Hello out there; it’s been a while. Sadly, I have no earth shattering progress to report for the time being, but I have been keeping it together for the most part. I’ve been reading (and re-reading and re-reading) A Time to Grieve by Carol Staudacher and can relate to the majority of the thoughts and feelings expressed by the survivors. The great thing about this book is that it’s designed to be read a page at a time, which fits rather well with my current ability to concentrate.
This morning, there were a couple of entries that struck me:
“I get so tired of having to put up a front and say I’m okay when I’m not.”
“Being in public takes its toll.”
The crux of the first is that when others ask how we are, we are likely to respond with “fine, thank you” even though we are not okay. (I am long past being able to put up such a front and fluctuate between trying to reacquire the will to be able to pretend again and saying screw it while allowing the brutal honesty to fly. I’m sure at times people are thinking “Put it back in! Put it back in! I know too much!”, but I just don’t have the energy or desire to pretend anymore a lot of the time). Anyway, the point is that we are so concerned with being socially acceptable that we don’t reach out for support when we need it most. I can relate. The author urges survivors to let those who are close enough or caring enough in and not try to hide their feelings or disguise their state of mind.
The second phrase is followed up with the quote: “When one is pretending, the entire body revolts.” It discusses the enormous amount of energy that is used up doing things that we perceive as being socially required. Staudacher states that trying to create and maintain an artificial front contributes to that stress, which manifests itself in a variety of ways throughout the body (headaches, insomnia, the inability to concentrate, the impulse to be on the move, to name a few). She urges survivors to be kind to themselves by reducing the amount of time and effort they put into doing what seems socially required, avoiding false situations or performing in a way that differs significantly from their truest selves. She reminds survivors that their bodies will revolt against pretending and encourages them to look after themselves by not forcing certain actions or responses, regardless of the pressure put on them to do so.
Smart lady. A big shout out to the person who gave me this book. It’s been really helpful; thank you very much. I’ve given copies to a few other people who are struggling to come out on the other side of their own grief. Hopefully it will be a useful tool to help them work through too.