Now Grief Feels Like Nothing

Dad and Kitt Learning How to Brush Her Teeth
Dad and Me Learning How to Brush My Teeth

Unlike grief theories that propose defined stages, grief is not linear, nor is it universal. We grieve differently.

Now I feel nothing. I’m numb. My psychologist describes it as “taking care of business,” reframing what I’m going through, my coping mechanism, in a positive way.

Quoting MedlinePlus, NIH, U.S. National Library of Medicine at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001530.htm

Grief

People’s responses to grief will be different, depending on the circumstances of the death. For example, if the person who died had a chronic illness, the death may have been expected. The end of the person’s suffering might even have come as a relief. If the death was accidental or violent, coming to a stage of acceptance might take longer.

Symptoms

One way to describe grief is in five stages. These reactions might not occur in a specific order, and can occur together. Not everyone experiences all of these emotions:

  • Denial, disbelief, numbness
  • Anger, blaming others
  • Bargaining (for instance, “If I am cured of this cancer, I will never smoke again.”)
  • Depressed mood, sadness, and crying
  • Acceptance, coming to terms

People who are grieving may have crying spells, trouble sleeping, and lack of productivity at work.

Friday Was Tough

Note

I’ve received feedback that my delivery in this video is too clinical and offputting. Forgive me. I’m trained as a psychotherapist. No doubt I use my training and jargon not just to understand, but to defend myself, to distance myself. Plus, I just like big words.

Edited Transcript – “Ums” Removed

Yesterday was really intense. We had gotten, or I had received, a call from my parents’ memory care that my dad was… my parents were very upset because they were separating them into separate rooms.

There’s a good reason for separating them. When together they isolate and don’t let caregivers take care of them and don’t participate in activities and don’t socialize, and their health deteriorates. When they’re separated, which we’ve had them separated at different times since my mother’s had a stroke, they both participate in activities in their separate facilities. They actually do better. Both of them.

So, the idea was to have them in the same facility, but in separate rooms with same sex roommates. They can still visit each other. They can still see each other, but they have to sleep separately to try to see if we can break their co-dependent relationship. It’s a dynamic that’s not unusual. Problem is they take care of each other and don’t let other people take care of them. And, they need help. They can’t. They’re not really up for taking care of each other. They’re not up for taking care of themselves or each other.

I know that they love one another deeply, and we want to respect that. And, they still have the opportunity to have private time. That’s respected, as well. But in order for them to get the most out of the program that we’re paying for they have to participate in it. They have to let caregivers come in. They have to do things that exercise their brain, rather than deteriorate.

If we were to just let them isolate, then I would get the cheapest care possible and just… But I’ve already seen what that results in – which is unfortunately violent behavior and at times, even now, psychotic behavior – for which I’ve had to have my mom hospitalized a couple of times since her stroke.

The stroke has damaged not only just the part of her brain that handles language, but the part of her brain that handles impulse control. So any psychiatric illness that I may be heir to, and I am, is exacerbated by the brain damage.

So anyway, I just wanted to put that out there. I have writing that I’ve done, very scattered, and I want to touch on and that I haven’t really talked about, which is about… I’ll just go into it… My sister’s going to hate me for this. Which is about what it’s like growing up raised by raised in an alcoholic family. How challenging that is. What it’s like being raised by a parent who has no insight into her own illness or behavior. How it affects those who love her and who she loves.

There’s no doubt my parents loved us. Very well. Very much. But it was very hard for… I’ll speak for my own behalf.

I am thankful very much for my sister for being my reality test. When things seemed really crazy, we’d look at each other and go, this doesn’t make any sense. And, that, that’s huge. That’s huge.

But it’s a part of mental illness, not realizing that you have it. Not everybody has insight. Not everybody seeks help. Not everybody gets help. It has a devastating effect on those who love and are loved by someone with unacknowledged, undiagnosed, untreated mental illness or unacknowledged, undiagnosed, untreated alcoholism, dual diagnosis. It’s really tough.

Sometimes children raised in such an environment try desperately to please, thinking they can control behavior they can’t control. Hoping that they can earn love and avoid the emotional abuse that may come with behavior that is unpredictable, and that you can’t understand what you had done to bring it on because you hadn’t done anything to bring it on.

There you go.

Denial Fails Me Now, or F*ck Cancer!!!

National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health
GENETIC  TESTING FOR HEREDITARY CANCER

In group yesterday afternoon, my psychiatrist recommended genetic testing for hereditary cancer syndromes (of which there are 50). He advocated doing so to guide future medical care, rather than living in denial or in fear. I am not at risk, but my son and husband may be. They are private, as is my large extended family. My husband is one of eight children. Three of his four brothers either currently have or have had cancer. Those are not good odds. One brother recently went from stage 2B to stage 4 quite rapidly.

Please pray for my brother-in-laws, especially the one facing stage 4. Please pray for my husband, my son, and for all my in-laws and loved ones touched by cancer. Whether or not you are the praying sort, please join me in telling cancer exactly how we feel about what it does to those we love: F*CK YOU, CANCER!!!

For more information about Genetic Testing for Hereditary Cancer Syndromes from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health visit:

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/genetic-testing

The Outsider

As some of you may know, I struggle with bipolar disorder. I’m impetuous, speaking without thinking. I feel compelled to say what others won’t. And, by pointing out the elephant in the room, what is clearly obvious but no one dares state, I pay for it. I once again offend, infuriate, and alienate those I love. That is my role, the role of an outsider.