Monday, November 15, 2010

SURPRISE!!! (Part 1, Does Art Heal?)

In any healing process, there has to be grief.  Grief is the loss of something that once was.  If you are sick, you grieve the loss of health.  If you are divorced, you grieve the loss of marriage.  If you have lost a loved one, you grieve their loss. And in grief, there are stages.  Some say there are 5 stages in grief, some say 7.  I think there are at least 9 stages….and we may not yet know all there is to know about the healing process….both physical and emotional.

I think everyone pretty much agrees that the first phase is shock and denial.  It’s like numbed disbelief.  When I witnessed my dad take his last breath….even though I had known it was coming….the complete, utter sense of disbelief that he was actually gone overwhelmed me. 

There's shocking news …..I still feel the shock of the doctor’s words when he said to me, “your son will be dead in 2 years”.  My complete disbelief to this very day that any human being would have the audacity to utter words like that!

There's overwhelming news….”we are going to have to operate on your son’s brain and if he lives, he probably will be blind”.  I mean, how can you breathe when someone says something like that to you?

Shock is the body’s natural way to avoid pain.  It insulates us.  It provides protection from being overwhelmed all at once.  It can last for weeks.

Denial goes hand in hand with shock.  We have to deny the incident occurred, so that our brains can insulate us from it.

If  your husband says, “I want a divorce”, or the police call and say, “there’s been a terrible accident”, or you simply feel a cold coming on – the brain will do it’s best on insulate you from the bad news.  You go into shock, into denial.  Think about it….how many times have you said, “it’s not a cold, it’s just a runny nose?”  and then a week later you are flat on your back with the worst cold of the year?

 It can happen with any event, just depends on what type of person you are.

 (shocking news!!  she arrived at the event barely dressed!!!)

They say that young children who live in a home where a parent that they absolutely adored leaves, will remain in some form of shock and denial the rest of their lives.  That their emotional maturity stops when the parent leaves.

(Must explain why some of our husbands still act like 10 year olds???)

I’ve read about women who lose a spouse and deny he is gone.  They continue to see and hear him in their lives years after his death.

Some people get stuck in denial and never work their way out.  Some never process their denial….they just seem to skip over it.  Some seem to have learned how to manage it and move forward.  Some need classes and group sessions and help from everyone surrounding them.

Each one of us is completely different and we process our grief, our healing in a different manner. 

 can you see the little girl forgot to put her shirt on?

I don’t think “art” is an appropriate venue at the moment something happens.  Your husband just died and you tell me you need to take time out to scrap the event?  Yikes!!! 

But if it’s been awhile since the event happened and you find that you are continually repeating what happened in your head, going over it again and again, trying to play the movie in different angles, then perhaps it would help to journal what happened.

If you have anxiety over what might happen in the future, it’s good to write down those thoughts.  Worry is the repetitious thought of what did or might happen to you.  Sometimes, we simply worry because we think we might forget the details of an event.  So if you write it all down, the brain can quit worrying about it because it knows it can go back and read it as often as it needs to. 

 from little bits and pieces of nothing, I put it all together to create the pocket
and from the little bits and pieces left of you after a traumatic incident, you can create a "new" you!

Shock can come in a million ways, big and little! The event that causes it can have a life altering impact, or it can be routine and short-lived.  How we deal with the entire process of healing from the event can make or break us as human beings.  Because art comes in many, many forms, I’d say that journaling, writing, documenting might be the best form of art if you get "stuck" in this step.

PS. I'm not a theapist.  I just write from life's experiences.

I hope you get the concept that in this journal, we will take the shock and disbelief items and file them away in the "surprise" file.  Sometimes, it's good to keep even the worst memories, tucked deep inside a pocket, where no one else can see them, but you know they are there.  What would you write about if you were asked to hide it in your "surprise" file?

1 comment:

Just call me Silly Sal said...

Hi Jen,
That's exactly what I did actually at the time my sister was dying. I Journaled and did some altered art. It truly helped. You have put it so much better (as always). I blogged about what I did this past August. Who would have thought this would help, but I was alone and not with my immediate family and husband and this DID bring me comfort.