Three ways to ignore grief (and what to do instead)

I’m going to dive straight in with some bad news:

You’re grieving.  

I’m sorry, but you are.

I’m guessing that you’ve got that sinking feeling and a ‘no.. ‘ is welling up inside you.

So let’s double check,

  • Are you angry for no apparent reason?
  • Do you feel sad a lot (or all) of the time?
  • Do you snap inexplicably at your friends or partner?
  • Are you fed up, listless, unmotivated … ?

Need I go on?

Yep, that’s all grief.

If you’re like the majority of people, you believe that grief is an enemy that must be kept at arm’s length.  And you armour up because if it gets too close you’ll fall apart and you can’t do that.

Three ways to ignore grief

And my guess is that three pieces of your armour look something like this,

  1. Ignore it and hope it will go away,
  2. Bury your feelings – whatever you do don’t feel them,
  3. Believe wholeheartedly that time is a healer so all you have to do is sit it out.

Do you recognise these?

These were all part of my armour. Back in the days (and years) after I’d finished IVF I didn’t understand I was deep in grief and even if I had, I’d learned how to grieve from my parents so I believed that if I ignored it, didn’t feel and waited, then all would be well. Grief was definitely my enemy.

And that worked for a while. I fought grief until my mind and body said ENOUGH so loudly that I couldn’t help but pay attention. And believe me; I tried REALLY HARD to ignore what was happening.

People who loved me told me grief was not an enemy, it was a friend. They told me lovingly that I couldn’t outrun it forever; I would have to take my armour off at some point and there was magic in doing so.

I resisted big time. All I could think was ‘You must be joking. Grief has been my enemy for years; and now you’re telling me the opposite, no, absolutely not!’

I realised that this was just a story I was telling myself. It wasn’t my story, it was one I’d learned and I could change it. I’d been running from it or a long time. It was incredibly difficult and I couldn’t run any more.

As I write this I’ve dismantled most of my armour. It’s taken a while because it took a while to build, and I’m doing it gently, a piece at a time. Yes it has been painful at times, but I am so pleased that I changed the story I tell myself about grief.

What I’ve learned  

I’ve been recording some podcasts for release with my book and I discussed this with Lisa Manterfied (founder of Life Without Baby) as both of us viewed grief as an enemy that had to be avoided at all costs. And now we both believe that;

You have to go through grief.

At some point you have to sit down and face it.

You might get away with ignoring it for a while, but it will not go away. It will find a way out at some point so you might as well find a healthy outlet and deal with it.

What story are you telling yourself about grief?

For this week I’d like you to think about the story you tell yourself about grief.?

Are you doing your best to ignore it, not feel it and hope that time will heal it?

And is it creeping out in the ways I listed above?

So I’ll leave you with this question?

What would it take for you to change the story and take a step closer to your grief?

In the next couple of weeks I’ll be completing more podcast interviews, including Tracey Cleantis and Helen Rebello and we’ll be discussing what to do instead so watch out for more insights in my next blog.

What did you think?

How did you answer those questions and what step will you take (you can comment in a different name).

Make sure you sign up to my newsletter to read more about ‘how to’ grieve and other updates.

9 thoughts on “Three ways to ignore grief (and what to do instead)”

  1. Wow, I really recognise what you describe here. I didn’t know for the longest time after we finally walked away from IVF that we were both grieving. And when I did realise, I still didn’t somehow feel justified in that grief. But finally, having now had some counselling, and having sat down with my sadness and befriended it (instead of covering it with every type of armour I could find), I am gradually unpicking the layers, and slowly, very slowly, there are glimmers of light shining through the cracks 🙂

    • Thanks so much for sharing your story. As you say befriending our sadness & getting to know it is the best thing to do.
      I know from reading your blog how far you’ve come already, you will get where you want to be I have no doubt.
      Love to you <3

  2. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if only you had been around when I was working through my own grief. The wisdom and grace in these words is testament to the huge journey you’ve been on – as well as testament to the huge potential for expansion we have when we’re emerging through the other side of grief. It’s a massive, sometimes crippling journey, but if we want to turn our pain into passion for life on the ‘other side’, it’s a journey that’s well worth it in the end.

    • Thank you Helen. yes it is a journey well worth the hardships as we can both testify.
      I really appreciate your support & I’m looking forward to learning from you when we speak.
      Lesley x

  3. Our culture seems to be seeing a very much needed change towards grief and the grieving process. By talking about it and the signs, symptoms and effects of grief it helps those who are suffering in silence, and often without realising what it is really happening. Thank you for sharing your story and insights as I know from my own grief journey that it can be an isolating and lonely time, where those around you want you to feel better, but grief is unique and takes as long as it takes. Looking forward to hearing more.

    • Thanks Melanie, I really appreciate your support. Yes absolutely we each feel grief uniquely & it takes as long as it takes.
      Lesley x


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