3 Tips on How to Manage the Grieving Stage
It’s been some time since I’ve written a new post. Winter has a habit of bringing some very unwanted gifts without the option to return it. The evening of Christmas, I was watching a movie with my boyfriend when I began feeling extremely nauseated (more than usual). I excused myself to the restroom and to my surprise, I actually started to get sick!
I haven’t thrown up in years. It takes a lot for me throw up, which is why I was so shocked. I was experiencing vertigo earlier in the week, and I wondered whether my mystery illness had something to do with that. After realizing this wasnt going to stop, I returned home to find that the entire household was sick with the same thing.
It was more than the stomach flu. We believed it may have been the Norovirus considering our symptoms and how extremely contagious it was. We never went to have the doctor confirm it because the Norovirus has you throwing up constantly the first couple days, and then forces you to be in the restroom the next.
I did, however, go to the doctor yesterday and told her about everything that happened as well as discussed pain management for my TBI. She’s worried that we are coming down to the end of the rope on medication, but she did have a few suggestions. I told her that I’ve also decided to resume taking a medication that I had stopped in regards to depression.
The doctor then told me that she believes I’m still in the grieving phase of my brain injury and that it’s only adding to my already troublesome symptoms. I agreed but I don’t think of it. She mentioned the comparison game. I see people my age around me who are further in life than I am and I unknowingly compare myself and my life to them and their life. So of course that’s going to add on to stress.
I went home and thought about what all she said at the appointment and I felt it was a good idea for me to consider ways on how to maneuver through the grieving process of having a TBI. There are a couple of pages that you can check out which will give you a better understanding of TBI challenges. Simply click the links below!
Let’s jump right in to my tips that either I use or realize I should be using:
1. Don’t play the comparison game.
This tip seems pretty obvious but after the appointment I realized that you can start playing the game without even realizing it. Unconsciously speaking, you are probably going to see friends or schoolmates on Facebook or social media who are where you feel you should be in life and then compare your current situation to them. However, we must avoid doing that if we can because it’s only going to add to the stress and strain of your illness or injury.
When we do unconsciously play the comparison game, we never incorporate ourselves with having the illness or injury. In the game, we are healthy and we compare ourselves to our healthy friends or schoolmates. So of course, we are going to get down on ourselves on our situation. Problem is, we don’t factor in the biggest obstacle that we have compared to everyone else. This completely changes the outcome of the game.
I’ve never done this, but I wonder how the game would pan out if I played it according to real life. Or, even if I play the game with myself and the person I’m comparing myself with to to be sick or injured. That certainly changes things. Most likely, that person would be where I am or even further behind in life, and this would give me the opportunity and realization to be thankful for how far I have come since the hospital.
2. Don’t make a timeline.
Again, this might seem obvious but most of us who have a chronic illness or injury understand that this task is harder than it seems. This also incorporates the comparison game. While playing the game we are also creating an unrealistic time frame from which we must abide by. For example, I have a lot of people who I went to school with who are on their third or fourth child. Should I create a timeline to match that life?
No. That’s something I shouldn’t do. I’ve spent a huge majority of my life in school while others have not. Basically, there are too many factors to incorporate to create a realistic and reachable timeline by which I should follow. This further proves why doing so should be avoided completely.
I would have to factor in:
- their age
- the time spent in school
- their relationship or overall social status
- any and all health concerns they have
- their time spent working
And I’m sure there are many others but this is only a brief list to show why making a timeline for yourself isn’t a logical choice. As stated, there are too many factors to incorporate to realistically compare yourself with another person.
3. Make sure to utilize your support system.
No one can give you an exact time for how long your grieving phase will last. It wouldn’t be wise to rush it either because you wouldn’t be giving your whole self the time it needs to move past the traumatic event which started the grieving to begin with. I’m truly not a fan of counselors. I prefer to speak to someone whom I know and trust, however, that is only for me. I’d never tell someone else that they should not seek out a counselor if they need it.
I now have about three or four people who I can speak to on my thoughts and circumstances that might be causing emotional stress in my life and I trust these people as well as value their opinion. I know that these people would not put me in harm’s way or steer me in the wrong direction. Even if you have only one person in your life that you trust and can speak to during your time of grieving; it’s essential that you use them to help you through it.
It’s not logical, or I should say healthy, to tackle the situation alone. Your mind will be full of thoughts and concerns which will continue to build causing even more symptoms. I’m speaking of insomnia, depression, extreme anxiety, and more. You certainly don’t need any of those to add to your time of grieving.
I have trouble with tips 1 and 2. It’s something I need to work on and that I need to reflect on as well as consider what it’s doing to my emotional health. Stress, as most of you already know, causes further illness than what you are already struggling with. By taking these tips into consideration, you’ll not only be reducing the amount of emotional stress you already endure, but you will also be giving your mind the time it needs to grieve accordingly.