The brain fog of grief is a natural part of grieving. Your mind is preoccupied with sadness, loneliness and other emotions which leaves little room for your cognitive functions, memory and concentration. This is normal and common, even though it is frustrating.
It is easy for us and those around us to forget that we may have suffered a tremendous life altering loss, and yet we wonder why we aren’t functioning normally.
We like to say grievers are suffering from the “Four D’s”:
So what can you do about it?
1. Remind yourself that you are normal! What’s that? Yes, normal! This is a normal and common reaction to an extraordinary loss.
2. Lower your expectations. You are not going to be able to be as fast and focused. Don’t put too much on your plate. Lighten your load where you can. Hand off responsibilities where you can, get help and in some cases, get someone to check your work.
3. Give yourself extra time to do things, get places, and get things done. Even reading can take longer because we don’t process as quickly.
4. Make lists. Keep something with you at all times. If you want to use your phone or a notepad, that’s great. We encourage you to keep a pad and pen by your bed.
5. Give yourself grace. You should not be operating on all cylinders. If someone had a broken leg, you would not expect them to walk as fast as they used to. Well, grievers have broken hearts and need a time of recovery, too. It’s not an injury that is seen, but it’s there.
This grief brain can come and go, so don’t think you will be done with it after a month or after the service. It comes and goes during your recovery period as your body is trying to adapt. It’s important to remember that there is nothing wrong with you!
Questions to Ponder:
- Now that you understand the impact of grief brain, where can you lower expectations or give yourself some grace?
- How can you look at some things differently? (realizing you need more time or you can’t do everything)
In everyone’s life, we experience moments that mark the end of a chapter in our life stories. At such times, you will feel the impact in many domains of your life.
The loss of a deeply loved person in your life may have produced unbearable emotional pain, paralyzing fear, unrelenting anxiety, unanswered questions and often the loss of hope, purpose, and dreams. Some grievers feel their sense of self has been ripped away. Too often, mourning people have shared with us, “I don’t know who I am anymore.”
Beyond the painful loss of your loved one, you may also be struggling with secondary losses such as financial, legal, relational, or vocational issues. There are usually so many other losses caused by the loss of your loved one. “Is it any wonder that your world has been rocked?”
You may have found yourself pretending to be strong, ignoring your pain, or avoiding the reality of the direct hit you’ve taken. Alternatively, you might wonder why you seem out of control due to a lack of energy, radical emotional shifts, and diminished mental capacity. Either or both reactions to loss are understandable and perhaps even necessary to help you survive in the meantime. Please remember – survival is initially your top priority. So don’t expect too much from yourself for quite a while.
And, if you haven’t yet really acknowledged the depth of your loss, don’t worry. You’ll get there. And, we’re going to walk alongside you, in a virtual sense, throughout your journey if you’ll let us. You don’t have to walk this road alone.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER:
- What might prevent you from acknowledging the depth of your loss and how your world has been rocked?
- Are you able to accept that the loss you suffered has really hurt you and that your reactions are natural and normal?
- Will you give yourself some grace during this time of recovery?
Podcasts can be a great way to get some support and encouragement for your grief journey. We have a page on podcasts in the My Grief Toolbox section of MyGriefCare™. If you have found a great podcast that isn’t listed below, please share it with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
PODCASTS FOR GRIEF
Mindfulness and Grief Hosted by author and thanatologist Heather Stang, features compassionate insights for coping with grief and life after loss. Designed for bereaved people and grief professionals, you will learn how a mindful approach to grief can help you deal with difficult emotions, cultivate self-care and self-compassion, and honor the relationship that remains.
Grief Out Loud Grief Out Loud is opening up this often avoided conversation because grief is hard enough without having to go through it alone. We bring you a mix of personal stories, tips for supporting children, teens, and yourself, and interviews with professionals.
Open to Hope Feeling discouraged? Relax and tune into the Open to Hope podcast and hear Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley interview guests with inspiring stories about recovery from loss.
What’s Your Grief In this podcast series Eleanor Haley and Litsa Williams, the two mental health professionals behind the grief website What’s Your Grief, seek to leave no stone unturned in demystifying the complicated and sometimes crazy experience of living life after loss.
While We’re Waiting Podcasts FOR bereaved parents BY bereaved parents.
Here After with Megan Devine Get practical insight and advice from psychotherapist and grief advocate Megan Devine
Widowed Mom A place for those who have lost their significant other and are ready to start the next chapter of their lives. It’s designed to help you move through your grief to grow, evolve and create a future you can actually look forward to!
Widow We Do Now A surprisingly funny podcast on grief.
Just a Widow Talk Voices of spouse and partner loss.
Let’s look at apps that can support your grief journey. We have a page on Apps in the My Grief Toolbox section of MyGriefCare.com. When we refer to Apps, in case you are not familiar with the term, we are primarily speaking of downloadable programs for your mobile devices (e.g., smartphones and tablets).
APPS FOR GRIEF
A social network for those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Good Grief is free and helps grieving people to privately connect, chat, and support each other in finding a new normal. GoodGrief is for people ages 18 and up. GoodGrief works by connecting you with others who lost a loved one due to various causes. Create a private profile by answering questions related to your loss. Then, connect to other people through a one-on-one in-app texting service. Your private information is never seen publicly and chats are private and secure. Additional filters narrow your connections by age, gender, religion, time frame, and type and cause of loss. Apple Store. Google Play.
Empathy gives you personalized, step-by-step guidance through the challenges of losing a loved one, from practical, legal, and financial details to emotional support. Empathy.
Appropriate for kids age 4 and up. Smiles and Tears is like a virtual diary where kids can document their favorite memories of the person they lost. They can add pictures, release balloon messages, fill a memory jar, and even send virtual “gifts” to their loved one. It provides an interactive tool to record memories, send gifts and write thoughts, feelings, and emotions. As well as these interactive tools, Nelson’s Journey provides tips on how to manage emotions such as anger, confusion, guilt, loneliness, etc. which are common when someone has been bereaved of a special person. Apple Store.
Apart of Me is a charity that supports children, young people, and parents through loss and trauma. They aim to be your trusted guide through life’s biggest challenges. They empower you to work with ‘difficult’ emotions and discover your strength and wisdom hidden in the darkest places. Their multi-award-winning therapeutic game, which was co-created by experts in child psychology and bereaved young people, is at the core of what they do. It translates bereavement counseling techniques into a magical 3D world and is free to use. Apple Store. Google Play.
An app aimed at promoting well-being through meditation and mindfulness techniques. You can begin with a ‘basics’ taster and choose to subscribe for regular updates. Headspace founder Andy Puddicombe says: “You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment.” The app is available to download on the Apple App Store, and Google Play. Please scroll to the bottom of their homepage for links: https://www.headspace.com/science.
APPS FOR ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, OR SLEEP PROBLEMS
#1 app for sleep, mediation, and relaxation
Description from their website: “Youper is the only mental health service that understands you and provides care that fits your unique needs, preferences, and budget. With or without insurance, Youper has an affordable plan for you.
You can start with digital therapy, choose to receive care from coaches and therapists who really listen to you, or get an evaluation and diagnosis from a doctor. No matter your plan, Youper is available 24/7 to support you wherever and whenever you need it.”
If you have found a great app that has helped you, please share it with use at email@example.com.
Whether your loss was recent or it has been some time, you probably have already figured out that society doesn’t understand much about grief, nor does it equip us to know what to do after a devastating loss. We live in a society that wants to avoid pain – not talk about it, pretend we’re okay, cover it up, numb it, or just power through it. Have you noticed how uncomfortable people can be around your grief?
This can leave grievers very confused and believing things like:
- We should be doing better than we are, so there must be something wrong with us.
- We need to figure out how to fix this.
- We are alone and misunderstood because people around us just don’t get it – so, again, there must be something wrong with us.
So please hear us when we tell you that you are not crazy, there is nothing wrong with you, and you don’t need to be fixed! You have suffered an intense loss – possibly a life-changing event.
Megan Devine says in her book; It’s Okay Not to Be Okay (which we highly recommend) “Grief is not a problem to be solved; it’s an experience to be carried. The work here is to find – and receive – support and comfort that helps you live with your reality. Companionship, not correction, is the way forward. “
We hope that MyGriefCare™ can companion you through your journey.
You might have to change the way you think. The goal is not to get your grief over as quickly as possible. We can assure you that it doesn’t work that way. Embracing your grief is the true path to where you hope to be. That can be a scary thought, but we promise you that this is the right way.
Earl Grollman said, “Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.”
Well, we know there is no “cure” for grief. But we can tell you that the only way to the other side of grief and suffering is to walk through it and experience it – in your time and in your way. And you don’t have to do it alone.
Please don’t judge or criticize yourself. Allow yourself permission to grieve. Tell the truth about how you feel. Be gracious to yourself. The last thing you need is to think you “aren’t doing this right.”
Questions to Ponder:
- Can you think of any incorrect information you believed about grief
- How has that impacted you?
Let’s start changing your thinking today!