How Losing A Parent Can Impact Your Brain And Mental Health
We all know that losing a loved one can cause one an immense amount of grief, especially if over loses a parent. If one has to go deeper, the amount and intensity of grief experienced would depend on a few things, like the following:
1. Equation shared with the parent
2. Psychological bent of mind
3. Previous experience with grief
4. Cause of death
To study this on a deeper level, research was conducted in the 1970s, where about 11,000 people were studied- some orphans, some from disturbed homes and some from happy families. It was observed that the orphans grew up with a sense of incompleteness, a strong belief that life will never be the way they want it to be which is why they tend to be smokers.
It was also noted that orphans are more likely to suffer from mental illnesses. Another study was conducted from the point of view of the children, where it was noticed that a parent’s death has effects lasting as long as 70 years, and the child growing up without any viable communication skills or a stable belief system within themselves. It is worth noting that the death of a particular parent affects girls and boys differently. Boys tend to take their father’s death hard and for girls it is the mother.
There has been a fair amount of brain imaging involved in this research and even though it is a highly technical approach to a very emotional thing, it provides valuable insight. It shows that grief affects the posterior cortex, frontal cortex and the cerebellum. This provides sufficient explanation for the physical discomfort and issues when faced by grief, which include nausea, loss of appetite, dizziness and so on.
When discussing grief, it would be remiss to not mention the 5 stage breakdown.
The first stage is denial, where the person in the face of grief due to some disaster refuses to accept that the said event has taken place at all. The second stage is anger, where they hold other people responsible for whatever has happened and tend to act violent. The following stage is bargaining– they try to make deals with whoever is watching upon us to reverse situation for something in return. The fourth stage is depression, where the person is question goes through extreme sadness and the final stage is acceptance, where they accept whatever has happened as it is and try to make peace with it.
There are a few ways to deal with grief and sadness and they will be listed below.
1. Interventions: Sometimes people refuse to accept help or even recognise their situation. In those cases, people close to the sufferer can arrange an intervention. It reminds the person in question that they are loved and cared for.
2. Counselling: Sometimes one needs professional help and there is nothing with that. You deserve to be happy.
3. Support groups: Sharing your problems with people going through the same issues helps more than one can possibly imagine. Talking about your grief helps in making peace with it.
4. Medication: People often attach a sort of taboo to medication, but there is nothing wrong with it.
5. Socialization: Being around people helps serotonin levels greatly. The love of friends and family has an uplifting effect on everyone.
6. Self care: One has to take care of their own self at one point or the other. At the end of the day, you are the only person who understands you the best.
7. Spiritual healing: Spirituality is always a source of comfort for a large amount of people.
The 3 Things You Learn After Your Mother Dies
Death is an inevitable part of life but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier. Whether it be a pet or a loved one, death is something that most people fear. Whether it is the fear of the unknown or the fear of leaving the world behind, death is something that most people cannot come to terms with despite knowing that it is a part of life.
And things get tougher when it is the passing of a mother.
A writer decided to take to her blog in order to showcase the three things that she learned after her mother passed away.
She wrote: ‘my mother died from ovarian cancer when I was a young child.’
‘I’m in my late 30s now, and I’m still navigating this loss as I move through life. I’ve lived most of my life without my mother at this point, but I still miss her.’
The first thing she explained was that the feeling of grief is not linear. It doesn’t peak immediately after a death and slowly dissipates away. In fact, it may never dissipate away.
‘It’s natural to grieve, but we all grieve differently. Grief shows up in anger, sorrow, guilt, fear, and sometimes peace. It is unpredictable and, at times, exhausting.’
She said that following her mother’s death, she cried a lot. She cried at her funeral and also at the school choir. But the years that followed she didn’t cry as much.
‘Then sadness hit me like a ton of bricks one day when I was in my early 20s.’
‘A compassionate friend asked me about Mam, and as I hadn’t spoken about her to anyone outside the family, I broke down. It was a good release. The years have brought many stages of grieving.’
She went on to explain how days, such as Mother’s Day or the day when she picked out her wedding dress, are some of the toughest days for her to endure.
‘My grieving stems from having loved so deeply. I have learned to tune into the emotions I’m feeling and to acknowledge the love, the pain, and the loss.’
The second thing she learned was that there are no replacements. No one is going to replace your mother but she learned to cope with this feeling by looking for certain qualities.
‘I look for a warmth, a radiance, a compassion and kindness that Mam had. I look for humor, a voice of sense, and strength of character.’
She continued: ‘these are traits that my mother had. I find some of them in others. But it’s never the same. There’ll never be another Mam. She’s irreplaceable on so many levels.’
The third thing she learned was that there were other people there for her. Whether it was her father, her cousins, her friends or her extended family, they were all there for her during her grieving process and the subsequent years after the death of her mother.
She said that there were other people out there who loved her and also other people who required her love.
‘Our world is so big and yet so small now in this age of technology. We can reach out to others across continents.’
‘Our mothers were the first to show us the true meaning of love. In honor of our mothers, let’s spread that love wherever we can.’