No Time to Grieve: Can we be too busy for grief?

GrieveThese days everyone is busy. Ask anyone you haven’t seen in awhile how they’ve been and they’re likely to answer, “busy!”. This won’t be a surprise to most, but something that I didn’t expect in the midst of our very busy lives is how many newly bereaved people I’ve met who are (or think they are) just too busy to grieve.

Let’s face it, for some, taking the time to grieve and find support may feel like a luxury or indulgence. It may even go so far as to feel like self-indulgence, or extravagance. With life moving so fast and so many other things to do, and in most cases, so many other people to take care of, does every mourner truly have the chance, or give themselves the chance and time they need to grieve?

The reasons someone may not allow themselves time to grieve are varied and numerous- and they may not always be what you’d think:

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Abusing Alcohol After Loss

Abusing Alcohol After Loss: How Self-Medicating Hinders Healing

Abusing AlcoholIn the very early days of loss, many grievers will describe feeling as if they’re in a constant fog or haze. A fog so thick that it can bundle several weeks or months into one big blur. And as terrible as that may sound, the lifting of this fog can create a stark reality so blinding it can be almost impossible to bear. It’s the reason so many grievers will describe their grief as getting worse as time passes. While we expect time to be a healer, those who have had a loss will usually find they are struggling more as the weeks and months go by.

The timing is misaligned in every way. Just as the support is slowing down,  as friends and family are checking in less and expecting the griever to be doing better, the weight, reality, and magnitude of loss is just starting to sink in.

It’s about this time when a griever begins to wonder what now and what comes next. Who am I and where do I go from here?

Deciding to self medicate isn’t usually a “decision” at all. For many it’s something that just sort of happens. A glass of wine after dinner, a drink out with a friend. The softening of the hard edges of grief, the numbness…for some it may just be too hard to resist.

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