Keep Grief Brief
Loss can be devastating, whether a loved one committed suicide, died in an accident, was the victim of disease, or prematurely passed away. You — a survivor — struggle to understand what has happened. You struggle to heal, and to recover from your loss. It may be difficult to fall sleep, and once asleep, it may be difficult to get up again. You may feel harassed by your own thoughts, harrowed by the confusion of it all.
Experiencing a traumatic loss involves questions about meaning and purpose in life, as well as the meaning of death. Things that seemed important yesterday suddenly became unimportant. There is sticker shock on the value of life itself, as life takes on a whole new meaning. Next comes the internal debates about how time is spent with loved ones, while there is still time. And this leads to the roller-coaster of regret, because it can be challenging not to think about how we did or did not spend our time with that special someone.
Keep Grief Brief
Grieving is normal. Everyone does it. It is part of human nature and it is part of animal nature. But we have something more than animals: we also have the capability to reason. And reason enlightens us that we should keep grief brief, that we should banish bereavement. We should emerge from the unlucky loss, not sight unseen, not as if it never happened, but wiser and ready to make the most of our life while we are still graced with having it.
Children may have an especially difficult time making sense of it all. The reality of death, the impermanence of each of us, is an entirely new concept to a child. What we see today may not be there tomorrow, and one day it won’t be.
For adults as well, the death of a loved one is a vivid reminder of our own mortality. It is jolting because father time keeps ticking unfailingly. Out there is the world that simply carries on.
In lieu of the loss, grief can and should be bested. Despite the pain, you can learn from this experience. And there is no reason to feel guilty from such growth. Surely the deceased would want you to flourish rather than suffer. I would like to help you do more than recover — because you can thrive. Recovery from a significant loss can be arduous to navigate alone. Grief counseling is there to support you throughout the ordeal and help you heal.
The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 5.16.
When grief is not acquitted quickly, it further damages the bereaved — as if more must be done! The human brain is always adapting to your thoughts. This is more than the force of habit. It is easier for a criminal to repeat a crime, for a thief to steal again. Each behavior is more difficult the first time in our lives when our neural circuitry is not yet primed for that behavior. Each time an addict yields to an addiction, it becomes easier in the future to give in again because that pathway to pleasure has been strengthened. Each time an angry person justifies an angry thought, their neuronal network for anger has been reinforced; they become more prone to anger in the future. And each time that you agree with grievous thoughts, that mournful moment is also adapting your brain away from happiness and reinforcing your suffering both in the moment and in the future. If you are suffering, it is important that we get to work on the problem. Read on about how we will approach this pain with Stoic therapy.
Stoicism is a practical philosophy of life. It emphasizes reason, and it is as relevant today as ever. In grief counseling, Stoic therapy will apply reason to your thoughts, to help you to heal from this substantial loss. Thoughts that we would not normally consider to be problematic are demonstrated clearly and simply to be self-contradictory, and reason itself is used to guide the way to the good life. Reason paves the path to inner peace.
Yet, Stoicism goes beyond the call of duty because it does more than help with problems such as grief. Stoicism also coordinates every thought toward our rightful goal: to have lasting happiness. Hence, this philosophy remains practical long after the issue has been overcome.
We all understand that we live in a world in which
2 + 2 = 4, and that anyone desiring
2 + 2 = 7 is contradicting their understanding of the world. Likewise, Stoicism emphasizes that our desires have to be reigned in to be in accord with our understanding of nature. In the case of grief, nature has dealt a jarring blow, and adjusting to it often requires help. There is an insufferable, mental conflict between contradictory thoughts, such as knowing that someone is gone and wishing they were not gone. After progressing through several stages, we all have to come to acceptance that they are gone.
But Stoic therapy aims beyond acceptance, past mere peace of mind. Reason guides us toward gratitude, because we were lucky to have known them at all. Rather than side-stepping a painful memory of loss, Stoic therapy would have you rejoice in the memory of your loved one, and keep their memory alive with honor. Ultimately, every thought about them for the rest of your life should bring you joy, not distress. This is our joint goal in grief therapy. As you can see, Stoic therapy is the best therapy for grief.
Heal Now, Mourn No More
Please call Ron at (860) 960-6711 for a free phone consultation. I would like to discuss your specific situation, answer any questions you may have about grief therapy, and offer aid. I am available online, and also have an office in Farmington. Welcome to Stoic therapy.