“Brainwasting”

I spend a good bit of each day reading through the posts of others who are grieving, some on blogs and many in Facebook groups. Quite often they are from people who are really in deep pain, whose loss is relatively new- I say relatively because “new” really is relative to each person’s situation and story.

Even after several years distance from my last “major” loss 4 years ago,  it is easy to recognize and renew those thoughts and feelings.  I read in search of how I can best serve those who are there now; looking for the questions that maybe I have found some speck of an answer to.  Mostly I feel that I must just keep trying to reassure whoever I can that it is possible to survive what feels unsurvivable.  It will probably be the worst thing you’ve ever been through and you will probably have times when you won’t want to survive, but you can survive.  And somewhere along the way, you can find some meaning and new happiness in there.

When I read of people’s anguish,  I wish so much I could wave a magic wand and take it away.  I wish I could say “This is when it will be over and you will feel good again”. I wanted so badly for someone to tell me that.  I remember people telling me over and over “It will take a long time” and I wanted to know “how much time?”  but no one could tell me that.  I searched and searched for that answer but to no avail.  Now I can look back over time and what I have been through and find some ideas that may fill in some of the blanks.

One of the things that I’ve done, that I developed as a “survival skill” if you will, is what I decided to call “brainwasting”.  That may sound like a terrible thing but I think it can be very relaxing and helpful when you need a break from the reality of your life.  I guess it’s a form of meditation in a weird way. Sort of an internet meditation.

Basically what I do is come up with a couple of little things that I decide are very important that I need to research on the internet and I just let myself get lost in them.  It may be for an hour or more and I even take notes.  I may not ever bother with the information later although it seemed so important at the time I did it.  That doesn’t matter.  It helps me by giving me a break and allowing me to relax but still focus my mind on one simple thing that is not related to death and sadness, which is difficult when you are grieving.

It’s a step beyond staring at the wall and can give you a feeling of getting something done.  Maybe it’s just a new recipe for cooking meatloaf or the best type of electric can opener to buy.  I can spend an hour researching where to find my favorite type of pen and it’s not because I am obsessive or whatever, truly.

It can be pretty easy to get into this activity, just start jotting down things you think of- things you might be interested in finding out about- one or two words will do.  It can be just an interest or something you need to find out about but try to make it “light”.  The internet makes it so easy.  All you have to do is keep clicking on links.

If time is an issue for you, you can set a timer or ask someone to alert you when a certain amount has passed.  Being unable to focus and feeling like all you’re doing is sitting around unable to move are 2 very big problems with grief.  It can be really hard to get moving again, even when you may feel a spark somewhere inside to do something.  The way the internet and all of its various resources are set up, it doesn’t take a lot to turn that tiny spark into motion and get your mind starting to focus onto something.  And it can be such relief to get a break from reality for a bit, even on a mindless activity.

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