03 January 2013

What I've Learned About Grieving (and some tips).

I have my magical writing shawl on, I'm feeling good, so here we go: my take on grief, grieving, counseling, and some things you can keep in mind the next time you find yourself mourning.

The term Grieving Process drives me insane. More insane. Whatever. It lists steps. This is going to happen, this is going to happen, blahblahblah. OK, that's kinda bullshit in my opinion. Grieving is a fluid motion of pissed off waves crashing down on you.

You're going to feel the entire gambit of emotions, at the same time, separately, the "wrong emotion" at the "wrong time." You're going to feel them over and over and over and over and over. I'm a rapid cycling bipolar, so I'm a pro at this one.

Guilt. Shit, you are going to feel guilty. Guilty because it wasn't you, you couldn't take the suffering away. Then there's this guilt added in... the guilt of moving on. The guilt of acceptance if you will. Your brain will ask itself this question without you even knowing there's a conversation going on inside your head: "Is it okay to move on?" Yes = peace, happiness, solace and a great relief to that guilt. No = I can't predict that, but it won't be pretty.

DEPRESSION! - I'm a pro at getting through this too. Bipolar makes for a tough soul. YOU WILL GET DEPRESSED! Just sayin'. Not just "the blues," real clinical depression. It's natural. You've just had your heart ripped out of your chest and stomped on, you're going to get depressed. Expect it. Prepare for it. Know the signs of depression and watch for them in yourself. Get help when you need it. You don't have to suffer alone... and with the right counselor, you won't have to suffer as bad.

Relief. You will find yourself saying "Man, with them gone I can slow down a little and catch my breath. That was a long, hard, grueling even, event to endure. You will feel guilty about feeling relieved. You'll get depressed if you don't get the guilt in check. See the cycle?

Anger. You are going to be pissed at God, at the world, at the doctors, nurses, anybody that farts. You'll probably find yourself getting pissed off over trivial things or things that wouldn't set you off before. Chances are, you're human, therefore the chances of this emotion is about 99%.

But I don't want to experience that.

You will.

You will probably think you really are going crazy. You're not. You're grieving.

Things that may help:

ALLOW yourself to have feelings and allow them to be hurt.

My philosophy: You have to feel the hurt. The hurt is the healing process beginning. You've just wrecked your bike and cut your knee. The death is the cut to your soul. The emotional hurt you feel after the death is the blood clotting in the cut. As time goes on with proper care and treatment the cut turns into a scar. If you'll notice, the pain lessens as the cut heals... so the pain lessens as the soul heals.

Have what I call a safety net. It's a group of people close to you that you can call and cry to. Know which of your friends you can call when. As bad as it sounds, spread the joy so to speak. This will make it a lot easier to support you. People react to other peoples emotions... and to those that don't have as broad a shoulder as I do, it gets entirely overwhelming.

Every evening before you go to bed, take 5 minutes for yourself and reflect back on the day. Look specifically for positive moments. Something small that made you smile, a thought that you wished to expand upon, whatever. Something positive. Write it down in a notebook (Yes you can use a foreign language to fool your loved ones so it's a secret). After you've done this for a week, read back over what you've written. Now write down 2 positives a day for a week. Read through week 1 and 2. Week 3 write 3. Week 4, write 4. Week 5 write 5. Keep it at 5. More than that would overwhelm you and instead of reinforcing the positive it's just going to feel like a chore.

Don't become the friend that only talks about negative things.

For Pete's Sake, use your creativity. Use crochet as your canvas. Try weird color combinations. Let your mind go bloody crazy with yarn filled bliss. What you won't notice you're doing is distracting your mind so it's not thinking about its hurt feelings. Your brain is too busy keeping row and stitch counts to dwell on anything really.

Teach yourself another foreign language. I hear Russian is a bitch. Try that. The internet is a wonderful tool.

Take up a new hobby. I took up painting.

Teach your friend Sarah German... because she can't remember a thing.

Support groups are awesome.

Grief counseling is awesome.

Counseling in general is awesome.

The counselor I see is incredibly awesome. He's a grad student so he's cheap. He used to be a minister. He's in St. Joseph, MO. Hit me up if you're interested. (Wow, I'm pimping out my counselor. He'll love this.)

Allow yourself to cry if you want to cry.

Do something to get the negative energy OUT of you.

Treat yourself to an hour long Reiki session.

The point is, you're going to have to learn to recognize negative thoughts when they start and force yourself to think of something positive to replace it. It's hard to get the hang of, but once you do, it's smoother sailing. You're going to have to distract your brain with itself. It's easy for me to say, and I have a pretty good hang of it now, especially because I'm bipolar. You have to be aware of yourself at all times. I hope that makes sense.

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