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    • CommentAuthorbhv
    • CommentTimeMar 9th 2018
    Thomp360, you might want to see your doctor and ask to try a mild anti depressant or anti anxiety med for the time being. They are not happy pills, but can help you feel more like yourself. You might want to try it for a year. You still have to go through the roller coaster of grief emotions, but an antidepressant could flatten those curves a bit.

    If the first one doesn't work, there are many different ones to try. Be careful.about the side effects. I thought it was weird that they say to watch for an increase in suicidal thoughts, but that is exactly what happened to me when I tried one of them. I stopped that one immediately.

    I was taking Celexa low dose. I wanted to increase the dose but that made me manic. My body doesn't do well with any medication. Recently my doctor wouldn't renew the mail order prescription. It wasnt time to see her and I had been feeling like it wasn't doing any good. Plus I was angry about taking meds when it is my husband who has the illness! So I just weaned myself off them. Will wait awhile to see how things really are. These last two weeks I am more angry. More easily annoyed. Trying to get that under control because it is not helpful. Just gets hb more angry.
    thomp360 ........

    ....If I happen to feel depressed, I re-live the good times. And the way I do it
    is to drag out some old letters, old photo albums, an old diary, old audio tapes,
    anything to look at or read that brings back the wonderful memories of the good
    times we shared. And then, since there's no one else around, I tell the dog all
    about it. And our little dog happens to be a very good listener.
    ....How can I be depressed when I can fill my mind with such great memories?
    Well, that's just the problem, George. The great memories are all in the past, and the present--for the newly bereaved and for quite a while after--is gray, dark, lonely, empty--and no immediate end in sight. It took me quite a while before I could look back with a big smile for all the happy times instead of just with broken sadness because he was gone. But I think that after thomp360 goes through the black days, that he will look back with such gladness for what they had...and that his wife is at peace now, no longer sick or suffering.

    I probably spent a year in leggings and Uggs, mostly browsing on the computer, going from dumb website to dumb website until my eyelids were red at the end of the day. I decorated for Christmas three months after his death just crying and sobbing with each ornament that went onto the tree. (Probably shouldn't have bothered.) So I was a mess. I tried a couple bereavement groups--totally useless--felt no support or connection with any of those people. The ones who understood were the ones here at Joan's. But what helped very slowly and gradually was taking five minutes first thing in the morning for a hot cup of coffee on the screened porch--just vegetating--being in touch with nature. And then I tried to get outside and start walking a bit--hard to do when showering or brushing my teeth seemed like too much of an effort--but again, being in touch with nature in some way is very healing.

    I think thomp360 will find that it comes in waves--you'll be doing pretty well, and then all of a sudden you're collapsing in grief again. Somebody upthread compared it to labor pains...I don't know if a guy could relate--but I agree that if you just relax into it and let it take you where it will, you will do better. You cannot and must not evade the pain--it will only come back later to bite you in the toe.

    I wonder if it is like the advice for what to do if caught in a rip tide. Don't struggle, just go with it. At some point it will stop pulling you out to sea, and you will be able to swim parallel to it and get back to shore.
    • CommentAuthorNicky
    • CommentTimeMar 9th 2018
    Here's a very good article that describes grief very well. This article was mentioned by a member a while back - I can't remember who or when. I'm sure we've all experienced what the author describes - I know I'm still experiencing it. I like this article so much, I printed it & put it on my fridge. My kids read it & found it very good. I've also emailed it to some of my friends.

    As for grief, you'll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you're drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it's some physical thing. Maybe it's a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it's a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.

    In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don't even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you'll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what's going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything...and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.

    Somewhere down the line, and it's different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O'Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you'll come out.

    Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don't really want them to. But you learn that you'll survive them. And other waves will come. And you'll survive them too. If you're lucky, you'll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.”
    • CommentTime7 days ago
    Thanks, everyone, for these thought-provoking comments. Wolf, you always give me much to think about. You usually takes about 2 days for me to mull yours over, during which time I compose a couple of responses to you, which I never send because they are not particularly brilliant.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTime6 days ago
    Brilliance is over rated just as Mensa is it's own joke. It's all relative perception anyway. Intelligence tests were heavily weighted to boy outlook and criteria - get this - without them being aware of it. Understand? The people creating the IQ tests were too dumb to know they weren't intelligent tests. Mensa is it's own joke because people who do well consider themselves very intelligent, but what they are is very good at intelligence tests. Not the same thing by a country mile.

    Just remember that we live on a rock where celebrities are asked their opinions of serious questions seriously. Just remember all things are the Haiti of their day where nobody actually gives a flying except when it's 'news'.

    As for grief, I hardly knew ye. In the mangled wreckage both inside and out, it's still hard to be definitive about any of the single strands. If all that had been visible, I'm sure it could have competed with the world's largest knot (an actual thing) It all made me mentally ill.

    I get the wave thing. It went back and forth in waves for some time where the waves/storms/conflicts actually were getting noticably smaller which is the central reason I knew I was getting 'better'. I don't get the me knowing thing. I never had a hope or expectation of anything because nothing like that was inside me. I just wasn't going down and didn't need a reason.

    There wasn't any transportation. I walked every moment including hundreds of days in a nightmare of conflicted torments in which I felt like what was me might be swept away by the slightest breeze. I truly feared for my sanity, let alone any kind of unacceptable state.

    It was after that I went through hundreds of days noticing that there were gaps of light and they were getting bigger while the waves really were getting smaller and further apart. I was starting to feel more like me and starting to have periods where I felt OK and knew it.

    That experience began to die out when there wasn't anything like waves and I was just here old and alone. That's when more of me began returning which I knew because I was actually experiencing more familiar thoughts and feelings and a fuller and truer natural state.

    That's when the trouble began. Just as unnoticable until it dawns on you, I had come up against the limits of me and any further improvement would have to involve my growth. I resolved that by celebrating my arrival at my limits and declaring that no growth was expected. It's time to relax until I'm sure I've finally let go of the grip I've spent over a decade in.

    Nicky's fridge printout is right. It might have made more of a point that when the ship wrecks there are no waves. You have to get close to a shore to have waves. It takes some time to get there first during which it's far more a mangled state of wreckage than anything to do with noticing the state is breaking up into waves.

    As for depression which I was intimate with for years, it left unnoticed. Anxiety though, is far more stubborn. Instead I'm getting better at recognizing it and balancing dealing with it versus solving the immediate problem.

    Anxiety isn't my main problem. Old age is, where the poor efforts of my ancestors makes any idea of a long life for Wolf laughable. I smoke too. I don't exercise. And I don't give a shit. I came back from the dead to get this time and I'm in zero doubt of that. I also accomplished an impossible goal where I'm in zero doubt of that too.

    In exactly 25 minutes my Raptors tip off down in NYC. Yesterday my lady friend left after spending the night and we had a great time (you asked about that Mary). I'm living again and I'm liking it more than not. And that - is pure genius.

    Read my second post in 2008 or whatever. It asks if anyone truly comes out of this. Yes, Virginia, they do. Wail and cry and scream and hate (specifics) and take time outs and allow wallowing and pity and anchovies, but never quit on yourself. I would trade hope for determination on every single occasion. Survive. Recover. Reclaim. And make as much noise and be as messy about it as you like because there are no style points anywhere that matter a lick in reality. I'm not going down. You are.
    • CommentTime6 days ago edited
    Thanks for your post, Wolf. Your last para. is just what I need to read. Determination I have, so I'll count on that.
    P.S. Glad about your lady friend. Lucky her. Lucky you.
    • CommentAuthorbhv
    • CommentTime6 days ago
    Wolf, I've been wondering about the lady friend too. Good on ya both.

    I like the last paragraph too. And the ship wrck story and the rip tide idea. I get hung up when people tell me "Don't lose hope." I am, like, um, duh, hope doesn't exist in alzheimer land that can last for 20 or 30 years. "Hope" has no meaning for me. I don't want to go down with this ship. I seem to be alternating between floating, clinging to some piece of flotsam, and once in awhile Determination to find something for me in this bleakness. Something, just in case I actually make it to after.
    • CommentAuthorlindyloo*
    • CommentTime5 days ago
    SURVIVE, RECOVER, RECLAIM. Thank you, Wolf. You've framed for me an important way of looking at things. For so long I concentrated on SURVIVAL. Determined that I would. Doing all that I could to make it so. And I did survive. But the afterwards was a shocking surprise. Survival wasn't enough. Six months later that is so apparent.

    I will allow (and have allowed) depression and anxiety some real time. This is not necessarily a bad thing, maybe even a necessary thing. But I am determined now that six months are gone, and the waves of grief are less overwhelming, that I will allow neither to overwhelm that which is possible in me and that which is possible for me.

    An approach that I've just started using for RECOVERY is this: Just because I get up this morning doesn't mean I am committing myself to anything in particular. Just because I get dressed don's mean I have to do anything. Just because I put on my jogging clothes and hiking boots doesn't mean I will have to go for a walk. Just because I open the door doesn't mean I can't shut the door and turn around. Just because I do go for a walk doesn't mean I have to go further than around the block....... It just makes it more likely I will, but I don't have to think about that ahead of time.

    Just because I put on my Sunday go to Meeting Clothes doesn't mean I have to go to church. Just because I drive to church doesn't mean I have to open the door to go in. Just because I open the door to go in doesn't mean I have to stay.

    I've moved up a little in this Recovery approach these past two months to: Just because I call the neighbors upstairs doesn't mean I have to invite them for supper. But if I do, I'm committed. Oh well. Cooking and visiting will just have to be part of recovery. I used this approach when I invited my family for Christmas. It worked. And I have begun having folks over from time to time since then.

    One step at a time doesn't work on the days you just can't get yourself up and about to begin with, even with the caveat. I recognize I'd need help if that were the case most of the time, but I am seeing progress. One step at a time.
    • CommentAuthorthomp360
    • CommentTime5 days ago
    I appreciate all your comments. Saw my primary care doctor today. Unfortunately there is no time line. The six weeks since my wife died have been a roller coaster of emotions-but not with bad days and good days, but bad days and worse days. I wish someone could produce a time line. Because I just feel more lonely. Take medication, talk with my therapist, my kids are a great help-but they work all day. Though they are kind enough to come every weekend. I come back to read the comments often-it makes me feel like I have one big support group, and it helps.
    • CommentTime5 days ago
    You do and keep coming back, even to vent because some day we know you will have something on the plus side to tell us. Today the sun is shining, the birds are singing.
    • CommentAuthorpaulc
    • CommentTime4 days ago
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTime4 days ago
    lindylou, that sounds like an expanding awareness of choice which I would look at as a good sign.