Saturday, November 19, 2016

Grieving Grievance: Coping Tips to Confront Grief With Chronic Illness

My grandmother is the most selfless, loving person I know. She exemplified that until her last breath. I hope to have even a fraction of her resilience. The world lost a very special person last week and I think she took any semblance my of my childhood with her. It is comforting to know she is no longer in pain.  

I am no stranger to death. Death, unfortunately (or fortunately), is part of life. There are situations where death is expected, as the case with my grandmother. Her passing was predicted. It was an arduous, emotionally taxing process I wish the family did not have to watch unfold. There are also occasions it is unexpected, like my biological father's death. Such expectancy does not make it any easier though. Grieving time is necessary. 

Emotions greatly impact the body with any medical condition, but especially Mast Cell Disease. Too excited? Reaction. Nervous? Reaction. Sad? Reaction. The last encounter with death nearly sent me into a life threatening flare. 

Reverting to emotional meltdown mode is no longer an option. In attempts to spare a medical catastrophe, I am unable to grieve in the traditional manner. Neither is my family, trying to dance around the issue to avoid an upset. 

This is definitely learning curve to find safe ways to express grief. There are a few helpful tips. 

1.) Writing
2.) Productivity: transforming harmful emotions to productivity through creating, homework, etc. 
3.) Pleasant Memories: compiling photo collages, scrapbooks, blogs, etc.  
4.) Brief Crying Spells: permit short periods to mourn while quickly regaining composure by distraction tactics (i.e. FaceTime with friends)
5.) Decorating: my grandma loved the holidays - getting into the Christmas spirit solves everything, right?

Ignoring grief like I have been is unhealthy. It is another representation of the impact chronic illness has on every facet of life. But through adaption, it is possible to persevere.