I lost my husband to colon cancer three years ago. I've had a particularly hard time coping with his death and with the realization that I am alone. Lots of tears. Lots of anxiety. Major trouble sleeping; I wake up in the early hours and lie in bed thinking about my loss. I don't have children and I've always been a pretty private person socially. I was my husband's sole caregiver when he was ill. Friends didn't step forward when my husband was ill and they have not reached out since his death.
I've always had a very good memory but since my husband's illness and death I've found myself in a fog. I don't have any serious medical issues (I've had a very thorough physical exam) but I find that I forget things and have difficulty concentrating on tasks at hand. As often as not, I find myself doing things mechanically without thinking about what I'm doing.
On the other hand, I run a rather complicated house. I read voraciously. While I'm not at the top of my class, I succeed in computer and photography classes I've taken. I tutor in a local literacy program. So...I succeed on many levels despite what I call the fog of grief that has diminished my life.
Has this been anyone else's experience? Have you found strategies that help you clear and sharpen your mind? Is this just something that goes with deep grief and dissipates over time?
Hi to you hatshepsut,
i am sorry for your loss & my heart aches for you being alone, i am alone a lot and i no longer have 'friends' so i understand how it happens. it is frightening to see a loved one die. it is life shattering & painful and grief is all consuming. that is why you are in a 'fog' because inside you are hurting. i am very glad you can still read, this is a great thing as it means you can become absorbed in a story (abeit for a short time).
After the first year of loosing my love i was concerned about memory loss, i could not remember even the simplest of things, i started to take omega 3 pulse every day, i also had very high blood pressure (something else new) so i knew i needed to do something if i was to avoid medication. i started to have regular reflexology & body massage & did deep breathing meditation. i recently got a dog so now i have regular walks as well.
i think all these things help a little but you have to find something you can relieve the stress with, (finding enjoyment is no easy task when you cannot even manage a smile) but you have to be kind to yourself & trust that you can get through this & have happiness in your life..
my brain is not up to its normal sharpness & i am not sure if it ever will be but it is better than it was, sadness come in waves of longing & loss now, so grief changes & hopefully it will become less painful with more time.
i wish you the very best & you are not alone, sending love & light.
I think you'll find Hatshepsut that what you are going through is a normal process of grief. You are in survival mode and your brain is doing all the "intellect" functions, but anything to do with emotional thought is being blurred. Know that it is OK to remember and feel sad, but it is also OK to remember and feel happy and grateful. It's a shame your friends didn't feel able to help you in your time of need. Perhaps they were unsure how to help? A lot of people are uncomfortable with illness and death and don't know how to handle it or what to say. Maybe (and this is a BIG maybe, because I don't know you or your relationship with your friends) that you could get in touch with them and just say "Hi, how are you and I'm still here. Want to catch up for a coffee?"
Such good advice and conversation here. I lost my husband to colon cancer 16 months ago and don't know whether my brain fog comes from the grief and trauma and shock.... or from menopause or a combination... but I do know how you feel. As far as the friends issue goes, I have found, like so many others that those I thought would check in on me are as far away as could be... and others have been more helpful and compassionate than I thought. I tend to isolate myself in my pain sometimes though so it's not easy for people to know what's best sometimes. But a simple call once in a while would do wonders wouldn't it? I love this community for all the understanding and encouragement and inspiration I find here....
My roses Sept 13th
I resonate with your comments. I lost my husband to cancer in January this year. I was also his sole carer and had him at home most of the time. He was the love of my life. No one else offered to help... and with about 4 hours sleep a night if I was lucky... it was exhausting. When he passed away I was numb so many othe things went wrong as well.Organising the funeral when I had picked up an eye infection - making reading almost impossible. The breaking of my leg (but did not fall) a week after the funeral. Being alone at home without proper help. I have experienced the foggy brain. I am a tertiary educated person... and I can still research things etc. but ask me to remember where my keys are, handling all the paperwork, housework etc. I am in a daze. I forget where I have put things, go to the shops and forget what I need to buy. I too have lain in bed and not able to sleep. My grieving was sobbing and wailing nearly every day. I found that the stress, and all the crying were affecting my sight - while the lack of sleep was affecting my memory. My brain seemed to operate on 2 levels.... the intellectual level but not on the everyday level.
This is all part of deep grief.. losing the love of one's life. Other losses I have had never got me into THIS STATE BEFORE.
I have improved somewhat once I started to sleep better....also took natural health products to help my brain and my eyes. Ginkgo Biloba , Brahmi and gotu kola help the brain.The whole range of Vitamin B is important for ones nervous system. Also take Vitamin D which helps the body function better. Particularly if one does not get much sunlight. Can probably get help with these vitamins from www.naturalnews.com
I found I had gone to 8 stone in weight and had to take vitamin and mineral drinks every day. I think one's brain DOES NOT WANT TO THINK ABOUT ALL THE WORK OF clearing the house, paperwork, husband's clothes etc. It is all to painful and exhausting. I am still grieving and had a real meltdown last week as was facing my 1st wedding anniversary on 7th Sept. But managed to get through it on the day without crying as I went out with friends and saw a film and we had a meal. Hope that this helps. Bless you
I'm am dealing with terrible brain fog too. Like Lois noted anything dealing with emotional thought is blurred. So much so that I don't think I am even connecting as well with my two kids (2.5 and 5). I love them so much, but find the thought of spending a lot of time with them, instead of being just in the same room, makes me want to push away from them. I don't understand that, they are good kids and they make me smile and laugh, but I don't seem to want to connect with them. Like the emotional side of me is buried deep. My mind is not allowing me to fully accept the loss of my husband but at the same time doesn't let the love for my children come through fully either. I'm just numb still, nothing really is in focus. We get through the day, I take care of my kids, but don't enjoy moments as much. Maybe it is guilt I don't know. My husband passed away July 2012 after 4 years of cancer. Being his caregiver and taking care of both kids, working and then getting laid off, I got so very very burnt out. So I am trying to recover from losing him and also the burn out. Going to try to start yoga with my kids, we have a dvd for kids and hope to try it this weekend. Also have tried B12 and D need to start that back up as well.