Last week I wrote briefly on all the levels of the pain of grief, but before I continue I would firstly like to reiterate that it is not the same for everyone. I write this from my experience and a need to understand what I went through. If you experienced it differently, that is fine. Take what is useful to you personally and leave the rest. I only share in the hope that I am able to help just one person and of course for me, I have found that writing has therapeutic benefits.
The first level or rather manifestation of pain experienced is the all-encompassing physical pain brought on by the event. My head felt as though it was about to explode, my eyes felt like they were protruding, my body felt crushed and I could not breathe. It felt like I had been kicked in the solar plexus. I was left doubled over in pain, gasping for breath and then the sobs would rise in my throat and were uncontrollable. This same episode came back time and again at the slightest trigger, and it was just as intense as the first time. It may have been a whiff of scent on the breeze, or a familiar favourite song on the radio, in the supermarket or finding that special toy under the couch where you least expected it to be. The “triggers” are numerous and constant in the beginning. This in my humble opinion cannot be prevented or stopped midway when recently bereaved. This is the grief pain that comes in waves and catches us at the most inopportune moments when we least expect it and it is the most physical. The best advice I ever received was to let this wave wash over you and let it play out…it will eventually abate and go, but it always did leave me feeling crushed, wrung out and shaky. The problem is that when I was in the throes of this pain, there was no thinking it through or pausing to take a breath – it is that violent and painful that it took me off my feet.
In 2012, I was shown an EFT(Tapping) sequence that is often used to help war veterans to control PTS episodes. As soon as I felt the shift at the onset I would run through the sequence until I felt a release. I would continue until I was sure the calm had once more returned. I believe this therapy has helped tremendously in reducing these episodes in the intensity and duration. Over time these episodes did lose some intensity and became of shorter duration, but this did take years. The most recent episode occurred in February of this year. The trigger happened to be a photograph and was as sudden and vicious as usual but lasted all of 1 minute. I was caught totally unaware and unable to initiate the tapping sequence in time before it was all over.
When in this state, the resulting chemical reactions within the body are such that we are left with an imprint of this trauma, any trauma for that matter, on our cells and our DNA. This we carry with us for the rest of our physical lives and beyond, with consequences that will manifest again. After I had researched this area in my attempt to find a way to free myself from this, I am convinced that this also needs to be attended to and fully addressed. There are therapists who offer the necessary healing therapies to assist in the process.
Although I list the levels of pain separately, please know that they are all related and sometimes manifest all together at one time. They are just parts that go together to make up the whole of that experience we call grief that everybody has their own turn to journey through in each lifetime here on Earth.