Unresolved Grief: For years, I felt like I was losing my mind. I was sure something horrible would happen. Every time I left the house I thought I’d get hurt in a drive by, or hit by a vehicle. Even worse I’d come across a dead body. I was sure no one was safe. Something horrific was going to happen to someone in my family. I had to continually prepare and brace myself for bad news.
The fear my world would come crashing down at any moment haunted me.
Living With Unresolved Grief
Every second was exhausting. I dreaded when too much was happening at once. Having too many people in my life was overwhelming because I couldn’t keep track of them to make sure they were safe.
One part of me pretended to be normal, but on the inside I was fighting to keep myself together. My heart would race, and I’d feel light headed. It got so bad I couldn’t stand. I had to lean against whatever was close. Hoping nobody would notice.
I tried to act like nothing was wrong, but all I wanted was to be under a heavy blanket. I didn’t want to feel anything. I was embarrassed and afraid. I didn’t want anyone to know how bizarre and messed up my thoughts were. I had kept it secret for so many years and was skilled at acting normal.
In the middle of the afternoon while I was on a bank run at work I sat on the sidewalk for 15 minutes wondering if I was dying. My heart was beating out of my chest and I heard it echoing in my head. I couldn’t feel my hands or feet.
I was having my first panic attack…I had to wait in emergency for 3 hours and had tests done to find out I had a panic attack.
Anxiety plagued me for years. Not daily, but it would hit me when I least expected it. But never had it came with such force as it did that day.
I had met with 3 psychologists a decade before. I knew it was time to get professional advice when anxiety and fear were taking over my life. During the session they asked if I would speak to all of them to get multiple opinions at once.
They told me I had dealt with a lot of death for someone my age. Back then I was 19 or 20. They recommended I get a pet because I didn’t want to get close to anyone for fear I’d just end up losing them. They somehow had faith I’d figure it out. I guess they were right, but I bet they didn’t think it would take me 25 years. My stubbornness is partially to blame.
My anxiety affected my thinking, eating, and behavior. I was dark, tired and fearful. I wanted to go back to when I I could fake normalcy. But I didn’t know how. I’d temporarily lost my ability to cover my emotions
I went to the library to get books to help. But they did nothing but tell me how I was feeling. It was psychobabble to me. They didn’t have ways to stop it, they only reinforced I had a problem which only made me feel worse.
I Discovered the Cure – Not
Back then I would drink more coffee, or smoke more. But it only made it worse. For some reason I thought they gave me courage to deal with life.
So no, this wasn’t really the cure, but it took 20+ years for me to clue into this fact.
When my mom passed away, I smoked marijuana to sleep – I was 23. But when I noticed it slowed down my brain in College I quit. Again, it only made things worse because it numbed my brain.
When I was 33, I started drinking to cure anxiety. Again, it didn’t work. Sure it masked my anxiety, but it deadened my brain and created a set of other problems.
Fast forward to now and I only felt intense anxiety when I drink coffee, so I quit. It got so bad I couldn’t write, or focus.There’s no instant cure for anxiety from unresolved grief. It’s a process, but little things can help along the way.
One turning point for me that helped me begin to shed layers of emotional traumas was when I realized all the doom and gloom I was carrying around with me. For years I thought of dead people daily. I relived their deaths over and over.
I hope the following strategies will help you alleviate the feelings of anxiety because of unresolved grief. They probably also help to deal with general anxiety.
Simplify Yourself Thoughtfully
How to Cure Anxiety from Unresolved Grief – Change Your Mind
Changing my perspective and how I viewed the living was powerful in helping me cope with everyone I lost.
For years, I had unknowingly created a dark space where I lived. I was the one creating a dark and dreary world of the dead inside my head.
I often had two jobs, or worked long hours so I wouldn’t have to think about stuff I wanted to bury. I didn’t have hobbies or do anything I loved. It was like I was punishing myself because I didn’t deserve anything good because God took so much away from me.
When I worked in home care, the money was good. I often worked 7 days a week. I would nap any chance I got, even if it was only 12 minutes.
I took a class to Teach English as a second language which took up 3 weekends. I worked the other days. I didn’t pay attention to the signs my body was showing me – my nerves were shot. I took zero time for fun.
What made my emotional state even worse were my bad habits. I guzzled coffee all day, chain smoked and drank beer in the evening. To make sure I’d sleep I often took a gravol.
I didn’t go for walks, the only exercise I got was walking from the car to client’s homes and back to the car. I ate whatever was easiest, and my diet mostly consisted of comfort food.
My life was a series of overstimulating my brain and then numbing it.
How to Cure Anxiety from Unresolved Grief – Go Walking
Walking is the simplest form of exercise, but it works wonders for the brain and mood. Going to the gym isn’t necessary to feel better.
I love walking. I started a walking routine back in 2014, and I go for walks daily when I can. I shoot for at least 20 minutes a day, but often go for more than one walk. I say when I can because I haven’t kept up in Edmonton since I got back in December. It’s so icy – it’s everywhere and I’m terrified of falling. But I do lots of walking indoors.
Walking clears my head and makes me feel stress free. Although nowadays I don’t have a lot of stress.
I was always hard on myself. I expect a lot, and when I didn’t achieve it I was very upset with myself. I was wracked with guilt.
I knew I wasn’t living the way I should (I needed help), and the past haunted me. I was always unsure of the future because I didn’t want to have the issues I did so living in the moment never happened.
This quote DID NOT describe me at all.
The secret for health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. Buddha
And it doesn’t work when we suffer from unresolved grief. So if you try to read positive affirmations to feel better it’s not your fault they’re not working.
How to Cure Anxiety from Unresolved Grief – Simplify Your Food
Just before I set out on my trek at the end of 2012 I read a book that helped change my eating life. The 4-hour body by Tim Ferriss.
My daughter’s boyfriend left it at our house, and I fell in love with the idea of only having to sleep 4-hours a night. I wasted so many years drinking and working that there was so much reading and writing I wanted to catch up on.
When I started reading the book I got side tracked with his Slow Carb Diet. It worked. I lost the extra 25 pounds of fat I accumulated with my sedentary lifestyle. I felt so good I continue to eat the plan a few times a day. It worked wonders physically and emotionally. I slept better, felt better when I woke up, had more energy, I didn’t feel as sluggish. I was leaner and stronger which helped with anxiety.
I want to note that the SCD isn’t about how you look, but how you feel.
His meal plans were so simple and they didn’t require trips to health food stores to search for items I’d never heard of.
It’s also easy to prep meals for a week. I love simplifying any process I can to free up my time to do things I love like writing blog posts.
He also has quick and simple exercises with amazing results. His easy, but weird tummy exercise works right away. I wrote a book review on my other blog and you can check it out by clicking on the link below the photo.
I have a new normal and I love life.
We can’ cure anxiety from unresolved grief in a day. It’s a process. But we can exchange our bad habits that lead nowhere. For good ones that will lead us to a happier place.
Drinking alcohol, eating comfort food, chain smoking and guzzling coffee and/or caffeinated drinks only complicates the problem.
Simplifying yourself is freeing because it’s the opposite of complicated which is stressful. If you want to Simplify Yourself Thoughtfully to overcome anxiety from unresolved grief. You might want to check out my upcoming book Simplify Yourself Thoughtfully to Feel again – Don’t let grief hold you back by clicking the link below.