Have you grieved your losses or are you in perpetual mourning. Grief, bereavement of a loss, is normal. No matter if that loss is a loved one (spouse, significant other, parent, sibling, grandparent), a job, a boss, material possessions, a pet, aspects of our lives due to this illness, abuse, trauma. No matter the loss we need to recognize it and we need to grieve that loss or losses.
There are two things that BP affects in regards to grief, firstly this illness hides or twists the things that we need to grieve, like the aspects of our lives we have lost due to this illness along with some abuse and trauma. We need to grieve the loss of jobs, friends, relationships, even our ability to think, remember and focus. Secondly at severe loss, the loss of loved one, pet or career, BP sufferers are more likely to fall into abnormal grief than most others. Our illness causes us to revisit, or even live directly in, the past. Normal grief is a process of reconciling ourselves to the loss we have suffered. Abnormal grief according to the DSM 5, “Lasts 6 months or longer, the person must yearn the loss on a daily basis or to a disabling degree. At least five of the following symptoms must be present; Emotional confusion about ones role in life, Difficulty accepting the loss, Avoidance of anything to do with the loss. Inability to trust others since the loss, Bitterness or anger related to the loss – Bitterness and anger are part of the grieving process, however that bitterness and anger is meant to pass, Difficulty moving on with life, Numbness since the loss, Feeling that life is meaningless now, Feeling stunned or dazed at the loss, this is also a normal grief symptom but if that feeling lasts longer than a few months it is abnormal.
I suffered from abnormal grief for over 25 years and coupled with my BP it destroyed me and my life. The trigger for change was the death of my 22 year old cat, it proved to be one loss too many. I sought help with a qualified grief counselor. It took six months to get in to see Randy and in the first appointment I laid our my losses, 1984 my grandmother, 1985 my fist wife (the only two people I felt I could ever talk to) numerous jobs, more than one house, my relationship with my daughters due to my bad choices, my acreage, my second wife through separation and divorce, my pets. All of which haunted my mind, most daily, the rest regularly enough to make me unable to function.
It took two years of almost weekly sessions and a lot of work on my part to grieve these losses in a healthy way and put them in their proper place, them in the past and me in the present. During those two years a number of losses were found that also needed grieving, these are the losses that my BP brain told me were of no importance or had twisted into complete fabrications that had nothing to do with reality. They turned out to be very important and I ignored acknowledging and grieving them at my peril. Today I am living in the present not in the past and I am no longer haunted by the what if’s and whys, the blame and shame, of the losses that I have suffered. I acknowledge that they happened but I no longer live there.
Look for your losses that keep you in the past and learn to grieve them, in this area we usually need help so talk to your therapist and if necessary find a specialized grief counselor.
As griever you are not broken and do not need to be fixed. You need to learn that grieving is not a natural state of living. Yes, loss happens and we need to grieve, but the real process is recovering from the loss through grieving and then living again that is the real journey. The same with having BP, it is not having BP that is the journey it is learning to overcome the BP, to stay and live, in the light on the other side that is the journey. It is the staying in the light of the present that proves hard. I urge you to find and live in the light of now and reality. BP and your losses keep you in the dark, the darkness of the past.
Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.