I’ve been blogging this month about the physical reactions to grief as well as helping ourselves through this miserable journey. Although our commonality is that our baby died, how we react and put our lives back together again is as individual as a fingerprint.
Some of us can do it with the help of our family and friends, join a support group whether virtually or in a brick and mortar conference room, being creative with our grief whether it be through writing/journaling or through the medium of art. Whatever works for you that bring you moments of peace in your misery is worthwhile. For others, this will only work so far.
If you are feeling so overwhelmed that you don’t know how you can get through your grief, you feel like you aren’t functioning and don’t think you ever will I would suggest you see a therapist/counselor to help you.
The “funny” thing about grief is that if you don’t deal with it and work through it, it doesn’t go away. It is still there living inside of you and it has to get out. It is not unusual for people to seek answers in alcohol or drugs to numb their pain. These “solutions” may mask your emotions and prevent you from the normal and very necessary grieving process. And again your grief is still living inside of you.
As I’ve said before in my previous blogs and in my book, Swimming Lessons from Lukas (out September 19), I didn’t seek out a therapist and I’m sorry. 37 years ago, I didn’t even think of seeing a therapist. I went to see a therapist when my mother died (6 years previously) because I was having panic attacks and terrible headaches. Those symptoms didn’t appear with Lukas’ death. Yes friends and family told me how sorry they were, but they were tired of seeing me sad and wanted their Nancy back. Their message was that I was young, could have other children and time was a great healer so move on. So I truly suffered alone and thought at times thought this is how I’m going to feel for the rest of my life and I hope it is a short life because who can feel this broken for years.
Times have changed and the resources available for grief and mental health counseling have increased. Every hospital has multiple support groups for every kind of illness and loss. Mental health practitioners advertise their work with grief stricken patients. If you Google grief specialists, pages of providers will come up.
Some people may feel judged or stigmatized if they reach out for professional help. If you think you friends and family will make you feel like that, then don’t tell them you are going for counseling. I believe it is a sign of good mental health to know you can’t do this alone and you need help to get better. If you feel you have to justify yourself, use the analogy we all do. If my leg was broken, I would go see the doctor for him to fix it. I am broken. I need the professional to help you fix myself.
Two weeks ago, I wrote in my blog that help is out there if you allow it. (http://nancyhovatter.com/help-is-on-the-way-if-you-allow-it/)
These are the people who can help us in our journey. I called them members of our village. Allow yourself to reach out to them. They can make all the difference in your well-being.