By Dr. Howard Peiper – Path to a Better Life
We may find ourselves hysterically crying, having angry outbursts, or even laughing or fainting.
Opening to the presence of our loss creates pain and feels hurtful. It may also make us numb, angry, fatigued, and more. Dispelling the common misconceptions about grief may cause us to feel relief and/or confused. And embracing the uniqueness of our grief nay ultimately gives us a profound sense of peace.
As strange as our emotions may seem, they are a true expression of where we are right now. Rather than deny or feel victimized by our feelings, we need to recognize and learn from them. It’s actually through the process of becoming friendly with our feelings that will help us heal.
Shock, Numbness, Denial and Disbelief
“It feels like a dream,” people in early grief often say. “I feel like I might wake up and none of this will have happened.” They also say, “I was there, but yet I really wasn’t. I managed to do what needed to be done but I didn’t feel a part of it.”
Thank goodness for shock, numbness, and disbelief. Other words we use to describe our initial grief experience are “dazed” and “stunned.” These feelings are nature’s way of temporarily protecting us from the full reality of the loss. They help insulate us psychologically until we are more able to tolerate what we don’t want to believe. In essence, these feelings serve as a temporary time-out or a psychological shock absorber.
Especially in the beginning of our grief journey, our emotions need time to catch up with what our mind has been told. On one level, we know the person, place or thing is gone. But on other, deeper levels, we are not able or willing to truly believe it. This mixture of shock, numbness and disbelief acts as an anesthetic. The pain exists, but we may not experience it fully. Typically, a physiological component also accompanies feelings of shock. Our automatic nervous system is affected and may cause: heart palpitations, queasiness, stomach pain and dizziness.
These are all normal and necessary responses that help us survive right now. Unfortunately, some people may try to squelch these behaviors, believing them to be hysterical or out-of-control. They may try to “quiet us” in an effort to feel more comfortable themselves. But this an out-of-control, uncomfortable time is for us. Trying to control us would mean suppressing our instinctive response to the loss. Don’t do it. Remember, our needs are the priority right now, not theirs. Do what we need to do to survive.
During the time of our shock, we may not remember specific words being spoken to us. Our mind is blocking; it hears but does not listen. Although we may not remember some (or any) of the words other people are telling us, we may well remember that we felt comforted. Their nonverbal presence is probably more important to us than any words they might say.
Even after we have moved beyond shock, numbness and disbelief, don’t be surprised if these feelings resurface. Birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions that may only be known to us often trigger our shock that this person, place or thing we loved so much is no longer there to share these days.
A critical point to realize is that shock, denial, numbness and disbelief are not feeling we should try to prevent us from experiencing. Instead be thankful that this shock absorber is available at a time when we need it the most. Be compassionate with ourselves. Allow for this instinctive form of self-protection. This dimension of grief provides a much-needed, yet temporary, means of survival.
- Especially in the beginning of our grief journey, our emotions need time to catch up with our mind has been told.
- During our time of shock, we may not remember specific words being spoken to us.
- Denial is one of the most misunderstood aspects of the grief journey.
- A primary self-care principle during this time is to reach out for support from caring friends, family and caregivers we trust.
- If others insist on taking away our need to deny the loss, ignore them or avoid them.
Dr. Howard Peiper, N.D., nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, has written several popular books on nutrition and natural health.
Howard, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, has written numerous books on nutrition and natural health including 12 best sellers.
Create a Miracle with Hexagonal Water
New Hope for Serious Diseases
The A.D.D. & A.D.H. Diet
Zeolite Nature's Heavy Metal Detoxifier
Viral Immunity with Humic Acid
The Secrets of Staying Young
Nutritional Leverage For Great Golf
All Natural High Performance Diet
Natural Solutions For Sexual Enhancement
Super Nutrition for Dogs and Cats
Books can be ordered at:
Safe Goods Publishing.
Dr. Peiper is co-host of the award winning Television show, Partners in Healing. They feature guest in the alternative healing field including such names as Harvey Diamond, Dr. John Upledger, Dr. Bernard Jensen, Gary Null and Dr. Marshall Mandell.
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