Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cleaning the Wound

One thing that I'm struggling with is how to grieve....I've read in the professional literature, and others have shared, that you can't distract yourself or run from your grief. Feelings that are buried will resurface later, probably by coming out in other, hurtful ways. Everyone says I have to face my feelings, work through the pain/anger/guilt/shame/loneliness/etc. Only by exploring and expressing my feelings will I begin to heal and learn to live with this pain.

My question is -- how much do I have to make myself do this? I've taken the greater part of 2010 off work and I've done (and am doing) everything I can to try to face this head-on: one-on-one grief counseling, a support group, reading books and websites, blogging, private journaling, trips, spending time with friends and family and talking to them informally about this, time alone, crying, staying in bed for days on end, binge eating (okay, that one probably isn't a really "head-on" approach), doing things we enjoyed together, yoga, running, moving to a warmer climate, spending more time with nature, praying, talking to Brian, screaming until my throat is raw, etc. I don't know what else I can do to face this and heal. At some point, I wonder whether doing these things more than I already have is redundant or even harmful to my healing process.

Sometimes, I'll have a string of good days, or even a good week or two, then I go to a support group meeting or I do some writing, and I come crashing back down. Is that really helping? I have been told that every tear helps you heal -- but really? How can something that feels so bad be helping?

I've been likening grieving to one of two things: 1) cleaning an infected wound, 2) a really hard workout. Both hurt while you're doing it, and probably for a time after, but both really are helpful and healthy for your body. I'm putting my heart and soul through boot camp and debriding and redressing the emotional wounds, I guess.

I think as long as it hurts this much, I'm not where I need to be. If it still hurts this much, I'm still very much in the thick of grieving and I'm not to the point where this is integrated into my life. So I suppose these things, painful as they are, still are helpful to me. It's just that they hurt so much before I feel better.

I'm just getting tired of the pain, of knowing I have to make myself feel these terrible things. I could turn and run from them, but I know that's not best for me in the long run. So I keep making myself do things that are hard, that I know will make me cry, that will evoke strong negative feelings. I have to clean the wound and do my ab work.

Someday, I will be fit to live a happy life again, with a heart free from festering emotions. It will just take a lot of perseverance, work, and time.

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