Friday, 19 July 2013

Releasing Anger Can Be Liberating....

written November 2010
It has been just over two years since Butch has passed.  I never got angry about his passing, about being left behind, about being alone and  lonely.  To be honest, I'm not one of those people that gets angry, except when I turn it inside.  Well, now it is starting to come out whether I want it to or not...  The anger I am holding is has turned into a huge angry rash that is driving me crazy.  It won't go away, no matter what I do or take for it. To make matters worse, my tears have turned to acid once again - a sure sign I'm feeling sad and angry.I think it's time for me to release this anger.
I am having trouble sleeping again, as if struggling with the day to day stuff  isn't enough, now I can't even close my eyes and pretend it's not happening! I've been waking up at 3am every day for a week (according to the body time chart, this is the time of anger), so it is time to take action...
I decided to make a date with myself to smash 'stuff' tonight (Friday night). I am meant to be going to my daughter's in Brisbane for the weekend, but I told her I have something 'urgent' to do tonight. I'm assuming that everyone who has a life will be out and I won't have to worry too much about being heard. 
Breaking anything is extremely hard for me, as I'm the sort of person who buys a dinner set from the op shop with the intention of smashing it and then gets caught up in the thought that this set belonged to someone who once loved it, or by smashing it, I am depriving someone else of the pleasure of this ugly dinner-set!
Tonight, I've gone through the house picking everything out that no longer needs to be kept, whether its a coffee jar (which I have been stockpiling), a partial bottle of alcohol left behind by visitors to a medicine bottle I kept from when Butch was alive.  To give me a bit of dutch courage, I am playing loud music (Meatloaf - one of our favourite cds). I'm having a couple of drinks (I'm not a drinker) before I begin to go 'crazy' in my grief of all that was and all that cannot be.
I have prepared the spot where I am going to smash these items and I sure am hoping this will be a liberating and healing experience.
I gave up smoking a while ago, but I am doing that as well. It's time to get the anger involved with why I smoke and how angry it makes me feel when I do out of the way also.  They taste awful, as does the booze, but I'm hoping that by doing all the things I hate, because they indicate I have no control, I am hoping to purge them as well.
I'm not a screamer either and I am hoping the alcohol will loosen those restrictions I place on myself.
Yes, I am a planner but I know if I try to do this spontaneously, it will never happen.  I apologise to my liver and lungs in advance for what I am about to do to them.
I need to do this for self preservation, the rash is only the tip of the iceburg and if I don't do something soon, I know will end up really sick. It has taken over way too much of my body and I just want to peel my skin off so it will stop!
An hour later....
It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. The first few things I threw bounced! Bounced! I said in a loud voice 'I am angry because I feel cheated out of the old age Butch and I were going to share...'. As I watched it bounce, I had a giggle and told myself I clearly wasn't angry enough! I started small after that - I found out light-bulbs make a very satisfying noise as they explode. I was right in the swing of it by the time I'd finished, screaming like a wild banshee and it was kinda disappointing when I'd run out of things to throw. My shoulder is a bit sore though, and my throat is a little raw.
Although I was going to clean up in the morning, I decided to clean up after I had laid waste to my pile of glass and crockery,  I didn't see any point in waking up to it. It was ironic that after I had finished destroying all my 'disposable' items, I didn't know  what my next move should be.  Did I stay sad and morbid afterwards? I hadn't planned that far ahead.
As I was sweeping all the debris towards the garage door, I noticed some lights flashing underneath it. (in my tipsy state I told myself it was probably a little too early for UFOs) I heard a knock and a voice saying 'Please open the door'.
As I lifted the door, I was surprised to find two police persons on the other side.
I am a cadbury girl - in other words a glass and a half is all that it takes for me to be more than a little tipsy - so my first words were 'Sorry, my husband passed away just over two years ago, and I've been purging my anger.' 
They told me quite a few of my neighbours had been concerned enough to ring when they heard things smashing and screaming coming from the premises.  I was impressed the police had been notified, especially as I don't have a lot to do with my neighbours and said so.
The policeman said to me they obviously were a little worried and had rung as I was normally a quiet person.  He suggested next year I could play Meatloaf but buy a punching bag in the interim.
I said I thought the music was playing loud enough to disguise the noise and the police lady told me it was obviously not loud enough. 
How fortunate was I that they were such good sorts? 
I explained about my issues with breaking things and that it took a lot of effort on my part to do so, as we all eyed up the huge pile of broken glass on my garage floor. 
The policeman told me he loved Meatloaf, that he had grown up with it, and I could still play that as I vented my anger - on a punching bag, ( I get the feeling he was trying to make a point, but what could it have been?!)
As they were talking to me Butch and my song 'Two outta three ain't bad' was playing, so I had a quiet laugh, knowing he was probably somewhere having a giggle too.
My life has always been like that, all huge moments in my life had ended on a tragically funny, or at least comical note - and clearly this was another one of them!
They asked my full name and I couldn't help but think, 'Hmm, if I ever get famous, this won't look good!'  They also asked if I would mind providing my date of birth. I told them, adding 'I am over 50 and really should know better!'
I thanked them for coming and asked if it was okay to give them both a hug before they left, which they both did with good humour.
Smashing stuff and venting my anger was truly liberating, I feel lighter and as if I have truly released something that has been holding me back.  I don't think I need to do it again.  I feel bad about my poor neighbours, but I am grateful to know someone cares enough to call the authorities.
After I tidied up, I rang a couple of good friends and we all had a huge laugh at my expense.  I find it amusing to think I, who have never been in trouble with the police, finally created a ruckus at this stage of my life! ...but it was so worth it!
(In fact my cousins have often told me I should have a tattoo saying 'Born to be mild'),
I definitely recommend releasing anger, but maybe not in a way that you get unexpected visitors!
(if you look at the photo I took before I cleaned up, you can see lots of orbs on the wall closest to the door. Nice to know I wasn't alone!)

Thursday, 4 July 2013

My first ever blog about grief - 9 June 2011

Since Butch passed in 2008 there are some days where I feel like the rest of my life stretches out in front of me like a huge barren desert, lonely, unwelcoming, unforgiving and full of hidden dangers.  Other days I feel as if life is worth living, there is good to be found everywhere, the magic still exists and it's okay to be alive.
I admit there are less of the barren deserts now than there once was, but it doesn't make them any less scary.
The trouble with a grieving expedition is no one can go through it for you, no one can 'do it for you' and no amount of heartache will ever change the fact the person you love is gone. 
There are people out there who believe I should be over Butch's passing by now, I should be actively seeking to 'replace' him and get on with my life. I was told a year ago that by April I would be able to look at a photo of Butch and feel no heart wrenching loss.  I would look at it and think 'Yes, I knew him!'  Nothing could be further from the truth.  (In fact I have been testing that theory at least once a week since April and nup, still not happening!)  I don't expect it to either.  What we had was so special, I won't be surprised if I still feel this way as I take my last breath.  And you know what?  That's okay, because that's my choice and my journey.  I don't have to conform to anyone else's perception of how my grief should progress, I just have to be true to me.
I have found it difficult at times because most of the people I met haven't lost their partner, or knew what it was like to lose such an integral part of yourself.  They had much advice, but I found it hard to take them seriously when they hadn't experienced a loss like mine.  Lots of peple told me how great I was doing and how strong I was, but that was obviously their perception because I have been falling apart inside for what seems like forever.
Don't get me wrong I have also met some wonderful people who knew how hard it was to pick up the pieces after Butch passed and they were an inspiration to me.  They shone a bright light into the dark tunnel that was my life and helped me move forward.  I hope you have had 'angels of light' on your grieving expedition and know how awe-inspiring they can be, with their encouragement and support.
Hope & Encouragement

Grief = Depression Y/N?

I've been hearing through various forms of media lately, that grief may be classified as a form of clinical depression, through some complicated form of analysis..
A part of me is happy that there is finally some recognition for grief, but the other part of me is shaking it's head and saying 'What the...?'
All too often when someone is on a grief expedition of any kind, whether it is the loss of a loved one or a job, we do get sad and depressed. How could we not? Our life has changed dramatically. Things will never be the same. We will never be the same.
As we struggle to pick up the pieces, we are told to start looking ahead, don't worry, time will heal, think about 'other stuff' or just 'get over it'.
Nobody wants to talk about grief. It makes us feel uncomfortable. After all, what can we sat to make the other person feel better? Well, lets face it, not a lot..but we could listen.
There is no easy answer to helping someone while they are in their grief bubble. The best and kindest thing we can do is to allow them to release some of their thoughts, angst and even guilt (which is usually misplaced or magnified during a grief cycle) they are carrying around.
Most people, including me, find it difficult to express the many aspects of our grief. We feel out of step with the world. It's as if we have lost our beginning and our end - we are stuck there, somewhere in the middle, unsure which direction we should travel in.
As we hold in our emotions, pain and loss, we can withdraw into ourselves as we try to work our way through it all.
After losing someone we love, we already have a feeling of disconnection and being/feeling different. So when those we depend on aren't offering us the support and encouragement we desperately need, we can spiral into the dark depths of a grief based depression. Once we are there, it can seem like a struggle to get out again.
Most of us reach for help in one for or another. If we feel we aren't getting it, we can turn to habits and addictions. I know for me, after being smoke-free for over 20 years, I turned to cigarettes. They became my best friends. They were always there, it didn't matter what time of the day or night. They were never too busy or worried they would upset me. I didn't have to explain, all I needed to do was reach for them and there they were.
It took me over four years to feel I could survive without my 'best friends'. It was a long slow process, where I discovered who I was, what I liked about me, what I didn't, what I wanted to do and what I didn't. It has been a hell of a ride and I am not the same person I once was.
I haven't 'got over' my grief, its still there. Not a day goes past without sadness, regret or pain. I accept that this is just the way it will be. For so long I fought against what I was going through. I had never seen anyone else go through grief before. I hadn't seen how it rips the rug out from underneath you and sets you on your arse, wondering how the hell you will ever stand up again. Grief had always been something that was hidden within the dark corners of 'society's laws'.
It isn't that complicated really. Grief makes you sad. It makes you depressed. It can make you feel as if you want to end your life. It can make you feel unreasonable and unrealistic guilt. It can make you feel that life isn't worth living without the person you lost. It can leave you disconnected and lonely. It can make you afraid and fearful. It can rock your world. It can make you angry with the world, with yourself, or with no one in particular. Whether we want to admit it or not, grief helps us get in touch with our emotions, especially the ones, we haven't looked at or wanted to acknowledge.
The best we can hope is to through it, to find our way through this midnight maze of sadness and torment, to find that place of peace within our hearts. For it is when we reach that point, we can begin to believe life really is 'for us' and we start to honour ourselves, our life and our place in the world.