Day 20

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GriefDay 20
Grief Brain, and being a better person?
Grief Brain, and being a better person?
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Created: 2023-04-09 

Doogie Howser, M.D

Grief Brain
One of the books on grief I'm listening to is going over grief brain. Basically, that while in grief a lot of people are in a fog, and keep doing things like putting keys in the freezer, not being able to read, and so on. Basically, the brain starts using all its spare cycles to process grief, and not enough is left for foreground tasks to process well. Usually it goes away. I never had this -- and of course that makes you think to yourself, "what's wrong with me?" But of course, the answer is nothing. I just can divide tasks well into separate modes. I can push a thought down, then bring it back whne I have focus time and really think it through and explore it. So it's not that I didn't think of all the things they did and process it -- I'm just "better" (different) at setting aside 15 minutes or an hour to just REALLY think on that. Then I process it, write it down, and move on (unless I discover a new variable I hadn't thought of, etc). It let's me get closure on topics faster. (It's been very valuable when I was in leadership roles in that I'm decisive and move on).
I over-intellectualize issues and can really process them. But I really explore them quickly and thoroughly. Why do I think/feel that? What could I have done differently? Is this helpful or non-helpful thoughts? What can I learn? If needed, I can turn off, or turn down emotions. But I usually don't, as they need to be processed/felt as well. I worried that the Spock brain processing was turning me into a sociopath (living in a different world separated from the human experience) -- but I feel empathy and for others just fine. And my wife laughed off the idea when I pointed out that I processed grief over the death of my parents or friends that I loved far quicker than most. She kenw the depth of which I felt the pain, I could just handle it, and move on quicker than others. I can revist topics, especially if someone brings something up about an issue/aspect, that I haven't thought of. I don't 100% think I'm right on everything -- I think dwelling on it when I'm at 95%+ certainty isn't going to help anything -- unless there's a new variable. Since I'm discovering litle new about my wife's or parental death, and it wouldn't change much, I tend to move on.
  • Better Person A friend mentioned that the loss of his wife "made him a better person". I don't doubt it. The "funny" thing was I was often a better person (in some ways) when she wasn't around. She'd take a trip, and I'd get all these things done. When she was home, I was often on her schedule, or felt like just running around and blowing through my lists (ignoring her existence) was obnoxious. So I often waited for her... or worse, could just wait until it magically got done or she asked me to do it (to earn spousal credits for later). When she's gone, I'm bored, can't wait until the bill-fairy pays and logs the bills, or the fridge fairy cleans out the things that smell bad or are past expiry. I'm not scoring points procrastinating until asked. Just make lists, and do them. And when I'm by myself -- self improvement tends to get moved way higher up the lists. Go out. Work out. Eat less. (And I don't have her sabotaging me with my favorite treats). A lot of my motivation changes from doing it for her/us, to doing it for me -- and the latter is a simpler equation.


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02/18 my wife had a 2023_Heart_Attack, and passed away on 03/22/23; the hardest day of my life. Except for the ones after it.

Tags: Grief

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