Grief and Loss Articles

Robin Williams: A Terribly Real Thing in a Terribly False World

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Robin Williams: A Terribly Real Thing in a Terribly False World“You,” he said, “are a terribly real thing in a terribly false world, and that, I believe, is why you are in so much pain.”

That quote belongs in Emilie Autumn’s psychological thriller novel, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls.

It’s the essence, I think, of Robin Williams. He was so real — so passionate, brilliant, empathetic, brave, and sensitive — letting us see the exquisite beauty that is a byproduct of living with your heart exposed to the world.

Dealing with Betrayal without Betraying Ourselves

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

kenshin__trust_and_betrayal_by_imnoweebo-d7daqulBetrayal is one of the most painful human experiences. We suddenly discover that what we thought was true is not true. When a person we’ve trusted suddenly undermines trust, our world is turned upside down.

Trusting a person means feeling safe with them. We trust that they respect us, care about us, and wouldn’t hurt us, especially intentionally. We feel betrayed as our eyes are suddenly opened to a new reality: what we thought was safe and reliable turns out not to be.

Remembering the Little Things

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Remembering the Little Things

I feel I was never able to forget anyone I’ve been with because each person has their own specific qualities. You can never replace anyone. What is lost is lost.

- “Before Sunset”

When relationships run their course, we cope in various ways. Some try to move forward quickly, which may result in severing ties and discarding physical evidence: letters, photographs, emails. They extinguish the past. They eradicate its significance. And that’s OK — that’s how they navigate through the pain.

Personally, I was never able to embrace that approach. I’m emotional, I attach easily, and I often view relationships through a nostalgic lens.

Fear-Mongering & Ebola

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Fear-Mongering & Ebola

There is nothing better for cable news networks — and online news sites — to whip up a storm about an outbreak of a deadly disease. People click furiously to get the latest updates, and then log on to social media and forums to discuss all of the things the government is doing wrong.

Ebola is the latest outbreak to get the full 24/7 fear-inducing coverage.

While it costs virtually nothing to put this new Ebola outbreak into perspective, few news organizations invest any time in doing so. Why minimize what could turn out to be the killer of millions of Americans?

Do We Create Our Own Reality? Not So Fast!

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Almeida_Júnior_-_Moça_com_LivroA popular New Age view that rankles me is that we create our own reality — and that we become what we think or believe. A related view is that we’re responsible for everything that happens to us.

If our relationships aren’t fulfilling, or if we’re struggling with financial hardship, or if caregiving for an elderly parent is souring our mood, we need only make an attitude adjustment to deliver us from suffering to joy. If we simply practice positive thinking and visualizations, we’ll be rewarded with peace of mind and enduring happiness.

Sharing Responsibly: Grief, Loss and Social Media

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

Sharing Responsibly: Grief, Loss and Social MediaA lot of folks these days are talking about unplugging from social media. Maybe not permanently, but for a period of time in order to have face-to-face connections with people again.

But what if not logging onto Facebook meant you wouldn’t know that your friend had died? That’s what happened to me earlier this year.

The Heartbreak of Mental Illness

Monday, September 29th, 2014

The Heartbreak of Mental IllnessI was talking to a friend the other day who is a clinician at a home for people with mental illness, and I told her I know what it’s like to suffer. She said something that struck a chord, though: she said she thought it was more a case of heartbreak than anything else.

I had never heard it described that way before, but I knew exactly what she meant.

I can remember when I was first diagnosed. I was so crushed by the label of schizophrenia that I could hardly will myself to do anything. I was in fact, heartbroken.

Adapting to Change

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Adapting to ChangeThe leaves soon will turn into the familiar shades we love to remind us that the seasons change and nature transitions. People also experience transitions requiring adjustment. We experience loss, whether it be in the form of a person, pet, place, job, habit, or object. We experience loss in the form of change. We experience loss within ourselves.

Loss is scary. It is unsettling and can feel overwhelming. With it, feelings of sadness, nostalgia, anxiety, and confusion may arise. It is difficult to fully accept loss. After the immediate loss, the brain rejects change and resists adapting to the new version of what your life will be. Resisting change only intensifies our reactions of fear and panic.

How Somatic Therapy Can Help Patients Suffering from Psychological Trauma

Friday, September 12th, 2014

How Somatic Therapy Can Help Patients Suffering from Psychological TraumaWhatever happens in our lives impacts our mind either consciously or unconsciously. Sometimes events — such as the unexpected death of a loved one, illness, fearful thoughts, near-death accidents or experiences — result in traumas. Psychological trauma causes damage to the psyche that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event.

How Somatic Psychotherapy Helps

Somatic psychotherapy is one of the best ways to help patients suffering from psychological traumas cope, recover and live a normal life.

How You Can Find Gratitude When You’re Overwhelmed with Grief

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

gratitude

It’s pretty easy to feel grateful when good things happen. Win the lottery or fall in love? Easy. But what if you lose your spouse, or child, or even your job, how do we find gratitude then?

Scientifically, we know gratitude is strongly linked to well being. People just feel better when gratitude is part of the mix. It’s the feel-good fuel that urges us on to higher and higher ground when life is going well. But does it have even more benefit when used when healing from grief, or anytime life knocks you on your bum and you are having trouble getting back up?

What Joan Rivers Taught Us about Grief

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Wikimedia Commons / David Shankbone, 2010I was never a huge fan of Joan Rivers’ comedy routines — a little too coarse for my taste — but I always had a warm spot in my heart for the woman born Joan Alexandra Molinsky. She had the same glass-etching, Brooklyn accent as most of my mother’s family, with whom I shared summers in the Catskills. And, like Joan Rivers, my New York family’s idea of empathy was usually a heavenward eye-roll, followed by the expression, “Oh, please!”

Most fans of this indomitable woman know that she lost her husband, Edgar Rosenberg, to suicide in 1987 and that it took many years for her to work through her grief. The grief that follows bereavement — the death of a loved one — is among the deepest and most painful of human experiences.

The Ice Bucket Challenge: Remembering Loved Ones Affected by ALS

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

ice_cubes

I am impressed with the viral nature of the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” but I’m wondering if people really understand its purpose above and beyond the fun of calling out their friends (and enemies).

This challenge is intended to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease — but to me ALS means “my mom’s disease.” So, let me take you on a journey through ALS so you really know what it feels like in the hopes that you donate rather than, or in addition to, take the “icy way” out of the challenge. I challenge you to read this without crying — and then I call you out to raise awareness on what this craze is really all about.

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