Grieving…

There has been so much going on in the news lately – whether it occurs a world away or in your own backyard – the impact can be felt deep in your soul if you’re listening.  If you are anything like me, your Facebook and other social media feeds are running over with the anguish of the people that you know and to whom you stay connected.  Many unanswered cries – one after another. I barely watch the news anymore as it sometimes becomes just too much to bear but the truth is that it’s so much that you can’t escape the reality of it all.

Depending on what sources you choose there are anywhere from 4 to 7 stages of grieving.  I was taught the 5 stages so I will speak from that vantage point. Grieving is experiencing a loss – whether it is of a person, a relationship, a dream, or an ideal like “We hold these truths to be self evident…”  So irrespective of your connection to the events of yesterday, today, or tomorrow we all have and will grieve something or someone at some point in our lives so I hope that this helps.

Stage 1 – Denial (shock or numbness)

This is thought to be somewhat of a self-protective stage as the emotion or reality of it all may just be too much to bear at the time. As you begin to come to terms with the loss, this stage will begin to fade away.

Stage 2 – Bargaining

I call this the “if only” stage.  We begin to ruminate about how things may have or could have or should have been different “if only…”

Stage 3 – Anger

The rage that can come from the feeling of hopelessness and powerlessness takes over.  This anger can be directed toward individuals, institutions, the world, or anyone who doesn’t see/empathize with you and your viewpoint.

Stage 4 – Depression

The sadness of recognizing the value of the loss begins to set in.

Stage 5 – Acceptance (It is what it is)

This involves coming to terms with your “new normal” after a loss. This is perhaps where you can take steps to remedy the situation (if you haven’t done so already).  Take some of that energy that may still be left over from the previous phases and do something constructive – for someone else! Sometimes the best way to get out of our own feelings is to direct them towards something or someone else. If there is something that directly caused your loss, do something about that! Fund raise for a cause, become involved in your community and its politics to put policies in place so no one else has to suffer the same loss again, educate others about the illness that took your loved one.  Whatever it is/was – take action!

There are some things that you can do along the way to help ease SOME of the pain and hopefully with time and support it will get better.  Prayer, meditation, yoga, and seeking wise counsel of your choosing can help you start to wrap your mind around what happened and calm your spirit. Aromatherapy can help calm your mind as well.  Just inhaling genuine essential oils can positively impact your psyche.  Clinical research shows that Frankincense oil can help alleviate depression.  Perhaps that is why it is mentioned so many times in all manners of ancient texts when it comes to temples and worship time. Adaptogens like Ashawaganda can help relieve some of the physical stress that all of those racing emotions and hormones are causing. Exercise can cause the release of endorphins and your “happy hormones”.  Very active exercise like say, running, bike riding, kickboxing and the like can help you physically work out your emotions.  Try to remember what makes your heart sing – even if the last time that you did it was as a kid. What was it? Dancing the night away?, Singing in the shower at the top of your lungs (when nobody else is home)?, Climbing a tree? Walking on the beach?, Horseback riding? Whatever it is – get to doing just that!

Bottom line? It’s okay to feel what you feel! The difference is what you choose to do with those feelings that separates mice from men. Be cognizant of how you feel and try not to sit your feelings too long and become consumed with them. Your feelings will vacillate up and down and back and forth.  That is normal, too.  There is no magic potion or pill to resolve what you’re feeling.  You shouldn’t have to feel what you are feeling – but we are. If, however, you notice that you are feeling more down than up and that ratio doesn’t begin to change with time, PLEASE go seek professional help.  Ask your primary doctor for a referral. There is no shame in needing and asking for help.  That requires courage like no other.

Happy Healthy Living!

Until Next Time…

Take Home Tidbits:

  • It is okay to grieve.
  • Grieving has stages and you may vacillate between them all from time to time.
  • Prayer, mediation, yoga, exercise, aromatherapy and adaptogens may help some.
  • If you aren’t improving, get professional help.
  • It is okay to ask for help.

Helpful Resources

Why did they bring frankincense and myrrh?

Frankincense and Mirth

Suicide Prevention Hotline   1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Anxiety and Depression Society of America – Finding Help