I’ve been quiet lately. Out of commission. Taking it easy.
This holiday season brings tough firsts. First Thanksgiving since my father died in April. First Christmas coming up. My sister and I plan to remember him and observe our family Christmas traditions. We need each other. We miss our dad.
Seasonal affective disorder hit hard, too. As the days got shorter, I cocooned, became seasonally and situationally depressed. Seasonal depression, bipolar disorder and now my grief overwhelm me at times.
Taking care of myself….mostly. Seeing my psychiatrist and psychologist. Going to a grief support group at Jewish Federation & Family Services. Reaching out and asking for help, for support, when I need it.
SO IMPORTANT that you ask for and accept help. My insight into my need for help, reaching out for it and accepting it, has KEPT ME ALIVE.
When I was 18 years old and suicidal, realizing I needed help, asking for it and accepting it made all the difference.
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.
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.