Grief and Regression

Erica recommended a book called “The Wild Edge of Sorrow” and it came today.  I found two paragraphs in it that described exactly the place where I’ve been stuck.

“One of the most essential skills we need to develop in our apprenticeship [with sorrow] is our ability to stay present in our adult selves when grief arises.  I have often witnessed, both in my private practice and in workshop settings, individuals regressing into a child-like state when feelings of grief emerge.  They suddenly feel panicked, overwhelmed, hopeless, alone, and ashamed.  They slide into another mode of being when sorrow comes near, one in which their perspectives, feelings and behavior radically change.  It is important to help them restore a connection with their adult selves or they risk slipping farther into their dissociated state and possibly getting lost there for a prolonged time.”  p5

“At times, grief invites us into a terrain that reduces us to our most naked self.  We find it hard to meet the day, to accomplish the smallest of tasks, to tolerate the greetings of others.  We feel estranged from the world and only marginally able to navigate the necessities of eating, sleeping, and self-care.”   p15

It helps enormously to have such exact descriptions of what I’m going through.  I feel like I’m not alone.  I had not thought of myself as grieving, but that’s because the process of grieving things you never had is very difficult.  How can you know what you didn’t get, until you are actually able to feel and recognize it, and sense a hunger for it that was never filled?

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