What to do when you are really sad and grieving
What to do when you are really sad and grieving
The older we get, the more we get acquainted with the substantial pain and suffering when dear friends and family members die. This pain makes a root canal feel like a walk in the park.
It can be outright debilitating. You hear your blood swooshing in your head, you have lost your appetite, your stomach may hurt no matter what and you just do not even want to get out of bed. If it was someone really close, you can experience vivid flash backs where the memories of the loved one are so real that you can almost touch them. Perhaps you break out in tears. Out of nowhere the pain is overwhelming and the tears start rolling down your cheeks. I have such events less frequently than I used to, but when they happen it can put me into a funk.
Of course there are quite a few other causes of deep sadness and grief. Losing your job, being told that your health is declining, chronic pain, divorce, survivor’s guilt, etc are powerful reasons why you can feel depressed. Often this can turn into anger towards people and any higher authority that you may believe in.
There are a variety of things you have in your funk busting tool box. Make good use of them. They have sustained me during the times of great despair. Stir your snow globe a little for a view to a brighter future that is all but certain around the corner.
- Seek community. This is one of the toughest things to do. Body and soul tell you to go back into your clam-shell. Chose the opposite and open up to others and perhaps you find even people that have gone or are going through what you are going through. Shared sorrow is half the sorrow.
- No regrets; make good use of the time you have. Feel like you need to hang out more with your friends and family? Make it a priority. You only have this one life to live and that will have to do. Listen to your inner voice and follow it.
- Make a plan and even have a plan B on deck. This does two things for you. On one hand taking active control feels good. Plan and execute it and you automatically will feel better already because of you shaping your future – even if it’s only in part of it.
- Exercise. Odd? Maybe, but worthwhile doing in so many ways. Get out into the fresh air, take up gardening, or really put in the extra effort at the gym. Physical activity provides a sense of accomplishment and flashes off some bad juices in your bloodstream that have accumulated due to stress.
- Pray. Whatever you believe in make sure to say a prayer in the evening and be thankful what you have. When you get up in the morning pray for good guidance for the day. Invite others to pray for or with you. Create your own predictable miracles.
- Be angry when you feel like it. Do not let this type of anger fester within you. It needs to come out. Share it, shout it out, and get it out of your system. Be careful though and curb it the moment you realize it no longer gives you and your listeners any energy any more. Stop when it drains you of energy and it gets personal and no longer relates to the grieving process.
- Let it go. Do not look for fairness and a rhyme or reason why whatever happened and why it happened to “only” you. Good people die. Why? Do not get anywhere close to this time and nerve wasting self-questioning. Ponder it and move on. There is no extra time on a time bank account for how nice or nasty you are.
- Accept. It is similar to letting go, but it typically happens at a different time frame. Letting go closes the chapter of the past. Accepting your new reality looks forward of what comes next. Only when you actively accept your new reality will you commit to your future. This too shall pass.
- Laugh anyway. Weeks before my mother-in-law died of cancer she had a period of being on a drug that induced hallucinations. One day we were gathered around her and she claimed she had seen a black cat – in the hospital bed room. There was no cat. It was funny and everybody laughed. There is no fun-police around that could tell you not to laugh. It is part of the coping process and provides a wonderful sense of relief. This is your new “normal”; no reason to feel bad for having fun.
- Assume a positive, yet realistic outcome. Guess what, if you assume that more bad stuff is going to happen, either way, you may be correct. Why not taking the higher road and assume for the better?
- Make it YOUR journey – it is really only yours. There is no “normal” here. What you are going through is unique to you and intricate part of your life journey.
You know the saying that God only puts as much load on your shoulders as you can handle? Well, I really wished that He would not trust me/ us so much sometimes. Choose your attitude and you may be surprised about how many instances you will later think how much better off you are nowadays that certain things happened. Mind you that it may take a while to be able to feel like this, but the adage is indeed true about time healing all wounds. Please forward this little post to anyone who you think could benefit from a little boost.