Helping Yourself Mentally

The process of grief extends far beyond emotions to encompass the function of the entire body.  When overloaded the body protects itself by shutting down and conserving resources.  Memory, reasoning capacity and the ability to concentrate are diminished as a result of grief.  Furthermore, family members who remain often have additional responsibilies to learn and take over.  The combination of decreased mental capacity and increased level of responsibility can leave the person overwhelmed and can limit their functioning.

Relief is Possible
In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unaware. The older have learned to ever expect it. I am anxious to afford some alleviation of your present distress. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You can not now realize that you will ever feel better. Is not this so? And yet it is a mistake. You are sure to be happy again. Remember in the depth and even the agony of despondency, that very shortly you are to feel well again. To know this, which is certainly true, will make you some less miserable now. I have had experience enough to know what I say; and you need only to believe it, to feel better at once.

Abraham Lincoln

We must experience grief to move through it
And I felt like my heart had been so thoroughly and irreparably broken that there could be no real joy again, that at best there might eventually be a little contentment. Everyone wanted me to get help and rejoin life, pick up the pieces and move on, and I tried to, I wanted to, but I just had to lie in the mud with my arms wrapped around myself, eyes closed, grieving, until I didn’t have to anymore.


Anne Lamott

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  From Our Experience

Lack of energy and enthusiasm for life plagued me early on in my grief, but I felt comfort when I read in “A Grief Observed,” how author C. S. Lewis experienced the same overwhelming and draining fatigue after the death of his wife. He described his inability to focus and participate in simple conversations and how his grief seemed to drain all of his vitality and energy.
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The first year was hardest for me too. Second hasn’t been easy but as far as the depth of grieving it was less. The hardest part of the second year was just hitting that year mark and realizing this was never going away, he was never coming back. That hit me hard at the year mark. First year shock, second year reality.


  Common Grief Reactions

Grief is the normal emotional response to the loss of a loved one.

  • Emotional numbness and loss of interest in life.
  • Shock, disbelief or denial right after loss occurs.
  • Loneliness and Anxiety from being separated.
  • Mourning and periods of sadness accompanied by crying.
  • Anger or guilt
  • Physical symptoms such as fatigue, loss of increase of appetite, and  inability to sleep or concentrate

As you work through normal grief you will come to an acceptance of your loss and you should be able to continue to function in everyday life even though days will still be hard and difficult.  If you find yourself lingering in these emotions and unable to function, it is important to seek medical help.

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