On Grief

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This is going to be one of the posts which has nothing to do with real estate.  It is just me, thinking about an important issue that’s being slanted, misrepresented and corrupted, relative to the definition of the word or condition we call grief.

As I have said, I spend most of my TV time watching Youtube videos and reading nonfiction books, staying as far away from mainstream media as possible, as that venue has become completely owned and adulterated by nearly a single point of view, often at complete odds with the actual ‘mainstream’ schools of thought.  Much of media is now owned or ‘sponsored’ by pharmaceutical corporations, in fact, and if you find that unbelievable, please do your research.  You will find it to be true and it should give you pause, at the very least.  We are being herded like sheep into a corral where we hand over money to the super wealthy, as in corporations, as in stockholders, while the very ones picking our pockets are railing against ‘the wealthy’.  I can’t believe this is happening and that the mules on the cart path are just doo-dee-dooing along with the ‘program’.

I think that Scientific American article I read about how humans would breed ourselves out of existence was true.  That article said the average IQ would continue to decline to the point we were too stupid to come in out of the weather.  Well they said it more eloquently, more scientifically, than I just did.  Still, I believe I am seeing that paradigm unfold before my very eyes. 

I’m hearing the phrase ‘mental illness’  a whole lot, and from a particular couple who are pushing into media in order to survive financially, in my opinion.  Easier than getting a j-o-b.  This whole concept of mental illness is being coupled inexplicably with grief, in this case over the death of a family member who died decades ago by the way.  This couple are working very hard to get us to believe that grieving over the loss of a loved one is a mental illness.  Oh my God.

Anyway, it got me to thinking about a time in my life when I was in deep grief as well, and felt as though I was being chased around by people trying to lock me away due to ‘mental illness’.  It is as though more and more people are determined to have no emotions other than HAPPY! and never feel any pain because…there’s a drug for that, side effects be damned.  Ah, folks, pain is the signal that something is wrong somewhere, and if you don’t feel it, well…you can do more damage.  But I digress yet again.

Life is not supposed to be easy.  Life is complicated and intricately woven together with other lives and a profusion of circumstances over which we have no control.  So yeah, shit is going to happen, and resulting emotions will ebb and flow.  That is what we call normal.  There seems to be an effort to erase that word as well, but the truth is still the truth, and emotions are normal.

Merriam Webster dictionary defines grief this way: deep sadness caused especially by someone’s death; a cause of such suffering.  So yeah, grief doesn’t HAVE to be related to death, but there are events in life that feel like death… like divorce, the end of a family, a safe home, an important relationship.  It is normal to have grief in those situations too.

I heard, on one video, a person say that this person grieved more than the other person, both children of the deceased parent.  Well, no, talking head, they grieved ‘differently’.  And it is important to know that sudden, extreme grief effects people differently psychologically, depending on the age of the one grieving.  A nine year old will react differently than a 30 year old, and it is my strong belief that a person in puberty is MAY BE damaged more by grief than any other age, because of the stage of BRAIN development at that age.  And no, I am not a doctor, don’t even play one on TV, but I do pay attention, and I am a data collector.  So I see what I see, over and over and over.  In my PERSONAL observation of grieving people, the ones who are hit hard in puberty tend to get stuck there, psychologically, unless they have some really good support through the darkness of grief.  And for goodness sake, the one who seems to be ‘grieving less’ is STILL GRIEVING, so don’t hang that person out to dry.  Try to do a little research about grief and get it as right as you can from the perspective of support. 

In an article by Michael Merschel, he writes: Grief can reinforce brain wiring that effectively locks the brain in a permanent stress response, per Dr. Lisa Schulman.  Reference

How grief rewires the brain and can affect health – and what to do about it

By Michael Merschel, American Heart Association News

So yeah, grief is complicated.  It, in and of itself, is not a mental illness.  It is an emotional response to loss.  And it can be dealt with and it is important that it IS dealt with.   Any ‘spectator’ as I called the ones labeling me, should understand that grief is a perfectly normal response to loss, and that it NEVER goes away.   Rather, it shrinks back into the shadows until something triggers the memory of it.  Those triggers become weaker and happen less often over time, and I am talking years.  Therefore it is important for ‘loved ones’ to step up and offer support, a presence in the darkness who is there to keep the grieving one safe, to give them someone to lean on.  And it is important for the ‘spectators’ to understand that some of us grieve quietly and undemonstratively, while others wail and gnash their teeth, so to speak.  Grief is personal.  Pay attention and offer help accordingly; mostly not assuming that just because a person is quiet they are A-OKAY!  Just because a person in grief is not screaming does not mean they are not suffering.  And spectators need to allow the grieving person to grieve in their own personal way for as long as it takes, even if it is ‘inconvenient’.

I used to equate grief with dusty closed boxes in a dark attic.  If you want to get well, YOU have to go into the attic and turn on the light. See the boxes, and then with your big girl panties on (or big boy as it were), start opening the boxes one by one and examining the contents.  By facing the dark attic, putting light on it and examining the contents, one can conquer grief and REALIZE that grief is not a monster called ‘mental illness’.  Rather, it is much smaller, much more manageable, more ‘normal’ in the light.  But there can be a lot of boxes up there.  Could take a while.

Now, back to the point of all of this.  IF we suffer a loss, it is normal to grieve, and that grief is never going away, and it can cause permanent rewiring of the brain.  Why?  Because the worst grief causes us to look deeply into our connections in life, the ones still there, and do a thorough assessment.  Things change when you do that.  Trust me on that one.  Grief opens your eyes to things you may have never seen and forces you onto a completely different path, one without that loved one you lost.  Grief forces your insights inward, too, turns the mirror right back onto you, and makes you tell yourself the truth, and that is hard.  Still not a mental illness, folks.  But you might think so if you are are a permanent victim with a tendency to whine for the pacifier.

We seem to be turning into a society of victims, of pity seekers, of people in search of excuses for inappropriate behaviors.   Heads up:  There is not always “a pill for that”.  Sometimes you have to stand UP, face your pain, understand it is there for a REASON, and go about finding how to mitigate it.  That might be art, it might be walks in the park, it might be talking to someone you trust, it might be exercise, it might be meditation, all of which I highly recommend.  I wrote a book.  It focused my mind and kept me from picking at the wound.  Most of all while we are standing up, we need to give ourselves PERMISSION and TIME to grieve.  It is a PROCESS through which one must go, and it does get better.  And remember, grief doesn’t HAVE to come from the loss of a person; it can be from other types of loss.  So get busy with the process of healing yourself!  Yes, it helps to have others, but YOU have to be proactive about your own life!

That is, unless you choose to sit down and whine for pity.  My God you have to have as a goal, letting go.  You have to, at some point, stop hugging grief and welcoming it as a permanent resident.  I, as you may guess, have ZERO patience with that kind of behavior.  And this idea that because you lost a parent you have permission to tear down the world, particularly that of others, is just plain pathetic and frankly, unintelligent.  When someone says they had nobody to reach out to?  That’s a pity ploy.  There is ALWAYS someone, or many someones, THOUSANDS of someones, whom you can reach out to.  The difference is this:  If you are on the pity pot, you expect others to run to you while you sit and snivel; but listen up:  It is your job to reach out, your job to seek to release it.  Unless you are 7 years old or a pity seeker.  By the way, nobody can ‘make you feel better’.  That would be your job.  

And finally, remember that stress is a killer.  It makes all of the sense in the world to find a way to mitigate the stress of grief.  In my opinion and that of actual doctors, it is true that stress can and will kill you.  Not saying you have to go dancing, but you can paint your bedroom or rearrange furniture…or write a book.  Get busy.

And for goodness sake, STOP calling grief a mental ILLNESS.


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