No one is on the schedule to write for tonight.
So I am posting this for grieving people who want a place to gather.
There is a discussion question after the fleur de kos.
Welcome, fellow travelers on the grief journey
and a special welcome to anyone new to The Grieving Room.
We meet every Monday evening.
Whether your loss is recent, or many years ago;
whether you've lost a person, or a pet;
or even if the person you're "mourning" is still alive,
("pre-grief" can be a very lonely and confusing time),
you can come to this diary and say whatever you need to say.
We can't solve each other's problems,
but we can be a sounding board and a place of connection.
Unlike a private journal
here, you know: your words are read by people who
have been through their own hell.
There's no need to pretty it up or tone it down..
It just is.
These days, when the worst feelings of grief and loneliness jump up and take me by surprise, creep up on me around the corner, or fall on me out of the sky, I stop for a moment and ask myself a question: do I have the energy to push back against this?
Sometimes I don't have the energy. I feel like I am trapped under an enormous sandbag. It takes everything I have to crawl out.
But sometimes when I do feel able to push back, I have specific things I do to distract myself, or lift my mood, or make an effort at comfort.
I am a food addict in recovery so I have to resist going to food for comfort. Although it is tried and true, it only works for a short time and then I usually feel worse. I have a book called 50 ways to soothe yourself without food, and some of those ideas are good for the run of the mill bad mood or sad day, but few are up to the task of being blindsided by grief.
Watching Stephen Colbert is fairly reliable. I always keep a few Colbert Reports on my DVR for this purpose. No matter how bad I feel, he always gives me at least one or two cathartic belly laughs per episode.
I listen to music, different music than I've ever listened to before, avoiding the melancholy oldies I've loved for decades. In recent months I've been listening to Daft Punk (which I affectionately call "mindless repetitive robot music") and Justin Timberlake, someone I never gave a second thought to in the past ("let me show you a few things... show you a few things... about love"). I've been looking for other new (to me) music that has no triggers to sad memories or negative connotations to pain in my past.
I come to Daily Kos and let myself get distracted by the latest Republicon outrage. Music diaries sometimes lead me to new music. Or I find a community diary where I can get out of myself and find out how other people are doing, and make a virtual connection with my cyberfriends here.
Sometimes I manage to make a phone call to a friend in real life, although many of my friends are in other time zones and my closest friend is working such a demanding job that I don't want to interrupt her mountain of tasks, her infrequent work breaks or her much-needed sleep.
My therapist always says I can call her in an emergency, but I guess I am trying to hide from her how many emergencies I have.
And although I know a lot of people, it is very hard to reach out to my wider circle of friends. I don't want to dump on them, even if they say they want to listen. Besides, sometimes I'm tired of hearing my own self talk.
If it's the middle of the night and no one is awake and not much is happening in the open thread for night owls, sometimes I play computer games. I can get lost in Text Twist and not be able to think about anything other than what seven letter word can be made from the letters U R N E V E E.
I do believe in prayer. I especially believe in the prayer of tears. Sometimes a good cry helps the feeling pass, but sometimes it escalates and I can never tell in advance which way it will go.
Sometimes I try everything on my comfort list and nothing works.
Sometimes I don't even try.
So this is my suggested discussion question: When things are at their worst, do you float down the river of sadness or do you swim upstream?
Do you lie under the sandbag or do you wriggle your way out?
When grief has you in its grip, how do you comfort yourself?
Does anything help?