Neuroscientific advances have led to the identification of attachment neural networks in our brains. These networks create bonds with the people in your life.
Grief impacts on many aspects of brain function. From a neuroscientific perspective, grief is the action of the brain to build new networks and dismantle old ones to accommodate the loss of people in you life.
The Impact In Your Life
You recall memories of the person you have lost. So many people report the difficulties of bitter sweet memories.
You used to share information with that person and it helped you gain perspective. It enriched the experiences you shared. Many people tell me they no longer enjoy the things they used to do because the experience of doing something on their own is lacking the perspective of the person they used to do it with.
Grief can leave you feeling no longer in control of your feelings and reactions to things. You may find yourself crying uncontrollably, seemingly unable to stop. You may find yourself feeling angry at anything and unable to stop those feelings. You may find making decisions overwhelming.
Then there is pain. That pain may feel physical but your doctor can find no cause for it. But the experience of physical pain occurs in the same part of the brain as the experience of emotional pain. And your body experiences emotions in various parts of the body. Not surprising then that the strong emotions of grief can cause physical pain.
The Experience of Grief
The pain and confusion are horrible. It is not surprising if you want to run away from them. Equally, you may feel numb and want to do anything to feel something.
All this pain, confusion and numbness can only be managed by moving through it. Eventually the worst of it will over and you will learn to live with what is left.
You are walking a tightrope over the gulf of loss and everlasting memories of that person.
Your sense of self is totally disrupted. This is not surprising because you gain your sense of self from your relationships with others. If one who deeply mattered is gone, who are you? You need a new identity.
Identity can be tied with another person in many ways.
- The relationship you had with them: partner, parent, child, friend.
- Your identity in relationship with that person. Were you a parent and now you are not? Did you care for the person before they died and now they are gong you are not a person who cares for another?
- How do you perceive yourself as a parent without a child, or with one less? How do you perceive yourself as a person without parents or a parent? How do you perceive yourself as single? You had a relationship with the person who has died and who you were in that relationship no longer exists.
The Only Way Out
One thing you will eventually discover is that facing grief is the way out of this time of deep grieving.
When you learn to face grief and experience it you will learn how to reorganise yourself and your life to include your grief in it.
What You Can Do
Be gentle, self compassionate and open to seeking help from other people. Don’t turn away those who want to support you. It is okay to occasionally say you need a break from people, but do allow people in when you are able to.
Be willing to learn how to cope. Draw on what you already know and learn new strategies. You may find it beneficial to see a Grief Counsellor to assist you with this.
A Wise Perspective From An Old Woman
I wanted to finish on a wonderful perspective shared with me a long time ago.
A lovely woman who saw me some years ago had experienced much grief during her life. Now in her final years she was coming to terms with the losses of close friends as many came to the end of their lives.
At the end of our sessions together, she reflected on a lifetime of grief and rejoiced that she could remember all the wonder of each relationship and the precious memories she had of those times.
She reflected that at the time each loss was so painful. She had grieved so much for each one. She thought she would never feel better. But she was able to move on with the sweetness of that loss as a precious bitter sweet memory.
Now looking back on her life, she could see how precious each person was and how the relationships had been vital parts of her life. Each relationship had given her life a richness and meaning that far outweighed the pain of losing them. For that she was grateful.
Can I Help?
If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your grief, please contact me on 0409396608 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with interesting information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz