Apparently, I’ve been grieving for awhile. I didn’t get the memo.

Grief can occur in many different situations. It’s not something that happens only when you lose someone whether it be death or the end of a relationship.  Grief also occurs when being diagnosed with a life changing disease, the death of a pet, the loss of a job. A lot of people probably understand grief as something that occurs in stages. Culture is full of such references. Those five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. However, there is also thinking that grief does not occur in stages but rather in a cycle.  Here’s a great explanation of grief with possible causes, the stages, and how it can also be described as a roller coaster. I like the roller coaster idea better than a cycle. Regardless of which you prefer, I like “cycle” or “roller coaster” better because they are more fluid and have more motion than what you get from the word “stage”.

Where am I going with all this? Because of the counseling I’ve been doing for the last few months, I’ve realized I have a lot of grief in my life. I’ve lost access to foods, social events, hobbies and other fun activities, as well as easily completely tasks or chores because of my health. There’s a list of things I can no longer do because of all of my different health problems. I don’t want to go into listing all of them here. There’s also a list of things I’m grasping onto because I don’t want to lose them – like reading books regularly. My cognitive problems make reading harder than it used to be. One such example would be learning – the “hard way” – that I cannot complete light yard work without having something to protect myself from dust, pollen, irritants beyond antihistamines. This is on top of the restrictions I already need to deal with like not being able to work outside when it’s warm.

This realization that I’ve been grieving over the things I’ve lost in my life makes me think I’ve been self-absorbed these past few months. I understand, at least on a logical level, that this is because I’ve been doing a lot of internal processing. That kind of thing takes time and energy. Especially since I’ve been sick on top of my regular chronic sick life. I’m writing this on my fourth day of taking 50 mg of benadryl every 6 hours. (That includes setting alarms the last two nights to continue at the 6 hour intervals.

I don’t know how to cope with this realization that grief has invaded my life other than thinking I need to do something more than what I’m already doing. I knit almost daily and that helps me. At this point I think knitting is a form of meditation that works for me. To add something else for coping and processing makes me think that writing will help. I enjoy the act of writing. I liked writing papers in school, even though I hated starting writing said papers. This blog seems like a great way to start but I’m not sure of the details yet. I’d like to post about things beyond my health, emotions, or random crap. More book reviews perhaps? Writing prompts? I don’t know.

So far, I only know this. I feel like I’ve lost control of my overall life and that this is causing me to feel grief, anxiety, anger, and fear. This emotional stress is also hurting my physical health. I need to do something about it.


4 thoughts on “Chronically sick and grieving

  1. Wow. What a tough realization at your age. I’m 42, and the shift in my life has hit me hard. All of a sudden, to have your job, your hobbies, your ability to learn new things, ripped away, it is hard. I miss my my profession. I miss being able to read a book, too! I used to read a novel a week! I haven’t read a single on in the last two years. I tried the other week, and two days after I started the book, I couldn’t remember anything except the main character’s name. I know how you feel about gardening, too, I used to LOVE gardening. Now, I can’t go outside for mare than 20 minutes in the spring- and pollen season has already started in Vancouver! Yesterday the count was ‘moderate’ already!!!!

    Hang in there, and know that you are NOT alone. I have discovered painting, I stopped as a youth because if a teacher who told me I was not even ‘minimally capable’. (Why did I listen?? She was a bitch, and everybody loathed her- the worst kind if teacher for 12 year old girls). In any case- you will find fulfillment, you will find a direction, you will learn what your limits are.

    I’m so impressed that you have already done some counseling- this chronic illness thing is rough on the psyche, but I think that you are well on your way already- discovering that knitting is meditative for you is huge. I might suggest listening to John Kabat-Zinn’s app- he was one of the people who started the whole ‘integrative medicine’ and ‘mindfulness meditation’, and it might improve the quality of your meditation to hear what he has to say. It has excerpt from his book, covering all the important bits. I’ve read the book, and listened to the app, and the information is starting to stick because if the dual modality.

    Good luck, and hang in there. It wasn’t the road you were expecting to take, but this one has some really nice views.


    1. I can’t remember if I ever saw your comment. You’re very kind, thanks! 🙂 I like what you said about the road not being what I expected but it having nice views. It’s very true. I did manage to read The Hunger Games. I’m on book 2 now. That one I seem to be able to remember. Awesome of you to discover/rediscover painting.

  2. I really like writing reviews to get my mind off health crap. I find myself grieving a lot of stuff every time my health takes a new downturn. It’s so frustrating. 🙁 Luckily counseling helps.

    1. I really liked writing that review I did last month too. I should try more reviews. Counseling definitely helps! I’ve got an appointment next week and have something to talk about for sure. (Sorry I’m not good at checking comments cause 90% are spam crap.)

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