If you have grieved or are currently grieving, then you know that your body goes through some changes. In the previous blog from last week, we discussed addressing our truth. And the truth is grief changes us and sometimes it is not in a good way. Grief can give us an awakening moment, but grief can also make us sink to a very dark place.
When I grieved as an adult versus as a child or a teen, it looked different. As an adult, I lost my mind. At least that is how I felt. I felt like I could not look into the mirror and recognize myself.
What does grief do to the body?
Let's be clear though, grief is an individual journey, so we all do not feel everything, but these are common traits. Grief can mess with our mental health. We can develop Major Depression or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), problems with sleep, appetite, weight, concentration, and energy level.
How do we become healthy while dealing with grief?
Well, there are a couple of different ways. One of the first ways is to address, "I am grieving. I am hurt. This sucks."
I wanted to be so strong during my grief when my mom passed, but I literally could not go back to normal. It was hard to be happy about anything. So, I had to admit to myself and the people in my life, "I am not okay, and it will be a while before I am okay ever again."
While this step is hard, even though it sounds easy, we have to admit that I am grieving.
Secondly, I think maybe we should understand the stages of grief. The stages of grief are credited to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. The stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. One thing to notice is that these stages do not go into chronological order. For example, even though I have accepted that my mom has passed away, I am still in shock. There are days that I wake up, and I am saying to myself, "Dang, mommy really died." Anger... I was angry at the world. It seemed like everyone around me was able to live their life and have all this good news, and I was still trying to be supportive, but in actuality, I was angry because I felt like I couldn't move on. My mom was killed, and we were fighting for my brother's life, and everyone seemed to have sunshine, and I was in a sunken place. How come everyone else got to be happy, but I was suffering. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't eat. I couldn't enjoy life. I was lonely. It seemed like no one understood.
Grief does that to you. It will have you playing the comparison game. We tend to compare ourselves to the people around us and wonder why we are experiencing this death.
Thirdly, we have to figure out an outlet for all those emotions that we have because of our situation. I started practicing yoga, and I found a gym that offered dance classes that I enjoyed. I took breaks. When it got too much, I took a step back. So you might to do some self-research and figure out what gives you a little drop of sunshine during this storm.
Fourth, we might need professional help. So you might join a grief group, support group, or seek a mental health professional. This might be uncomfortable because it requires you to research, be vulnerable, and you have to speak to a total stranger.
When my mom passed, I had a job that offered EAP (Employee Assistance Program). This allowed me to see a counselor for free for a couple of sessions. As soon as I was able to, I searched for counselors that met the criteria that I had for a counselor, and I reached out. I asked if they accepted EAP. And from there I met with her every week. It was tough at first because I was just so confused, but being honest with her and letting her know what I needed and what I was looking for in a counselor. She listened, and in the following session, she incorporated the ideas I told her.
So, I have to say I wish I had the formula to give you to become healthy while grieving. But the honest answer is you might have to try more than one thing until you find your rhythm. Also, it may not be easy to find a counselor or therapist or grief group. It may take a couple of tries. Also, grief does not have a timeline. So one year you might be fine, but the next year you might not. One day you might feel fine, and the next day might just suck. So, what you have to do is figure out, "what is healthy to me?" Look into or list items and activities that you can do and start fitting those things in your schedule. It will not be a smooth transition, and it may not even feel fun at first. But you have to realize that you are trying to become healthy. Exercise does help us, and drinking water helps us. But ultimately grief forces us to yes to us and no to everything else. But we have to remember that we need to honor our mind, body, and soul. Also, I want to let you know that you are not alone. We are going to continue this discussion about grief. So we hope you come back next week! As always, love you the way you love the world.
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