It is easy when grieving to either allow ourselves to be sucked into the black hole where grief overwhelms us or choose to not feel the intense pain that comes with grief. On a continuum, one side would be "feel no pain", where you control your grief, and the other side would be "overwhelmed with pain", where grief controls you.
The people on the “feel no pain” end of the spectrum are described as being stoic. On this end, the people try to control their grief. The issue with stoic individuals is that they do not want to feel the pain. They take control and do their best to “stuff “ their feelings. They may be very successful at doing this by making themselves busy or going back to work too soon. Some have the ability to compartmentalize the pain and tuck it away in a “box.” Others use drugs and alcohol to mask the pain. No matter what method is used, what eventually occurs is that the grief comes back to bite them later.
The problem with the people on the “overwhelmed with pain” end of the spectrum is that the heaviness of grief completely swallows them up. The people on this end of the spectrum allow grief to control them. When they are completely consumed by the pain, they run the risk of becoming deeply depressed. This kind of depression is difficult to escape from.
So, you ask, what’s healthy? Seeking a place somewhere in the middle gives us the best self-care. It allows us to feel the pain as we are able to process it, and it doesn’t allow the pain to continue at an unbearable level. Our self-care lies between us trying to control our grief and our grief controlling us. This middle ground is where healing is most effective.
First, this requires that we allow ourselves to feel the pain (in whatever doses you can handle), but feel the pain nonetheless.
Allow yourself to cry.
Talk about it.
Write about it.
If angry, find a healthy outlet.
Secondly, we must find things that give us a break from the pain. And, we must NOT feel guilty about it.
Practically, we could:
Look for entertainment (sitcom, movie, book).
Seek fellowship (go out, do something with someone).
Do something that gives us enjoyment.
Finally, ask God for help. He is truly our source of hope and will walk with us through the grief process if we let Him.
Where are you right now on this continuum? Find ways to push yourself to the middle. Monitor where you are on the line and how you feel there… Is it more painful/comfortable? Is it more difficult/easy? Some discomfort is to be expected since you are grieving. Find a place where you can function, but also allows room for the grieving process.
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