Grief and Journal Writing

 

’CLICK HERE TO SEE ME TALK ABOUT HOW TO JOURNAL

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Grief has many different faces and feelings.  Perhaps you are feeling grief but not identified your feelings as such.  Identifying them as “grief” may in itself bring you some relief.  I know it is always helpful to me.

 

The most renowned grief expert is Elizabeth Kubler Ross. As you go through her model, journal where you are right now.

 

  1. DENIAL

Denial is the first of the five stages of grief™️. It helps us to survive the loss. In this stage, the world becomes meaningless and overwhelming. Life makes no sense. We are in a state of shock and denial. We go numb. We wonder how we can go on, if we can go on, why we should go on. We try to find a way to simply get through each day.

ANGER

Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process. Be willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless. The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal

Underneath anger is pain, your pain. It is natural to feel deserted and abandoned, Anger is action so we use it to feel alive and purposeful

BARGAINING

After a loss, bargaining may take the form of a temporary truce. “What if I devote the rest of my life to helping others. Then can I wake up and realize this has all been a bad dream?” We become lost in a maze of “If only…” or “What if…” statements. We want life returned to what is was.

We may even bargain with the pain. We will do anything not to feel the pain of this loss. We remain in the past, trying to negotiate our way out of the hurt.

DEPRESSION

Empty feelings present themselves, and grief enters our lives on a deeper level, deeper than we ever imagined. This depressive stage feels as though it will last forever. It’s important to understand that this depression is not a sign of mental illness. It is the appropriate response to a great loss. We withdraw from life, left in a fog of intense sadness, wondering, perhaps, if there is any point in going on alone?

ACCEPTANCE

This stage is about accepting the reality that our lives as it once was,  is gone and recognizing that this new reality is the permanent reality. We will never like this reality or make it OK, but eventually we accept it. We learn to live with it. It is the new norm with which we must learn to live. In resisting this new norm, at first many people want to maintain life as it was before your previous life ,  died. In time, through bits and pieces of acceptance, however, we see that we cannot maintain the past intact. It has been forever changed and we must readjust.

You begin to have more good days than bad.

 

These are not stops on some linear timeline in grief.  Not everyone goes through all of them or in a prescribed order. People often think of the stages as lasting weeks or months. The stages are responses to feelings that can last for minutes or hours as we flip in and out of one and then another. We do not enter and leave each individual stage in a linear fashion. We may feel one, then another and back again to the first one.

Your grief is uniquely yours.

 

JOURNAL WRITING

To manage your feelings of grief and radical uncertainty, self compassion and self care is essential.

 

Journal writing is proven to be an excellent way to do just this.  It is a deeply personal pursuit, and there is no right or wrong ways to journal. At first it may feel awkward. Push through, be creative, do it daily at a time best set aside for yourself. Consider it part of your meditation practice.

 

Here are some ideas on how to write your journal. A journal may be formal, free writing, a collection of things from nature, images of art/people that move you. Choice is entirely yours. Ensure privacy for your journal. Journaling is essentially a way of knowing yourself, of keeping company with yourself.

 

  1. Stay in the present. Name how you are feeling.
  2. Make a list of your worries. It may create order which is soothing.  Writing them down gets it outside of your body and head. Be your own observer and note what you observe.
  3. Include a list of courageous actions that you have taken that show compassion to others, actions that fill you with self pride. 
  4. Free writing: Capture thoughts moment to moment. Use a book with empty pages, physically write with a pen – I use a collection of my favourite pens, all different colours.
  5. As you free write, begin writing, don’t stop, don’t edit yourself. Whatever comes to your mind, even if it is “I can’t do this”.
  6. Let thoughts pour out of you quickly.
  7. Look around you… notice what you see, what stands out for you. As you begin writing, bring that object to your attention again, then free write.
  8. You can write about your body, yourself, your experiences.
  9. As you free write try not to read what you have written. Just let things pour out – unedited by you.
  10. Time to free write – initially anything from 1- 4 minutes… then whatever feels comfortable for you on any given day.
  11. Write yourself a letter: “hello, how are you?” Pour out and then put it away.

 

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Feel free to reach out to me via whatsapp. Anonymity is guaranteed.  Let me know where your anxieties, fears and worries sit with you. Tell me what is soothing for you.  And what you need in this time of radical uncertainty.

 

060 890 1062

Feel free to book a tele-therapy Zoom session with me right here… https://www.dreve.co.za/appointment/

 

For more information please contact my PA Shantel: shantel@dreve.co.za

 

 

 

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