📌How to cope with grief - Personal experience ... (Original photographs and thoughts)
The show must go on...
"The only cure for grief is to grieve" - Earl Grollman
Nothing and no one will ever fill the emptiness I feel. Darkness envelopes me but hope is not lost.
It is the rule of the universe that from darkness comes light and from an ocean of suffering comes deliverance. I do not know what my religious beliefs are on a lot of things. Let us say I am undecided on many aspects because I am still learning and thinking. However, one thing is clear, nothing lasts forever - neither joy nor the intense pain of separation from a loved one.
Grief should not last forever by the same rule of the universe. They say time is a great healer. I do not know if time will heal my wounds. I am not sure I want them to be healed but again - I know that I can not live life at the bottom of a dark well, filled with grief.
I must lift myself out, from dark shadows of depression and move on towards light... and carry on with life. I must control my grief.
This picture I took in Venice in September 2015, showing the gondola moving from shadows to lights, symbolizes exactly the way I need to move in life.
Grief is a natural reaction to loss. It can be one of the most difficult challenges to be faced by a person if the loss is related to the demise of a loved one. It can almost break a person down.
A person can experience all kinds of emotions with extremes of sadness, anger, disbelief and shock. Grief can affect a person's mental and physical health. Even thinking straight becomes a challenge sometimes.
Therefore, though there is no defined time period for grief and no 'right' or 'wrong' way to grieve, it is always best to understand stages of grief and adopt healthy ways of coping with the pain that will help, with passage of time, to ease the sadness, help a person to come to terms with the loss and move on in life.
Understanding 5 stages of grief
As per following extract from this article, there are following five stage of grief. Understanding these helps us identify where we are in the process and gives us a better chance of controlling grief. I can vouch for this from my personal experience.
Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”
In the past few days, I have been through all these stages and am still trying to achieve the last one.
Logically - I know what happened is inevitable and perhaps it was also for the best because the departed person would have suffered more if the illness had been prolonged. Still, peace is hard to achieve when I strongly feel the void in my life.
Understanding the physical and emotional signs
In the process of understanding our own grief, following signs help us notice and acknowledge that we are grieving. I know it sounds ridiculous that we need signs to tell ourselves we are grieving. However, when our mind is not thinking straight, we need such conscious and obvious clues to make our mind register that we are grieving.
- Physical signs - Fatigue, Nausea, Lower immunity, Isomnia and pains.
In my personal case, Isomnia and sudden fatigue set in. Warning bells that, though I was maintaining a stiff upper lip and being brave, I was seriously grieving, I must manage my grief.
- Emotional signs - Anger, guilt, fear, sadness, disbelief...
In my case, I had a strong sense of guilt. Guilt for having scolded the loved one for refusing to follow medical advise. I know I did it for the sake of my loved one but still, I had an overwhelming sense of guilt. I was also very angry and irritable for some reason.
Coping with grief
Once I took a conscious decision to manage my grief, I started the process with following measures. I frankly do not think I am in the light yet. Dark clouds appear out of nowhere several times a day but I am fighting the battle.
Facing my feelings - I tried to be brave. Not crying and being stoic was part of the initial stance I took. I tried to not dwell upon the loss. Tried to think of other things. None of that worked. I had to turn around, accept the fact that I really was hurting inside. I could not express myself freely because I did not want my family members to break down but at night, I went into long monologues - in the dark and alone in my room. I talked about how I felt and why I was guilty or angry. It helped.
Expressing my feelings in a tangible and creative way - THIS IS IT!! I turned to Steemit again after a gap of 7 days. I feel something like floodgates opening and the pressure on my mind going down.
Looking after myself - Getting into my regular exercise routine, my work and taking care of my family helps me be healthy and manage my grief better
Taking help from my friends and family - I have always been independent. However, I learnt that taking help from my friends really made a difference. Whether it was just exchanging a few words with a friend, getting help with funeral arrangements or just the presence of a friend - it all helped. My extended family, Steemit is helping too.
Grieving process is not universal. It differs for each individual. However, some signs and milestones as well as the methods to manage it will apply universally.
I pray to god that none of you have to face what I have faced. However, if you do, I hope my experience helps you to find yourself again and carry on with life.
The show must go on!
"Grief Is A Silent Partner. Sometimes It Seals The Heart Shut. The Only Way To Heal A Sealed Heart Is To Break The Seal And Shout It Out." - Tess Calomino
Steemians, please comment freely to share your experiences, knowledge and views about coping with grief. Thanks.
Note: All images except for the wildlife photos and the title image created by me are from pixabay.com. Image credit has been specifically mentioned for images not falling under these two categories.
Gif crafted by the Legendary @stellabelle for me based on my Lion Avatar