TRIGGERS

…it could be anything, couldn’t it?

a photograph of him smiling…a scent of that cheap antiperspirant…documentaries on fishing…a dark blue old volvo driving past…stories about someone else’s Dad who recovered after their bypass…a Charles Bronson film…teddy bears…a tummy ache…a harmonica…onion prawn bhaji…sayings like “i used to complain when i had no shoes until i see a man with no feet”…

question is…how to cope with the pain…the tears…the sadness…oh! the utter sadness that come straight after the trigger?

I’m sure everyone can identify with this Jude, those little things that bring a wave of sadness.

I do hope that joining our community will offer some help in coping with your grief, even if it’s just knowing there are others who understand.

take care
Nancy

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Hi Jude,
Oh how I am so sorry for your loss. All these triggers are a constant reminder of the love that is gone. I find that I am avoiding places and sites that i used to go to with my mother. I was her carer for a number of years and she died last November. During the summer I used to take her, in her wheelchair, to the local park were we would have ice cream, if the weather was good enough. I used to sit on the same bench. Now I find it difficult to go anywhere near the park, to go to familiar shops, watch the same programmes, or even eat the same foods we used to like–now they tast like ashes. It may sound pathetic a 52 year old man getting upset over these trivial issues. A few weeks ago I was brave enough to sit on the aforsaid bench. I was sitting there in the pouring rain, talking to a space where she used to be parked and sobbing uncontrollably…wonder what image I made.
It is a painful never ending cycle of emptiness. I just wonder how I am going to cope…the nights are the worse. sleeping in bursts with perculiar dreams…nothing seems to link together.
I have been to see my local GP who only proscribes higher doses of medication, it is only a temporary measure…the pain only returns. So I have decided–with GPs agreement–to come off the mertazapine; which is relatively ineffective anyway. A great sage has said that “death is part of the human cycle of life” and such medication may be counterproductive to long term healing, displacing such pain for dependency on chemical help.
I find talking about such matters help, but been warned that I am still too raw and new to bereavement for therapy yet. I have to get the initial period of grief through my system first. Though I have been in touch with Cruse but sitting in a group environment is somewhat disconcerting; and there is a waiting list in my neck of the woods for 1: 1. There are other helplines, cruse has a helpline. but I don#t want to go down the avenue of calling all the time, nothing more condescending than being classified as “a regular” and dealt with in a half hearted manner, who goes over the same ground all the time, not being able to progress in my grief. So it is difficult and so painful.
you have my sympathies
Dave

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hello Dave,

first of all thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post and sharing your experience. it has given me such comfort (in a very strange morbid kind of way) knowing that I am NOT the only one feeling this way about the “triggers”.

i don’t think you sound pathetic at all…you’re 52 and i’m 42, but i’d sob like a child when i’m hit by any of the triggers.

avoidance is one of the tactics we all seem to adopt into our daily lives, especially at this very early stage…my father passed away last month, in January so just like you…i am still feeling rather “raw”.

i live in the UK but my father (and my whole family) is in Malaysia…so I am spared the pain of being geographically close to familiar places…and his grave, but I still carry with me a lot of memories and I am still reminded of him by all those things i mentioned in my original post…

and dreams! you mentioned dreams and i do have dreams of him too…seeing him and him not seeing me, or looking for him and i can’t see him in a crowd of people and i’d always wake up crying…sometimes these dreams make sense and other times they don’t at all, and i’d spend hours or days obsessing over them.

i refuse to take anti-depressants as I was suicidal when I was on them 2 years ago. so i decided to improve my diet, take supplements, practice mindfulness meditation, do some yoga/pilates and surround myself with good people.

like you said talking about things absolutely helps…and i’m giving this online community a go as well…as sometimes, i feel like i’m taking too much of other people’s time and it can be awkward for other people to know what to say when you’re talking to them face to face on “real time”. so i think having a “rant” on here could be just as therapeutic.

i have seen a therapist last year while my father was very ill and also for other trauma/loss issue. and the therapist said something which i found very liberating - she said you just NEED to grieve, don’t fight it, don’t deny yourself the pain/hurt/tears and it IS normal and if you don’t grieve properly…it will rear it’s ugly head at some point in your life. there is no time limit, no right or wrong way to grieve and it is personal. my mantra (if i can manage it after the sobbing) is “THIS is what grieving feels like” and i give myself a hug or get a hug from someone else.

and my therapist also told me about the “Models of Grieving” - the PRE-loss and POST-loss. perhaps it’s something i need to revisit and i’d suggest you do too

hang in there…everything is going to be okay…

i watched the show last night - David Badiel “Trouble with Dad”…and i cried and cried and cried…reminded me of seeing my Dad “not being my Dad” after the bypass…it was so sad…frustrating…and horrific…

Hi Jude & David,
I don’t think the triggers ever go. I lost my dad 7 years ago and my mum 18 months ago. Those triggers catch you out at the most inappropriate moments, lying on a beach listening to music, in a card shop, the smell of perfume/aftershave . I don’t think it is a bad thing to have a good cry, punch a pillow in frustration and dispair. All that disbelief, hurt and anger has to come out. Working through grief takes a long long time and I don’t know if it truly leaves you. In time it just becomes easier to deal with. Sometimes I feel it builds up and I try to hold it together but eventually it gets too much and I have to have a good cry. I try to avoid triggers if I know I’m not going to be comfortable dealing with them but sometimes I feel better after the release of emotions.
David - don’t feel you are alone in how you feel, it can be desperate at times. Nothing can prepare you for the range of emotions that you feel. Seek help from wherever you feel comfortable. Sometimes just having someone to listen can help. I hope as time goes on it will become easier for you. Take a day at a time.
Alison x

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Its the 2 year anniversary at the moment since i lost my dad. The triggers havent stopped but theyre different. I was close to my dad so theres a lot of triggers but now theyve changed from tears and a “numb” feeling. Now theyre mostly something I can laugh about if that makes sense. He was always telling these “dad” jokes and sometimes someone says something which triggers those flashbacks and i will give his one liner and laugh and say “thats what my dad always said” or I will tell a funny story about him in conversations. occasionally my fiance does something that freaks me out where hes similar with humour and will say something thats exactly the same as my dad would of said and i get goosebumps and a shiver down my spine. So 2 years on the triggers havent gone but theyre easier to cope with. i hope this helps xxxx

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