Monday, August 16, 2021

Triggers ---------> Meltdown

Yesterday I realized I was experiencing some grief triggers over the weekend. Living alone this summer has put me back in touch with what widowhood feels like. 

It's a struggle! I had a bit of a meltdown on Saturday. I sure don't want you to think your future is relegated to constant grief because I'm admitting this. No way! But we're all human---we're not machines---and if we are normal, our life won't be perfect and we'll shed some tears now and then. 

I survived, and you can too. But it's a little easier if we can recognize what triggers our overwhelming memories and sadness, so here's my list. See if you agree or can come up with some of your own.

Some of my triggers are: 

  • living alone and being alone most of the time I have only lived in this house since November, and have no family nearby---so no one ever just drops by.
  • silence (I guess I should turn on the TV or some music, but I seldom do unless I'm going to pay attention to them. Do you all have background noise all day?)
  • negative thinking - like, I have a picture in my head of me all alone on a deserted island! That's how I feel! Abandoned! 
  • nostalgia - for me this is longing for family reunions, etc., and where I grew up in Wisconsin
  • lack of sleep 
  • lack of prayer - just feeling too discouraged  
  • maybe a prescription I'm taking? I have a dr. appt on Thursday so I'll ask her about it.

Do we share any of the same triggers? Do you notice how these are a combination of physical factors and my mindset? Some of them I can sort of control through good habits, but others are rather environmental. At least I've learned that if I do become widowed again, I need to immediately look for a group living arrangement with either family or some female housemates. 

A lot of times we can handle one or two "triggers" but when they snowball like they did for me this weekend, then comes the meltdown.  

Why not talk about this with a friend or with your widows group? Together is better for heading off meltdowns and grief attacks! As you talk, you might find some "me too" moments, understanding hugs, encouraging Scriptures to guard your heart and mind, and much needed prayer support. 💗 ferree

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  1. Many familiar triggers here. I actually live in an in-law suite attached to my daughter and her family's home. I am so blessed! Still the triggers come as their young family naturally gets caught up in their busy lives. Sometimes I appreciate the silence, but can never sit and eat without the TV on for background noise.Some days Christian music is a sweet accompaniment to doing my chores. When I get down and it's hard to pray, writing out a favorite hymn or worship song or Scripture often breaks the inertia. Reading your posts is also a great encouragement as it is so good to know these feelings are not weird or "wrong". Thank you so much for always being honest! God bless.

  2. Aww, thanks for your encouraging comment. You mentioned music and that is such a beneficial and uplifting thing to add into the day--good for you! I do usually turn on the tv when I have lunch or supper, thank you for helping me realize that. Writing or even just copying a verse or words to a hymn or song---I love that idea too. Life with a young family would present a set of unique triggers too, and some sad and equally challenging ones, but I love how you are recognizing them and choosing to also see the blessings. This weekend has been teaching me that the feelings, like you said, are not weird or wrong, they just are. The rather amazing thing is that God has entrusted us with them and we can focus them to a better or a bitter finale. I waver an awful lot, but i hope I'm learning, and you have been a huge help to me. Thank you so much for your kind words today.

  3. Thanks for your open article.
    I’m In year 7 and feel I’m doing well but DO hit nostalgia and sadness periodically. Have had both the past two weeks. Ugh. Not constant but can hit me especially when tired.
    I’ve had problems with an old hip replacement so pain and some limitations are pretty constant. Lots of adapting necessary! Which gets me pondering the future which gets me depressed which gets me sad.
    Finding ways to readjust does help me and makes me feel more ‘in control’. I’ve worked in Physical Therapy and Myofascial Therapy for 38 yrs so I’ve learned MANY helpful techniques and ways to adapt. I sorely MISS my patients ( semi retired 2020) but am learning to utilize my skills personally��
    I rarely have TV on until late afternoon and then it’s my ‘visit’ to Mayberry and fun times with Andy and Aunt Bea as well as laughs over Barney’s antics! PM I will catch a baseball game for a few innings but that may bring on tears remembering watching with my dad.
    Downsizing and minimizing is a goal but also brings on the tears sometimes. It’s an INTENT to then focus on the GOOD memories but not always easy.
    Prayer is an all day focus as I go about tasks. Especially focusing more on gratitude the past couple of years as I worked through the hurt of loss.
    I have found the positive of aloneness as to setting my schedule or NO schedule. Eat when I choose to and eat healthier (without having to buck the tide of resistance).

    Ellie O

  4. I have been widowed for 20 yrs now and yes, can still, at times, experience what you have listed today. From day one I have immediately turned on music all of my waking hours and as soon as I come home etc. I found the station of all classical music that I enjoy which makes great soft, yet quiet , background music. I don’t feel as lonely and I can still go about doing things without it disturbing me. I have found it smothering and company.
    For the first while after his death and when I came home to an empty house, I would always come in the door and say, “Hi Honey, I am home.” He wasn’t there of course, but it broke the stiffness and emptiness of those walls.

    We learn to cope as we go along and we do what works for us, each finding their own way.

    You sound normal. Don’t give up. Fill your negative times with something positive. I found I need to make things happen, people don’t just come to you or plan things for you. Something we all need to work at with others, including myself .

  5. I have Alexa remind me at a set time to turn on music and I just pick random station or genre

  6. Thanks for the tip! I had just realized that the other day---you can set up an entire morning routine to get your day started off with some motivation too. thanks for sharing :)

  7. I, too, have similar triggers. My family with grandchildren just spent 4 days here. When they leave, I go through serious 'post visit blues'. The house goes from lively to silent. I look at chairs on my deck & yearn to have family back sitting & chatting over a glass of wine. I see the toys strewn all over & that triggers angst over missing the 'Littles'. The silence is smothering so I have Alexa play 'Piano Guys Radio from Pandora' (it's free). It's beautiful instrumental music & lifts my spirit. I also listen to audio books, checked out from my library through an app that plays through my phone. This all helps with the silence. I have set up routines on Alexa so my music starts at 7:00 am. Then when I come down from my bedroom, the music greets me.
    My husband of 42 years died 6 years ago. My Mom was a long distance support & also a widow; We were kindred spirits & chatted daily via the phone. But, she died 12/2018....I still miss our daily phone calls.
    I, also, say "hello house, I'm home" whenever I return. It's silly, but it feels good to me.
    It's reassuring to know others feel as I do. I love your emails & blog!! Thank you

  8. Dear Linda, I find the same sort of let down when visits end. Especially "the Littles!" I only have one grandchild, but I'm sure it must multiply for each one. It's a big adjustment to go from the space full of energy and noise to a space of quiet. The changes you've make, though, and the ways you've adjusted will really help everyone who reads about them. I might start saying "Hello, I'm home," too. I find I keep expecting someone to be listening for that from me, and maybe I'm missing out. Maybe it would help me realize that, yes, God is right here with me. :) He's with us. Thanks so much for sharing your comment and insight today Linda, I appreciate you!

  9. Hi. I'm reading this right now anticipating widowhood after 11 years of caregiving my husband with Parkinson's. He's failing almost daily but not yet getting care beyond my own. Still, I look at him and see him getting more frail by the day and I just want to grab him and cling to him, which I try to resist because I think it scares him. I feel so alone and scared. Please send up a prayer for me. I need some right now.

  10. Dear K, I sure will pray for you. One of my uncles died of Parkinsons last month :( and I personally know three other men with it, so it's close to my heart. Cherish these days, hold each other gently, and dig into the Lord and your support groups, The caregiving is exhausting so I'll be praying for you too. ((hugs))


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