Colleen Watkins
  • Female
  • winter haven
  • United States
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At 10:58am on March 29, 2010, David Fireman said…
Colleen: It sounds like a very hard time for you. There are a good many ways to get through difficult periods of time. First, it's important to have a mindset that you are not helpless. Once you get firmly established that you can do some things to make life more bearable, then you can get busy and implement some of the following suggestions. Express feelings as they come. It's not only okay to grieve, but it's important to grieve. Grief is a process that may be painful, but it has healing qualities. So tolerate difficult emotions and express them to yourself and others. Anger, sadness, frustration, loneliness, vulnerability, helplessness, emptiness and others may all be present. The grieving process can be very painful because of the intensity and range of feelings that arise. It is healthier to let them be and not try to sweep them under the rug. But it's not okay to express these feelings in a way that harms yourself or others. It isn't the feelings themselves that can cause damage; it's what we do with them or how we express them that needs to be monitored. So be aware of any burdens you put on others. You can't ask people to go beyond what they can tolerate. There's no point in being bitter if they simply can't keep listening and absorbing your grief. Ask from them only what they can give. Another way to help yourself through this time is to honor the memory of your loved one. Acknowledge their importance to you and make up ceremonies that express that awareness. Through thoughts, feelings, traditions, and ceremonies you can express some of the grief that you feel and gain some comfort. Rituals may be easier for some of your friends to share, so make use of them. Or you may find some comfort in developing new traditions that honor the memory of your loved one. A contribution to charity, a day of volunteering in honor of your memories, or a visit to the grave may have some use to you. Planning activities and ways to stay busy or to keep from being too busy, can give you the right mixture of activity and freedom from unnecessary stress. You can review your own needs and decide how to plan. If you can't stand the idea of being alone, you could plan activities with others. If you find being alone valuable during this time, then you could reconsider and cancel some get-togethers you may have already planned. Find ways to soothe yourself. When under stress, we need to be willing to indulge ourselves sometimes. We each have differing ways to calm our troubles souls. Thin about what you have historically done to take care of yourself. Go ahead and give in to some soothing activites as long as they aren't destructive to self or others. Remember to individualize all the advice you get. That is, there really are no correct formulas for managing in difficult times. Look at the ways you function as an individual and tailor all of the friendly and professional advice so that it fits your situation and your needs. Don't sacrifice your uniquness to a formula or to what someone else claims to be the "right" way.

Best,
David Fireman, LCSW
 
 
 

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