• Becca

Grief Attacks

I have been struggling in recent weeks. It was weird, because I recognized the feeling I was battling as grief, but I had no logical connection to it. My logical mind was busy figuratively yelling at my emotional psyche for the complete absurdity of these feelings. It created quite a frustrating conflict.

For some reason I felt exceptionally overwhelmed with grief surrounding the end of the relationship I had with Noah. While I felt this emotion and knew it was at least somewhat tied to the ending of the relationship I could not figure out why. It wasn't even the break up itself that was troubling me, but the events leading up to it. My last conversations with Bo. Leaving Bo and Cheri's home for the last time. Random inconsequential things completely unrelated to the trauma of the break up itself. Yet, these feelings continued to trouble me.

I happened across a meme (of all things) explaining the phenomenon of grief attacks, which I hadn't heard of before. I did some research and discovered that people who have mood disorders or PTSD are significantly more likely to experience what science has recently defined as complicated grief. (Sung, S.C. et al., 2011) The primary symptoms for complicated grief are what is now being referred to as a grief attack. Grief attacks are very similar to panic attacks. Often times they have no immediate trigger or prevalent cause but they are just as detrimental. While my grief attacks don't prevent me from carrying on in my daily life, they are a difficult and often unexpected part of my PTSD process.

I feel better knowing that I'm not alone in these random bouts of sadness, even though I wish that I didn't get caught up in them at random. Especially surrounding anything to do with Noah. I haven't been impacted by the end of our relationship in such a severe way since 2014 which was the very beginning of my PTSD recovery journey. In fact, I haven't thought about it hardly at all since completing Candy Apple Butterscotch in 2018.

Perhaps it's because I so recently exposed Noah's lies about Bo which painted my perception of those last words between us in a different light this year. Or perhaps it's the pandemic winding down and my PTSD brain releasing the traumatic energy in old, familiar, "safe" ways. The pandemic is causing a lot of PTSD related responses in the general population. (Jiang, W. et al., 2020) My unique circumstances are likely related to that more than anything related to Noah, Mia, or Bo themselves.

Whatever the cause of my recent grief attacks, they have been exhausting. My sleep schedule is all off kilter and I've been plagued with recurring dreams. Not nightmares, per say, just the same dreams night after night. They are a mishmash of memories and fiction and I remain just lucid enough during them to remember them upon waking. I really hope whatever is inspiring this flux will gtfo here soon.

Jiang, W. et al., 2020. A Network Analysis of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms and Correlates During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Frontiers in psychiatry. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7683419/?report=classic [Accessed February 13, 2021].

Sung, S.C. et al., 2011. Complicated grief among individuals with major depression: Prevalence, comorbidity, and associated features. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3170428/ [Accessed February 13, 2021].

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