Is Your Grieving Mind Tormenting You?
Loss is a universal part of life.
Grief is a natural, multifaceted response to loss even thought everything is cyclical.
The stars, the mountains, the grasses and the human all experience birth, life and death as implosion, erosion, withering and decay.
Yet when we experience the loss of our child, our spouse, our job our world shatters. The trustworthiness of nature is no comfort.
Our grieving mind torments us. It is our fault. We did not protect, measure up, do enough to avert this horrific loss.
Is Your Grieving Mind Causing Sleeplessness?
According to the research of Dr. Caroline Leaf “Thinking; or your mind, affects the entire body. There is mounting scientific evidence demonstrating the intimate relationship between the brain, the rest of the nervous system, the endocrine system and the immune system”. Is your grieving mind causing sleeplessness?
A Google search reveals the 5 Basic needs to survive are air, shelter, sleep, water and food. In extreme conditions, a human can survive 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. Notice where sleep is listed – before water.
Although the mechanisms of sleep are not well understood, the side effects of a lack of sleep are. Headaches can begin as soon as 24 hours after missing sleep. 72 hours in, memory is impaired and reality becomes distorted. At this point driving becomes very dangerous. After 96 hours without sleep, cognition is markedly impaired. After 144 hours, hallucinations begin, you are unable to concentrate or perform tasks. This lack of clear thinking can be life threatening.
Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First
So when your grieving mind is hyper-vigilant 24/7 because it is intending to protect us from another impending disaster, sleep is elusive.
Where you are in the grieving process matters. “In Raw Grief the brain is in a state of shock, confusion and disorientation. You feel raw, as if you have no skin. You experience crying non-stop and disrupted sleep and eating patterns and wonder if you are going crazy. It feels as though grief has spilled over the tapestry of your life, covering everything. Grief is ‘being done to you.’ You feel like a victim. In Fragile Grief sadness, anger and loneliness may last for months, years or the rest of your life if you do not go down into the vortex of grief, feel where grief lives in your body, lean into it, and learn from it. It feels as though grief is a thick, heavy rope that is running through the tapestry of tour life. You continue to feel like a victim, barely holding yourself together”. (Glossary A New Mourning: Discovering the Gifts in Grief.
You must have sleep. So when awakened, grab a pencil and yellow lined notepad to begin “The Self-Care Dump”. What’s that? It is emptying your regrets and worry onto the page. A way to put on your own oxygen mask first and truly give your brain that rest it requires and the oxygen it needs.
- Write down the regrets of the past- what just happened to life as you knew it.
- List all the worry of the future and fear of impending disaster.
- Begin to take inventory of the present moment: you you are feeling in your body, your thoughts in this moment, your emotions.
- Now breathe twelve times in through your nose and out through your mouth (Ah, nearly One Minute for Yourself)
- Bend your knees to place your feet flat on the bed and breathe for twelve minutes by simply noticing where the air goes in your body.
- Now go to the website below so you have a safe, effective sleep aid: