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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sunshine Through the Darkness

It is amazing how wonderful the sun feels after several days of rain, the brightness, the warmth are so very welcome, we feel rejuvenated.  We have had 4 days straight of rain and we all began to feel the effects of the dreary, dark weather.  We felt tired, dragged out, in the morning many of us wished that we could just stay in bed.  It is the type of weather that has us just wanting to curl up with a book, or take a nap in the middle of the day.

It made me realize that grief is similar, in that we seem to be surrounded by the dark, dreary days that come with the realization that someone we love has died.  Once the initial shock has warn off, we begin to feel exhausted, drained, washed out, we want to just sleep or be left alone.  As the days progress the feelings become so heavy that we feel so tired just hours after getting up in the morning.  

After I lost my daughter, within weeks I started to feel tired and every inch of my body began to ache.  I felt as if I were 110 years old; climbing a flight of stairs, was like trying to scale Mt. Everest, it seemed almost impossible.  I would awake in the morning, after barely sleeping, thinking maybe today I can get something done, only to become acutely aware of how exhausted and drained I felt after only being awake for 2 hours.  It was unbelievable, never in my life had I ever felt this way, even when I had pneumonia, I had not felt this drained.  I called my doctor, she had me come in and explained to me that these were symptoms of depression.  When we experience life changing events in our lives, depression can come as a result.  It may happen as a result of the death of a loved one, separation due to divorce, or even something as happy as changing careers or buying a new home.  My physician explained further that depression can and often manifests itself in physical symptoms, as was the case with me.  It also leaves us vulnerable to all sorts of illnesses, in the first six months after my daughters death, I caught a cold every other week.

I had mentioned in an earlier posting that our bodies react to events in our lives, sometimes protecting us and at others leaving us feeling so useless.  Luckily with the help of my doctor, an appointment was made for me with a counselor, and she was a tremendous help to me during this period in my life.  She helped me sort through the depression, understand the waves that sometimes tossed me about, and helped me to see that it was all part of the 'process' that I was going through.  As the months passed I became more aware of my reactions, and I began to fully understand why people can sometimes do what appears to be crazy things, while dealing with a dark time in their lives.   At times I would feel as if I could do almost anything not to feel the pain, not to hurt so deeply, and how I longed to be free from the nightmares that sometimes haunted my nights.  

I would often go to bed only to be unable to sleep because my mind would be racing with thoughts.  My sleep was fitful to say the least, and there wasn't much that could distract me or get my mind off the thoughts of what had happened.  I still experience bouts of sadness, and certain events or dates can and do leave me feeling tired, but I am able to work and function.  There are still many things that no longer are of interest to me, but in time I feel that this too will begin to change.  

I am beginning to see the sun, to feel its brightness and its warmth, I know there will still be clouds once in a while, but that's okay.  I will take is slowly, savor those days and know that the hurting is part of the healing, and like the sun that shines through the clouds, spreading its rays all around us, the love we share will reach out to us from behind whatever darkness we are experiencing.  I cannot say it enough, reach out, find someone whom you can talk to, share your emotions and thoughts.  When we put a voice to what we are feeling, we can begin to learn how to deal with it and find healthy ways of coping. You do not have to be alone in your pain, there are many people who may not know what you are going through, but do understand the pain of loss.  So take that first step and seek out someone you can trust or professional help, start sharing your pain, emotions, and feelings, and begin to let the sunshine in.

Blessings! and until we meet again.

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