Grief therapy: An Alternative to the Paid Orator’s Advice

CherylPiggy     Most of my life, I thought that when a conflict arose, I should talk it out. Basically, since I was a kid, that was what I was told. A person in emotional pain or having struggles goes to a trained psychotherapist. At this place, great knowledge abounds—certainly way beyond my grasp without aid from the talented. Following that discourse, each time I had a peak or valley in my life, whether bad feelings were produced by negative happenings or the end of something I perceived to be good, I sought to communicate directly about my feelings, using “I” statements. At least, I thought I was using that wording to ease the blow I might deliver to the recipient of my words. Here is what actually occurred. Whomever heard my statements, which were supposed to reflect my feelings, usually became defensive and it was a downward spiral from there; if I am honest, even I was defensive much of the time this type of communication was employed. Nevertheless, it was implanted in my mind at a very young age that the answer to life’s ills was to go to these artists of the mind and learn the skills necessary to untangle one’s way out of the obvious messes or the not-so-obvious ones. Many 21-year-olds are partying, living the single life, dating, or just taking their first job to gain a little independence. Instead, I spent my money trying to polish these skills and work out kinks in the relationship of the day. I even bought a secondary policy to seek out access to counseling. The idea was that I would get past my school anxiety so I could finish my degree in Sociology. The less appealing path inevitably ended with an intense and useless discussion about how to work out some disagreement or catastrophe.

     I am afraid my ideas about handling problems by talking to a counselor lacked common sense and logic. It took years to free me from the illusion that I would be able to have a diplomatic discussion with a fair resolution. That is not how life works. I have spent most of my life trying to find happiness and often in places where the chance of that was rare to none. If you attend a funeral, you are not likely to find a comedy show or happiness. I was chasing the impossible. Some things just don’t fit together. It is a fact as far as I am concerned. The source of my unhappiness was, and perhaps still is, my world view and the people that fit into that grand illusion. I did wake up metaphorically and realize the flaws in my viewpoint. Like most humans though, I was already running along this destructive road, and I just did not see how I could make an exit from that circular pattern I was moving in. Therefore, I kept doing the same thing and nearly drove myself insane in the process.

     Even when we know that our actions are futile, our nature often guides us to repeat counterproductive actions. If there is a textbook that describes this exercise in futility, my picture should be stamped on the page aside the disorder. One might even describe the plethora of ways I might have attained more favorable life conditions. That is not the point of my rambling though.

     I have lost something many times in my life that meant a lot to me. It is fair to say that I had expectations from my life encounters. That is not too surprising, because most of us have these or we would not have much impetus for doing anything. It is not so much the expectations to me, but more importantly, whether or not those expectations can be fulfilled. In any event, recently I experienced a loss. For many, this would not amount to much. Due to years of anguish, pain, and isolation, it affected me in a more profound and negative manner. I immediately returned to the same instructions that the great orators had uttered. I tried to mentally talk it out. I began to reach out to solve the issue to regain my strength. A mental blow was delivered to snap me into reality, and this led me to break down crying. It was a slap in the face but one that provided realism. The problem with this conclusion is that I might be delusional now. I do not think that is the case.

     As I sobbed today, I realized that I can only grieve the loss I am experiencing. No discussion or attempt to express feelings will change that. The only way I can possibly recover is to allow myself to experience the cycle people go through during mourning. Effectively, it is as though a death has occurred but there is no physical evidence of it. I could attempt to replace the memories causing sadness with false experiences. It is my take on the movie, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” and that experiment didn’t work well in the movies. In addition, I lack the device that was used in that film, so I would have to substitute pleasant memories in a more manual fashion. I would do this by convincing myself another event or series of events took place. I have thought this through in depth. I wonder how many fake memories I would have to create and keep creating over the course of my life to pull of a version of the idea that “Ignorance is bliss.” I don’t think that is a sustainable plan, and if something is close enough to you, your best bet is acceptance that with life comes massive pain at times. All of this talking to people trying to smooth out the wrinkles is downright tiring and seems to be another form of denial. After countless mind specialists, I have concluded that their work is generally useless to me. For this one, I am on my own. If anything, they all held me back from acceptance of the idea that we are all broken in some way. This break is smaller, but all of the prior breaks compounded it and made it look like a severe fracture. There are no words for that except after awhile, the effects of my trauma will be thwarted by time.


     An idle mind isn’t the devil’s workshop. It is merely a mind in park. It has the potential to go anywhere and do great things. An overactive mind is the devil’s workshop, because it often takes one to dark places with no escape.


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