5 things to know about grief

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Rest in peace: Aliya Christina Mpiana

Grief is different for everyone but it’s difficult for everyone. We can go through emotions like numbness or anger, and symptoms can last for weeks, a year or maybe longer. My niece passed away a few days ago, she was still born. My soul is heavy, my mind ablaze, reality feels like fog. My heart goes out to her parents, my brother and his wife are being very strong, perhaps stronger than me and I admire that. I’ve been having trouble sleeping, waking up and my appetite is all over the place. The first two days I felt very paralyzed emotionally, I knew what happened but couldn’t come to terms with it. I saw the pictures my brother sent but told myself she looks like she’s sleeping. I’m sure she’ll wake up soon, yeah that’s it she’ll wake up and everything will be okay. I even thought for a moment that maybe I was dreaming, or jumped into a different universe and I’ll go back to mine eventually. I’m having trouble writing this, I look at the photos and it breaks me.

She was buried yesterday 07/13/20. Everything was so sudden, my wife and I rushed to make it during a 2 & half hour drive. Every single day I’ve been thinking about making this post, to educate myself and hopefully my family on the grieving the process. It was hard coming to terms with writing it. I found an article on better help on understanding the stages of grief. I’d like to share what I learned. Please click the link above to learn directly from the site. Learning about this me helped me, I hope and it can do the same for anyone reading this dealing with grief.

How we grieve is our own personal journey that takes its own form and time. There is hope, it’s okay to grieve, it’s okay to not know how to feel. Let the process take its course. Some coping strategies for grief can be utilize.

Be intentional about self care

Avoid Harmful behaviors

Talk to others

Don’t be afraid to seek professional Help.

Shock and Denial

During this first stage of grief, feelings are usually extreme and reality might feel unbelievable. Depending on how the loss occurred, in my families case it was unexpected. Unexpected passing can cause disbelief, or numbness and symptoms such as trouble sleeping, vomiting, increased heart rate. Denial tries to convince us the event never happened, its reversible, I can fix it, It’s not as bad it seems or it isn’t permanent.

Guilt and Pain

If there were ever a physical accurate description of pain, It’d be Pain from Naruto. Eventually the shock and denial will start to lessen, and what follows is typically emotional suffering; sadness, pain, guilt. I’ve been having trouble making peace with the death, I’ve been wondering if there was anything, anything at all I could’ve done to prevent it. Maybe I didn’t pray enough? Maybe I didn’t check in enough? Maybe I didn’t care enough? I’ve been feeling guilt, survivors guilt to be specific. If you’re new to this blog then you don’t know that six years ago I attempted suicide and survived. I made peace with it over the years but now I start to wonder, did me survivors somehow cause this unexpected death. The truth is no it couldn’t have, that is logic; Pain is difficult, but still a natural process to grief.

Anger and Bargaining

I haven’t reached this stage yet and I don’t know if I will. The grieving process is different for everyone, some people cycle back and forth and some blow straight through. After all the pain and guilt lessens, what follows isn’t pretty; Anger, frustration, lasing out at other (friends, family, strangers) for no reason at all. Now that I think about it, maybe I have reached this stage. Yesterday after the burial I tried to keep it together and I did. My wife and I drove for 2 hrs and 30 minutes to get home, we stopped at a casino to try to add some happiness. When we got home I got very frustrated and started lasing out. I was very calm, didn’t raise my voice, but I kept finding every single excuse to feel mad at her or feel as though she had done something wrong. That’s lashing out for no reason, this morning I apologized because I know I wasn’t angry at her but at the sudden unexpected death.

Bargaining is making a deal with someone or something. Promising something in return for bringing the dead back to life. One of my favorite shows ever is Supernatural, Sam and Dean are two brothers who’d do anything for each and who can’t seem to never make it through the grieving process or even allow themselves to grieve. So every single time the other dies, they’re quick to make deals with demons, angels, God, the devil himself. They’re quick to sell their souls just for a little time with each other. However this is real life, and in real life we each have values, religion, beliefs and we shouldn’t comprise that; besides it is impossible to bargain with a higher power in reality, and this can often lead to depression.

Depression, Loneliness and Reflection

Reflecting on the loss is typical after bargaining fails. Crying often is very common, loss or increase in appetite and sleep, headaches, stomach aches or phantom pain. The weight of the loss can lead to isolation which can lead to sever depression. One might experience thoughts of self harm. If you are dealing with depression or having thoughts of self harm, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They provide free and confidential support during emotional difficulties and they’re available 24 hours, 7 days a week.

During this stage withdrawing from others and dealing with grief alone can be common, and self reflection and alone time is very important. However, having a support system to lean is equally important. Allowing loved ones or friends to be around us can be beneficial or joining a support group, or getting a grief counselor.

I’m not sure if it’s a cause of my mental illness disorder (Bipolar 2) or it’s just my own way of grieving, but I personally feel like I’m going through the process almost too quickly which scares me. I’m in the depression, loneliness and reflection stage but it’s only been four days counting today since the unexpected death of my niece. I could cycling through it over and over again, or I could jump into the upward turn and complete my grieving process.

The Upward Turn

While the feelings are still very much there, starting to manage the symptoms starts to feel less difficult and well being starts to improve. Hope is not just an idea but almost tangible, a level of peace forms propelling the upward turn.

The information in this blog was cited from Better help Understanding The Stages Of Grief by Dylan Buckley Medically Reviewed By: Deborah Horton

My hope for writing this is educate myself and my family through the grieving process. Grief is complicated and personal to everyone, perhaps the best thing to do is contact a primary care provider and/or mental health provider to work through the process. Mental health conditions may lead to complicated grief. Postpartum depression, effective disorder, anxiety and panic attacks can make the symptoms of grief seem much worse.

Coping strategies

Be intentional about self care

Avoid Harmful behaviors

Talk to others

Don’t be afraid to seek professional Help.

If you are dealing with depression or having thoughts of self harm, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They provide free and confidential support during emotional difficulties and they’re available 24 hours, 7 days a week.

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