By Callie Wight
Nothing in this article is meant to be medical advice. Please consult your own healthcare provider.
Some info below taken from:
Back in August, I wrote an extended article on grief and trauma, but our little colony on the Hill keeps getting struck with tragic loss. Sometimes tragic loss brings the opportunity for acting courageously and honorably, a moment in which to be selfless.
Our little community on the Hill has experienced these heroic moments as well.
Perhaps it’s time to take another look at grief.
Sudden, unexpected, even untimely loss can shatter us; it can change everything we thought we knew about life in a matter of moments. The inconceivable has occurred and we are brought to our knees, swamped with overwhelming pain both emotional and physical.
For a time, even for a rather long time, there’s just no way to make any sense of it, even though we struggle to find reasons; to find solace in a cognitive path that we hope can set everything we know back in its proper place. We experience a felt-knowing of what the word “tragedy” truly means. But the pain of grief is feral, uncontrollable and relentless.
And perhaps we are not even meant to control it.
Stuffing emotions in the attempt to control this or any wild pain, trying to bear-up and have a stiff upper lip may actually stunt and prolong normal grief and not allow one to gradually move through and even grow with it.
The psychoanalyst Carl Jung once said, “What we resist, persists, embrace it, and it will dissolve.”
A while back in mental health, there was a notion, especially relevant when working with trauma survivors, that we called “frozen grief.” I’ve had clients describe it to me as feeling as if a huge block of solid dry ice was laid across one’s shoulders. Others have said they dare not cry because they fear that if they start to cry, they will never ever stop, as if that block of dry ice would melt all at once and one would be flooded by fearfully overwhelming emotions.
Psychotherapist Katherine Schafler (see Uplift link above) states it beautifully: “… you swallow your grief. It comes up in small spurts when you’re not paying attention, then you numb yourself to it somehow, then it jumps up more forcefully, then you numb yourself more heavily. That is the path of staying stuck in grief. The path loops. And people lose themselves on that path.”
She also offers a path through grief while honoring the truth of it.
“Understand your heart is broken.
“Recognize why it’s broken.
“Touch the grief.
“Move towards the epicenter of your grief, as it’s the only path to other side of your pain.
“… the grief you’re experiencing is yours … If you do feel ready to move through it, recruit professional support. You don’t have to do it alone.”
Callie Wight is a California state-licensed registered nurse with a Master of Arts in psychology.