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Personal Stories About Life After Loss

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Can Grief Cause Brain Fog?

I can’t think, I can’t concentrate, I can’t remember. It’s feels like baby brain, but without the baby of course! I can no longer juggle my everyday tasks.

It felt like my world was falling apart. I am a teacher with a class of 30 children, while I am having over 50 emails to reply to, parents to speak to and staff to manage. I felt overwhelmed, foggy, where do I begin? I just couldn’t cope, I just wanted to hide away from the world.

What is brain fog?

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I never knew losing a loved one wouldcould feel like this. I lost my husband Christopher in a road traffic incident. My grief was as deep as my love for him. Not only was I grieving a broken heart, but I had physical symptoms of grief too, from headaches to constant pains in my chest and body. Now, I know this is called brain fog. 

“Grief and loss affect the brain and body in many different ways. They can cause changes in memory, behavior, sleep, and body function, affecting the immune system as well as the heart. It can also lead to cognitive effects, such as brain fog. The brain’s goal? Survival”.

Healing Your Brain After Loss: How Grief Rewires the Brain

Until the loss of my husband Christopher, I had never experienced this, I was in survival mode and I didn’t have capacity for all the things I once had. For me, it felt like this fog would never disappear and it has been around for 14 months now. So much that it started to feel permanent. 

Luckily, I found it helpful, that I had some conversations with a few other widows and a friend who also felt the same way, I felt relieved to know it was not just me.

Not long after Christopher died, a special dog to our family called ‘Bobby’ also sadly passed away. My 4-year-old son said to me “Bobby is with daddy now in heaven and they can go on walk together” he melted my heart and I held back the tears and simply nodded.

My son had a dream that he didn’t have any family and it was just him by himself; it broke me to pieces. We spoke about his dream and said a prayer together. 

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Sometimes, I get anxious and sit and wonder about the things that he may be thinking. I wonder if he ever gets really anxious about things and I don’t know about it. I wonder if the grief he’s experiences, makes his brain foggy too. All I can say is that I am comforted that he finds a way to talk about his Dad daily in his own special way.

As an adult, who has experienced brain fog after a loss, I know I’m not alone. However, I still have to find a way to navigate through it. 

How did I deal with my grief brain fog?

Taking time out 

I took 3 months off from work when my husband passed away and although feeling anxious, I returned to work early. I would sit and cry and in the car before going to work and would try to gather my thoughts and compose myself for the long day ahead. I thought to myself “Is this going to be my new life?” 

I took more time off work for another 4 months, as I was not coping well and returned again, trying to plough through the day. NOTHING has changed! I still cried in the mornings, I still went to the toilet to cry, during lunch and after school all I could do was cry. I just couldn’t shift this anxiety, melancholy cloud that loomed over me. 

After a long thought and praying I decided, that I couldn’t do this anymore, not right now. “Enough is enough” I thought to myself.and I decided to leave my job, take even more time out to do things I love and I am very fortunate that I was able to do that.

Checklists

When Christopher’s kerb and headstone arrived in the UK after a very long 7 months of waiting; It sounds so silly, however it gave me a little peace knowing his graveside was clean and tidy. Choosing the right headstone and kerb was a huge decision I had to make. I wanted everything to be perfect for him. Christopher’s good friend and I choose the perfect one and I couldn’t wait for it to be done.

Self-care is paramount!

It is very important to have some time to yourself. With children, working and family it can be very difficult however whilst grieving we need to make that time. My self-care is going to the spa, spending lots of time around family and friends, a good relaxing holiday and long walks on the beach with my son. I am so grateful to have so many family and friends who love me and support me.

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Christian Mediations

A friend of mine recommend a Christian mediation App to me called ‘Abide Christian Mediation” I think everyone should be listening to it. It’s amazing! I listen to it every morning and night and even on my long drives, it sets my day right. It feels like I have the armour of God on and I am protected. I will spend time confessing them world of God. I also attend RCCG covenant love chapel who have been an amazing support. I also enjoy listening to a podcast called   ‘ In every season’  by Abimbola Shotade a special friend of mine.

Support/ Therapist /New friends

I have so much support from friends and family which has been crucial to my development and mental health. I have made new friends and made closer relationships with my husband friends – which I am so grateful for. All my friends and family have been so supportive in one way or another. I have been blessed enough to make new friendships through grieving with other widows.

I also have a therapist I speak to every fortnight, who has been amazing. Her name is Juliana Kawenga. Her e-mail is juliana@thejuliakay.com. I feel others who are in my situation can really benefit from speaking with her.

Supporting a cause 

Supporting a cause that is close to my heart is therapeutic to me.

My son and I think of creative ways to raise money for this amazing charity. Balanced Wheel is a registered charity in the UK and Wales to provide support and resources to people who have lost loved ones and are grieving so they can pick up the remaining broken pieces and rebuild their lives.

We also added Balanced Wheel to Smile for Amazon. If you are an Amazon customer, Amazon.co.Uk will find will donate a portion of the eligible purchase price to the charity of your choice.

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