Sunday, February 12, 2012

Diagraming Your Emotions While Grieving

When you are on a grief journey, your whole reality changes. You are no longer the person you were before the death of your beloved child. You are facing the hardest challenge in your life. It is an emotional challenge to return to the living and move on with your life. Emotions can be overwhelming and many can not think clearly when on a grief journey. Your mind may wonder; you may have trouble focusing; you may have trouble making simple decisions or you may even think you are going crazy. Your mind may be confused, and you could feel disoriented.

You will need to find a new normal after the death. For some, grief can be more manageable if you can visually see your thoughts and feelings on paper. I encourage you to try this diagram exercise to see if it can be of help to you. .

As an example, in the middle of the paper put the words “GRIEF JOURNEY.” There are many different ways you can handle this exercise. First, draw lines from the middle of the circle and

(1) label each line with a thought or feeling that has come about because of your loved one dying. For example on one line you can put “anger.”. Next to the word, list why you feel angry. Another line could have the word “frightened” and you could list next to it what frightens you now that your child is gone. The word “emptiness” might also work for you. Or you may want to

(2) label your lines as to what will help you through your journey. For example, you could list “caring friends.” And next to it, list what friends can do to help you. Or another list could be “exercising” and what you would do to keep healthy.

Another way to do this diagram would be to change the middle of the circle to another topic related to your loss.

(3) use the middle of your circle as a label for “LIST OF GOALS” for the next year. This could be something as simple as cleaning out your child’s closet, redecorating your home, learning to play the piano or listen to music to sooth the spirit, whether it be rock, blues, classical or folk (music can be very healing). List as many as you can think of.

(4) Another topic for the middle of your circle can be “WHAT GIVES ME PLEASURE” during the day. You can include on your lines: reading, exercising, gardening or just working on the computer. They are all ideas you can do with little effort as you work your way through the pain. Think of some more for yourself.

When you get finished with your circle, explain what you have written to your spouse or your best friend. This diagram may allow them to understand how you are feeling much better and in turn, they might be able to help you on your journey through grief.

Don’t think for one minute that this will cure you and make the pain go away. But by expressing your true emotions, perhaps you can move towards healing very slowly, rather than be stuck and not know what to do. According to Alan Wolfelt, grief specialist, “We honor our emotions when we give attention to them.”

Without denying how much you are hurting, you still have a lot to be thankful for. Your life still has meaning; it just takes time to feel those emotions and act on them.

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