Socrates talked about death possibly being the greatest gift to humanity.
There is no way for us to know. He wrote it is arrogance stemming from complete ignorance to think we know it is bad. Steve Jobs thought death might be the single greatest invention of life. I have found grief from my loved ones death to be quite painful, although it’s possible it is what makes life precious. I don’t know. Anyway it is the price we pay for truly loving another human being and it sucks.
Some of the worst cases of grief I have personally witnessed are when the person has a lot of their identity tied up in the person that has passed. For example being a caregiver for a family member/spouse. Being married a really long time with not a lot of interests outside of the marriage. They get the double hit of grief plus the crisis of identity. Who am I now that this person is gone? It is very easy for this person to get really depressed and they should not hesitate to get professional outside support.
Unfortunately a lot of people eat their grief and usually they show up at our practice some time later. There is nothing wrong with eating your negative emotions for a little while. We all do it to a certain extent but long term it is not a good strategy. It is an easy trap to fall into and once you establish that pattern it can be tough to break even after you get to a better place emotionally.
Here are some simple strategies for creating a new pattern that is less reliant on eating your negative feelings.
- Spending more time outdoors (beach, park, mountains)
- Lifting Weights 60 to 90 minutes a week (very effective)
- Get a pet
- Volunteer/Charity work (very fulfilling)
- Reach out to old friends (They help you remember who you are)
- Spend time with people you love
- Do acts of service for people you love (Always good)
- Pursue/study things that you are naturally curious about
- Plan trips with your people/Go places you always wanted to go
- Do simple things that you have always enjoyed (reading, crafting, cards, etc)
My favorite strategy for dealing with grief is how do you want to honor the deceased?
A patient recently described this concept perfectly to me as how are you going to carry this person with you moving forward. You have to decide how you want to carry them with you moving forward and you have to decide quickly. Her friend became an immaculate stylish dresser to honor her father because he was. So every day that was her tribute to him.
Thank you, Dr Chris Steidinger