional reserves. Looking after your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this difficult time.

    • Face your feelings. You can try to suppress your grief, but you can’t avoid it forever. In order to heal, you have to acknowledge the pain. Trying to avoid feelings of sadness and loss only prolongs the grieving process. Unresolved grief can also lead to complications such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems.

    • Express your feelings in a tangible or creative way. For example, write about your loss in a journal. If you’ve lost a loved one, write a letter saying the things you never got to say; make a scrapbook or photo album celebrating the person’s life; or get involved in a cause or organization that was important to him or her.

    • Look after your physical health. The mind and body are connected. When you feel good physically, you’ll also feel better emotionally. Combat stress and fatigue by getting enough sleep, eating right, and exercising.

    • Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel, and don’t tell yourself how to feel either. Your grief is your own, and no one else can tell you when it’s time to “move on” or “get over it.” Let yourself feel whatever you feel without embarrassment or judgment. It’s okay to be angry, to yell at the heavens, to cry or not to cry. It’s also okay to laugh, to find moments of joy, and to let go when you’re ready.

    • Plan ahead for grief “triggers”. Anniversaries, holidays, and milestones can reawaken memories and feelings. Be prepared for an emotional wallop, and know that it’s completely normal. If you’re sharing a holiday or lifecycle event with other relatives or friends, talk to them ahead of time about their expectations and agree on strategies to honor the person you loved.
    When grief doesn’t go away
    It’s normal to feel sad, numb, or angry following a loss. But as time passes, these emotions usually become less intense as you accept the loss and start to move forward. If you aren’t feeling better over time, or your grief is getting worse, it may be a sign that your grief has developed into a more serious problem, such as complicated grief or major depression.

    Complicated grief
    The sadness of losing someone you love never goes away completely, but it usually loses it's spot at center stage. If the pain of the loss is so constant and severe that it keeps you from resuming your life, you may be suffering from a condition known as complicated grief. Complicated grief is being stuck in an intense state of mourning. You may have trouble accepting the death long after it has occurred or be so preoccupied with the person who died that it disrupts your daily routine and undermines your other relationships.

    Symptoms of complicated grief include extended:

    • Intense longing and yearning for the lost one
    • Intrusive thoughts or images of your loved one
    • Denial of the loss or sense of disbelief
    • Imagining that your loved one is alive
    • Searching for the person in familiar places
    • Avoiding things that remind you of your loved one
    • Extreme anger or bitterness over the loss
    • Feeling that life is empty or meaningless
    The difference between grief and depression
    Distinguishing between grief and depression isn’t always easy, since they share many symptoms. However, there are ways to tell the difference. Remember, grief is a roller coaster. It involves a wide variety of emotions and a mix of good and bad days. Even when you’re in the middle of the grieving process, you will have moments of pleasure or happiness. People who are depressed can sometimes be distracted from the pain for short periods, or may feel numb, but generally depression is more constant than grieving.

    Other symptoms that suggest depression, not just grief:

    • Intense, pervasive sense of guilt.
    • Thoughts of suicide or a preoccupation with dying.
    • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness.
    • debilitating self-criticism
    • Slow speech and body movements
    • Inability to function at work, home, and/or school.
    • Seeing or hearing things that no one else does.
    To learn more about the signs and symptoms of depression, see How Blue Are You?
     
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  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This is very good for all of us to remember, SWOT. Thank you for posting for us. There is grief too in the things we go through with our troubled kids. More grief, when the troubles have gone on so long that they cannot recover what they might have. Very many different kinds of grief for all of us.

    SWOT, is there a Grief Support Group affiliated with a Hospice or a hospital near you? These are such caring people, SWOT. Grief is grief. You did lose a parent. A certain amount of time has passed, and you are still troubled, still trying to work through it.

    You would be welcomed, and would find comfort there, I think.

    You are such a nice lady, SWOT. I am sorry you are in pain. In one way, I celebrate it for you, though. You are exploring those feelings that were too intense, too impossibly, unbelievably hurtful, at the time.

    Sending thoughts of strength and healing and clarity of vision, SWOT.

    Cedar
     
  3. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Thank you for posting this SWOT. It brings up some very pertinent points and I think very timely ones.

    As someone who has not lost a child to mental illness and/or addiction, but who has lost a spouse to physical illness.

    I think it timely to remind parents that the descent of a child into mental illness/addiction is in fact a death of a kind, except that in most cases, it is a death without a finite ending. There is no "there" from which one can logically go on.

    Instead one must "detach" and make their own "there" and go on from that artificial point. I honestly think that my "there": planning the memorial, reading the eulogy, picking up the ashes, was easier in some respects than what the parents here go through. I had a definite ending and a definite beginning to work with.

    So many of you do not.

    You are in my thoughts and heart daily
     
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Actually, guys, I just got back from my therapist and she says I have all the signs of Post Trumatic Stress Syndrome. I have never gone over my childhood with anybody. I never wanted to, always felt that being hit or sexually abused was abuse, not the verbal stuff. But when I started giving examples, and couldn't stop, and then she learned it also went on at school and that not one person in the family or anywhere ever helped or gave validation, she told me about this. When I started talking about my childhood, I started to cry and I felt stupid. But she told thought my examples were VERY abusive.
     
  5. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    SWOT. I was rather shocked when I found out that I had PTSD from being bullied during my school years and again shocked when I was told that my husbands final illness and death had added to that.

    Not sure why, as both were pretty traumatic, but for some reason, I always thought of PTSD in terms of physical trauma, and while I had experience some of that in school, the bulk of it had been emotional in both cases.
     
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    SWOT, what I am dealing with I think is something similar. No matter how strong we are there are pieces within us, as if we are still that vulnerable child. We can go on and live intentionally and competently, while that child piece of us, remains tethered to the mother, and need for the mother. Who never existed or if she existed, was not enough.

    And it is that hurt piece of us that needs to be allowed a voice, claimed as our own. Cared for and accepted. And with that we heal, I think.

    Allowing a space for that hurt, and the care that comes with it alongside the anger and defiant voice of survival. The hurt behind the rage.

    We are and have been loving, strong, and responsible Mothers. The Mothers we did not have. That which was never modeled for us. We go back for parts of ourselves. To go back, we resubmit, intentionally, to the pain of those times. To give to ourselves, what our mothers had been unable or unwilling to give.

    Courage.
     
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Copa. You're right. It never goes away 100%. I am going for therapy though (been going since age 23) and am going to work it out and also read books about it.

    I'm sorry you are going through so much turmoil now. I thought this would help us all.

    Delayed grief is really weird!!! I just never let myself feel anything, I guess. It was too painful.

    I'm glad I have to work the next four days. A busy mind is a happy mind :)
     
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