Tag Archives: Emotions

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I am grieving and I feel awful

I am Grieving and I Feel Awful

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Feeling awful when you are grieving is perfectly normal. Since every relationship is unique, how a person grieves is unique to that relationship. If feeling awful is your thing, then you are right on track. Other normal reactions can include everything from feeling numb to wanting to eat everything in sight to not wanting to eat at all. I remember when my best friend died I felt like I was in a fog for days. I sat at work (I am still not sure how I got there) and just stared at the computer. I couldn’t sleep without thinking about her.  I couldn’t hear a song on the radio without crying. Even worse because she died by suicide, most people avoided me or wouldn’t talk to me at all. This made me put up walls and isolate myself even more. Eventually I just plastered on my “happy face” and told everyone I was “fine”.


Now that I am a Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist®, I realize my feelings were no different than what most grievers experience. Historically society has told us how we should or shouldn’t be feeling after any loss. It got passed down from generation to generation. As a result, well-meaning friends and relatives say things like “They are in a better place” or “Eat some more ice cream and you’ll feel better” after a death of someone close to you. Maybe some of you have even heard after the break-up of a relationship “We never liked them anyway” or “It’s ok, it just wasn’t meant to be.” The problem is we are taught to intellectualize grief when really it is really a matter of the heart. Since most people aren’t given the necessary “heart tools” – especially when it comes to loss – they do the best they can by giving us feedback they think our heads will understand.


In addition to our hearts needing tender-loving-care while we are grieving, so do our bodies. A body needs energy to be healthy. Grief is an energy-depleting emotion. If you aren’t replacing and/or balancing its energy you feel awful. For example, after the death of my former finance, my heart physically ached inside my body. It felt like it was going to explode out of my chest. It felt like I was having a heart attack. Maybe in some way – figuratively not literally – I was. My stomach felt like I had swallowed a block of concrete. I had zip, nada, no energy. Since we have been conditioned not to express our feelings, we bottle them all up inside. We walk around like robots. We hold back the tears. We hide from friends and family. Eventually our bodies can’t take it anymore. We explode inside like metal in a microwave. As a result, it’s not unusual to get sick by not dealing with grief. This outcome is so much worse than just feeling what you were feeling from the beginning.


One suggestion for preventing your grief manifesting in a physical way is to find practices that help you replenish and balance the energy in your body – Reiki, Yoga, Tai Chi or Qigong. After the deaths of my friends, I found that Reiki really helped me. It kept me more peaceful and relaxed. Much better for my well-being than eating gallons of ice cream or exploding in a meeting.  The bottom line is to understand and express what you are feeling both emotionally and physically. It is normal and natural and most importantly – it is just right for you. Be sad. Be numb. Be tired. Communicate how you feel – even if you do feel awful. You heart and your body will thank you.

Grief is one instance where “feeling awful” is actually a good thing.


Sending you love, comfort and peace!

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Grief Journal

How a Grief Journal Can Help

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For me, journaling has always been one of the ways I get the thoughts out of the vastness of my head. I am the kind of person who thinks about everything. But the problem is all those thoughts swirl around in my head constantly. Even when I am sleeping. To the point I used to keep a pad of paper by the bed so I could wake up and write thoughts down so I wouldn’t forget them. This is no way to live. So many years ago I took up journaling. I did this for two reasons. The first reason was to get all these thoughts out of my head and onto paper. Once they got onto paper my head didn’t swirl as much. The second was that it allowed me to speak my truth. I found if I wrote my thoughts down in my journal first, I had a better chance of saying what I needed to say later. As a result, my communication skills improved.

So when my best friend died and the grief hit me, the swirl in my head started. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t focus. I had so many questions. I started analyzing everything I had done (or hadn’t done) and said (or hadn’t said). This started to drive me crazy. No one wanted to talk to me about her suicide so I felt alone and isolated. I grabbed my journal and used it to sort things out. It became my “grief journal” and surprisingly it really helped. It opened up the door to my emotions. It let me talk about the things I couldn’t talk about with anyone else. It also let me talk to my best friend.


Here are some of the reasons to start a grief journal:

Gets It Out. Keeping everything inside when you are grieving is tough. But sometimes you are forced to do this since other people aren’t prepared to deal with your sadness. Consequently, these feeling end up with nowhere to go. Getting them out of your head and down on paper can provide you with great relief. Writing in a grief journal gives you the opportunity to write about how you are feeling the moment you feel it. This is a big improvement over carrying it around in your head for days or weeks or maybe even years at a time.

You Can Be Honest. As humans we all have the need for approval. Sometimes this becomes especially true when you are grieving. As a result, you become less than honest about how you are really doing. You say things like “I’m doing fine” or “I’m so much better” just so you won’t be judged, criticized or analyzed by others. Writing your honest thoughts about how you are really doing in your grief journal keeps it real and does you a world of good.

Relieves Stress. Grief and stress seem to go hand in hand. There is so much going on after your loved one dies. Maybe you have to pull together a memorial service, attend financial meetings with lawyers or maybe you even have to pack up and move to another location. Stress is everywhere. And because grief may be causing you not to sleep, take good care of yourself, focus and concentrate, your stress is magnified one thousand fold. Even the little things throughout the day can become stressful for you. Writing in your grief journal can be a way for you to find relief from stress.

Improves Your Focus. Focus? What focus? I am grieving, for heaven’s sake! On a day-to-day basis everything is competing for your attention, but when grieving your attention is elsewhere. It may not even be on this earth. It may be on your loved one. Writing down lists of things you need to do in your grief journal can help find a way to keep your focus.

Provides Comfort. Writing down things that have helped you through your grief is very helpful. This can be things you read, things people said to you, etc. Reading through what has helped you on your journey (especially on days when you forget) can provide you with a sense of comfort.

It is important to never force yourself to write. If all you can do is a few minutes here and there, then that’s all you should do. Over time you will find that the words and thoughts may just pour out.


Please help me to express how I am feeling in my grief journal.

It’s been hard to find people who will listen to my grief and journaling helps me let go of these emotions.

Guide me and inspire to say what I need to say so I can move forward on my grief journey.

And so it is.


Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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