You don't have to wait until someone dies to need to grieve.
I've only seen my father cry once. It was when his dad passed. My grandfather wasn't exactly the touchy-feely, “let's discuss our emotions” type like some who live through depression are, either.
Needless to say, I wasn't given the best guidance with grieving at first.
On the other hand, there are some people who are more than willing to verbal vomit their entire neuroses to you upon first interaction. To be honest, I'm not sure the opposite side of the spectrum is the best way, either.
Grief is one of those topics that hardly anybody really delves into, I've noticed. The lack of communication and knowledge passed down on how to process hard situations is also seldom passed down from generation to generation in a family. From what I've been able to tell, it's mostly just one of those things that are left to each of us to figure out how to deal with on our own.
Since the underlying theme of my blog is all about finding the balance within, it only makes sense to find the importance of being responsible for our own emotional well-being.
The grieving process is important to our mental health because it can influence our physical health. Just as our thoughts manifest into the world we create around us, thus does it affect our health also. If we allow ourselves to get stuck in any one of the grieving stages, physical illnesses and complications are more likely to manifest. Whether it be from a childhood trauma, the loss of a parent, or witnessing a heinous crime, if left neglected long enough, these mental strains can result in ulcers, anxiety, depression, or high blood pressure.
I know firsthand that the longer you bottle up your emotions, the worse it tends to come out later. But if you're not taught what the grieving process even is, then how can you be taught how to get through it?
So what is the grieving process?
The “Five Stages” theory (Elisabeth Kübler-Ross) is perhaps the most commonly recognized theory about grief:
"The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief." 
So now how do we get through each stage?
Here's what works for me:
Get nerdy. Start researching info on what you’re up against so your subconscious can stop blocking it out.
Open up and talk to someone you feel you can trust with even your most vile thoughts (many of which are probably irrational), just to relieve some pressure. Physically, wear yourself out at the gym or running, or whatever it is you feel like at the time.
Get nerdy (again) and educate yourself on the reality of your situation.
Eat the cake. Cry. Wallow. Don't take a shower for three days. Hibernate (but don't go AWOL).
Go on a road trip by yourself, crank the radio, and repeat all of the above until you feel like you have gotten a grip.
First of all, you physically need to cry. Certain toxins held in the tear ducts can only be released through tears. We already know what toxic build up in your digestive system ends up doing, colon cancer for one, along with visceral belly fat that I charmingly like to refer to as the “bowling ball belly.” Can you imagine what holding onto all those toxins in your face could potentially do?
My mom is 63 and has frontal temporal dementia. She's quite young to have dementia, but she has it is because she has suffered a series of strokes which she neglected to inform anyone about. Because of this, it's caught my family- including myself- off guard, leaving us with a situation we all get to contend with internally.
For the longest time, I was angry. Looking back, I didn't realize how messed up I must come across when I'm deeply hurt. I remember thinking that this is such an inhumane way to force someone to live out the rest of their life, and why can't euthanasia be available to humans too, we wouldn't force a dog to go through this. It wasn't until I actually said all those things out loud to someone that I was able to work through the anger and move onto the other stages so I could get to where I am now.
I consider my mom pretty much gone already. She's not the same and never will be again. In fact, she's only going to become more and more of a stranger to me, and I to her from here on out, and that can't be stopped. I could still be angry and want to cry all the time but I don't. I still get to see pieces of my mom on a daily basis, and I have the chance now to give back all the love and kindness that she has given me.
Had euthanasia been an option, I'd never get these chances. If I hadn't made it a priority to take grief head-on, I wouldn't have the perspective I have now that grieving made possible.
I wouldn't have been able to eat probably the last PB&J sandwich my mom will ever make me or be able to wake up to her still trying to make me coffee (she is only one of two people in this world that know that's the only way to get me out of bed).
I wouldn't get to be reminded of how much she's fiercer than I am when she outworks me physically every day and can still keep going. She's like a shark; she has to be moving, and I can't keep up some days. Just like there is so much of my mom left for me to experience things with her, there's so much of your health that depends on you feeling, so you can deal in order to heal.
If we could get rid of the negative stigmas associated with seeing a man cry, or anything else associated with each grieving phase, I think the world as a whole might begin to heal. Without stigmas, people might be less afraid to actually experience grief, or better yet, put themselves through it. After all, the grieving process is a huge aspect of keeping your mind healthy so that your body and your spirit can be healthy, too.
Thank you for reading.
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© Copyright Whatismyhealth, April 16th, 2017
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