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My Grief Was Screaming At Me

February 19, 2012

I had no idea how messed up I was as the result of my grief. It started to intensify after visiting my family in Ottawa and then taking my sister to Mexico. No having family where I live has been very tough for me. I have great friends and this is important but I miss having family near by since my life changed so radically due to MS.

The grief has been with me since I was diagnosed. It come and goes but after these trips when I return to solitude in my empty home, I was a mess. No pet to greet me (post for another time), there I was as a self-employed person all by myself after spending night and day with family for three weeks.

I started to cry randomly and the fatique in my brain ramped itself up and my ability to cope dropped dramatically. Some weeks the only project I was able to put my focus towards was my  business book project. I felt guilty about no focusing on client work – although the impending deadlines were totally within reach and not urgent in any way. LIfe got very hard. You know what – at the time, I didn’t know it was grief that was taking me down. I do suffer from minor depression but rarely does it really take me out the way this wave of grief was smashing me around like the best surfing waves on the planet.

It took me about three or four weeks to figure out that it was grief. Once I did, I was able to express it to my support network of friends. This was a good thing because they started to check in with me more often to make sure I as okay. That was such a relief. It didn’t stop the pain or the random crying bouts. There bouts would last from 20 seconds to 10 minutes.

Once I realized the grief wasn’t just a overnight house guest, I booked a few appointments with my counsellor. The first one we talked and processed stuff I was struggling with about other – anger, disappointment, frustratation – this session was actually prior to be have the lightbulb moment about how much I was steeping in grief.

The second appointment was focus on finding my way through the grief – basically some grief relief:) We used a process called EMDR (Eye Rapid Movement Thearpy – okay I don’t the exact ackrocym for this).  Anyhow, my counsellor is a buddhist and this is being my path as well so her approach is very much about observing the self – thoughts, feeling, images that arise during the EMDR process. It works deep into the subconscious where are core beliefs and pain are held.

Through this process, I was able to move from a place of the grief screaming in my face in a very loud, angry and violent way to me transforming into a ball (like a large yoga ball) that was dark metallic red with a white one inch or more layer of protection from being accosted by the grief. This was a very powerful place to end off. That session happened on Tuesday and now it is Sunday and I am doing really well.

The coolest thing happened. I realized how much the grief waas causing my exhaustion. Meanwhile, I was thinking it was all about the MS but it was a combination of both. As a result, I was able to function much better the days following the EMDR session. It doesn’t me I am free of feeling fatigue or low energy, it just means that it is less intense. I am grateful for this.  True be known, any relief from feel totally dragged out is an amazing thing:)

Lastly, before I left the session, one of the things we explored was looking at where the MS was in my body. At that moment it was definitely hanging out in my head. Yesterday it was hangnig out in my mouth (see metal mouth post). What this exercise helped me to discover is that I can separate myself from the MS. I have been trying to figure out how to do this for some time without any success. It’s like everyday, I think about, just like I think about my ex-partner who I left while was was going through the throws of poor health.

Now I still think about the MS lots but I have a tool in the toolbox to manage how I think about in a way that is better for me emotionally. It separates me from the MS when I think about where is it in my body. So in this moment as I just felt a tiny prelude of fatique, I asked myself where is it in my body right now. The answer was at the front of my head in my forehead. I am noticing it rather than pushing it away, yet I am not attached to it in the same way. This is a peaceful solution for me. It won’t free me completely from suffering  all the time but it will give me coffee breaks. I am happy to take as many coffee breaks as possible – even if I don’t like or drink coffee:)

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2 Comments
  1. parentingalive permalink

    Lovely to read. I feel we have a lot in common in the way we look at grief. I’ve found the teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn have really helped me, even though my issues are completely different – they’re kind of universal teachings for dealing with pain of any sort. I’m glad you have such a beautiful support on this path in having a Buddhist Counselor – what a gift. I hope you continue to find peace on your journey.

    • Thanks for bringing up Thich Nhat Hahn. My councellor is the one who exposed me to his teachings, particularly walking meditation which I have embraced. TNH was in Vancouver last year and I attended is afternoon presentation the the Orpheum Theatre. His teaching are very progressive and his approach to mediation is simple.

      There are many ways to deal with grief and mediation is definitely an excellent tool for grief, saddnesss and depression.

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