Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stuff it - in a pocket! (Part 3, Does Art Heal?)

One of my sisters emailed to say that she read my blog and she wanted to know who was dying or getting a divorce?  LOLOL!!!  OK, No one is dying....that I know of and no one is getting a divorce.  I'm not grieving anything.  I'm simply asking the question....does art heal?  And in order to do that, we have to look at all the phases of the "healing process" in order to come to an answer.  

My family does make me laugh!!!

So, part 3......

Did you ever just lash out at someone or something that normally wouldn’t upset you?  Quite a shocker, huh?  You go through a phase in the healing processs where you just need to burst out and blame the first person who steps in front of you!  I lashed out against the doctors.  Told them they were beyond insane. I remember standing there screaming my head off at one of them.  I probably should have just gone outside in the middle of the night and screamed my head off at the stars....I don't think he considered a word that I said!  But it was a way, a method, a means to get all that pent up frustration and anger outside my body rather than keeping it stuffed up inside of me. It did me so much good!  He wrote on my son's chart, "mother may be unstable at times".  LOLOL!!!  Did this physician not understand the grief process?  Obviously he wasn't that good of a physician, huh?

Sometimes the templates are a bit is life

I was a manager for years and it finally hit me that when an employee was irrationally angry at work….they might be somewhere in this step of the grief process.  I would invite them into my office, close the door and just start talking to them as a friend.   Almost every time there had been a recent death in their family.  I would ask them if they knew about the grief process.  Usually they didn’t.  So I would sit and explain it to them.  Amazing results every time.  They were able to seek counseling, control their outbursts and become even more productive employees.  But that sure wasn’t anything they taught me in college or grad school! 

If you find yourself the brunt of someone’s angry outburst or unreasonable actions, you might want to find out if they are grieving a loss in their life. 

If you are grieving, you really do need to express your anger, not suppress it.  But direct it where it belongs, not at the first innocent person that appears in front of you! Writing is really good at this stage.  Put all those angry feelings into words. 

Years ago I used to sew when I was mad.  I could create the most wonderful outfits when I was angry....but couldn't make a thing when I was happy.  Crazy, huh?

If your anger becomes destructive, seek help.  If you feel completely numb and never experience anger…go back to phase one and see what you can do to move forward.  Support groups, friends, family…..all can help throughout the entire process. 

If you are angry and you don’t know why…take a moment to ask yourself if you’ve had a recent loss.  It’s not just death.  There are a number of losses that can put a person into are a few:

Someone you love or care deeply for moves far away
You lose a job or your spouse loses theirs
You get demoted
A pet died, or ran away or was stolen
You are going through the empty next phase
Your child has a disease or disability
You move to a new location changing jobs, church, school, friends

There are probably a whole lot more, but those can be pretty big loses.

It's a beautiful double pocket tag!

I have found a new reason to grieve lately….the aging process.  Seriously.  I don’t know when it started, but sometime in the last few years.  I was getting angry with mself that I couldn’t lift a hundred pound bag of fertilizer and carry it to the back yard.  I would get upset that I needed to come home and rest after hitting 3 or 4 stores in the morning when I used to be able to shop 18 hours nonstop!  And then I realized that I am aging and losing muscle and endurance.  Once I figured it out, I just sat here and had a good laugh. 

Some losses come upon us so slowly that we don’t recognize them until we start to get good and mad!

The tags have spots for journaling or photos

There are 2 types of anger.  Anger out:  the outbursts I described.  Anger in:  keeping it all bottled up inside, repressed anger.  Know that either type of anger, if you don’t work through it, will slow down the healing process.  It will also prevent you from being creative.  I call this "good Baptist grieving"....but after a conversation today with the basement babes, maybe it's just good midwest grieving. You know, you were never allowed to grieve, there wasn't time, farm work has to be done, you can't take a break from you supress the feelings, you bottle them up, you forget about it  and get on with life.

Anger comes from the left side of the brain and if it’s consuming your thoughts, you’ll never make it over to the right side to play.

isn't this too cute?  But is it done? 

"They" say that bargaining is another part of the process.  I actually find it funny now… that I know what it is and I think back about the “bargains” I have made.  “Dear God, just let me get this last 80 pound brick up out of the ground and I promise I will never move another brick in my life!.  And then the next summer, I’m back redesigning the garden….moving huge boulders and stones.  OK, so it wasn’t a brick….but it weighed about the same!   The problem with bargaining is what I just did.  If you don’t keep your end of the deal, then you will feel guilt and that will set you back to step 2!!!  And we rarely keep our end of the bargain!

I can think of hundreds of past bargains.   And I still do it.  Most often without even thinking about it.  It’s just part of the grief process.  So don’t feel guilty when you don’t keep up your end of the deal.  Know that it’s just a natural process and no one is going to hold you accountable. 

This is a felt snowflake from Creative Impressions, imbedded between 2 layers of glass and then soldered around the outside edges with a jump ring added to the top.

At some point, I started to put my bargains in writing.  And I found a pattern.  Pretty selfish on my part.  Everything was all about what I wanted/needed for me.  And that’s when I finally realized that you really need to make the bargain for the other person.

Instead of, “Dear God, if you make my son well, I will read the Bible every day” my “bargaining” became, “Dear God, No matter what happens, I’m going to study hard to understand what you are trying to tell me through Your scriptures.  In the meantime, I’m placing my son in Your hands, Your will be done, not mine.” 

Oh! My gosh!  Instant relief.  I was no longer responsible for my son’s health.  All I had to do was be a mom/nurse, take care of him….and leave the outcome to God.  Such mercy!  So much grace! 

Let’s see, I think it only took me 5 or 7 years to get to that point!  Back then, I didn't think there was a problem. It is only in retrospect, in hindsight, that I can look back and see how I went through the steps in the process.  No, it doesn’t happen overnight for most of us, so don’t wear yourself out expecting it.

Just by adding that snowflake charm, adding one more thing to a pocket..I think I like it much better now.  Girls in winter hats, summer roses, snowflakes....the top 2 girls are sharing a secret?  The bottom girl is loving her doll..the chaos of life, the chaotic process of healing, surrounded by friends and family...into each life, a little snow should fall!

It’s really easy to get stuck here, so if you do, this is a good time to seek counseling.  Some people just enjoy being angry all the time.  Others simply don’t know how to move past this.  I think a lot of us get stuck in a loop here by bargaining, not keeping our end of the bargain, feeling guilty, making another bargan, getting angry that the bargain isn’t working, getting angry that this “thing” happened to us.

Writing has always been such good therapy for me.  I have binders, notebooks, pages and disks full of thoughts, feelings, and emotions.  I rarely read them.  But I know where they are.  Volumes more have been tossed out….because they were thoughts or events that I didn’t need to keep any more.  And that’s the beauty of writing during this phase.  Once you understand all the steps to the process, you will know when it’s time to discard old thoughts, old worries, old problems.  So it’s the physical/mental act of writing out your thoughts that enhances the healing process.  Not necessarily keeping or doing anything with it.  On the other hand, there may be some events in your life that you want to keep your thoughts forever.  Writing is a great place to start and from there you can decide if it’s just a journal, or if you want to add photos to it, or if you want to embellish the photos and the writings and turn them into decorated pages.  For the moment, that can wait. 

Finally, forgiveness is key to getting past anger.  As long as you are angry with someone else, you have a bridge to them, something to hold onto them with.  Being angry with them feels better than no connection at all to them.  And you can’t move forward if you can’t let go.

In today’s pocket, what is it that you haven’t been able to let go of?  What are you angry about?  What scene do you play over and over and over in your head?  What would stick inside this pocket?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! I have to tell you that your posts about the process of healing and dealing with grief really hit home for me. I've had serious health issues this last year but have realized lately that I've never grieved the changes my health issues have brought to my life. I really needed to read your blog. Thank you so much, Jen. You are a very special lady.
Sandi Smith (MM Forum)