Physical Effects of Grief

Physical Effects of Grief

Prelude: This post today does not mean I’m sitting here in my desk crying, but rather I’m sitting here at my desk at boots & breeches because I’m showing after work today. Schooling was great, but I’m super busy this week so I have a blog post I wrote a week ago for today. Will have a show report for y’all Monday!

I am not what you would call an emotional person. Between the two of us, Tim was always the softie. He would cry during movies, and I would occasionally tear up… maybe a little. The exception is Black Beauty. I always cry during Black Beauty, which he teased me about often.

Perhaps it’s my ability to contain emotions that is keeping me mostly high functioning right now, but even so – I’ve never been so sad over anything in my life. When Tim died, I knew I would be sad (duh) and I knew I would grieve (double duh), but I also thought things would be dramatically better by now. I figured the tears would have stopped sneaking up on me, but although that is slowing down… it’s not showing any signs of stopping.

I also didn’t realize that there were physical effects to grief. Sadness is an emotion, but I had no idea the toll it would take on me.

The first few days, I had absolutely no appetite. Could barely stuff down a piece of bread kind of no appetite. It was like I had a stomach flu, but no flu. Also, my abs physically ached from crying. Even in my grief I remember thinking to myself, “No appetitte and an ab workout? Imma get SO SKINNY!”

... until breakfast tacos
… until breakfast tacos

Within two weeks, my appetite was back to normal…. and cue comfort eating. I cannot get enough sugar in my life – it’s not physically possible. While I will get through this experience in one piece, I will probably get through it with my new friend diabetes.

Delicious, delicious sugar
Delicious, delicious sugar

I don’t know if it’s the up and down diet or the huge amounts of stress I’m under (probably both), but my digestion system is not happy. I’ve woken up multiple times in the middle of the night sick to my stomach, and that’s pretty unusual for me. It also doesn’t help my new struggle of getting 8 hours of sleep a night.

Mentally, I’m a total space cadet. I’ve always prided myself on a keen ability to multitask and keep a many different moving parts straight in my mind. That has completely flown out the window for the time being. I will forget what I’m going to say to someone mid sentence. I’ll walk into a room and have no idea what I walked in there to get. I will repeat the same story to someone multiple times (sorry friends). The other day, I tried to dry my hands off after washing them at work… without rinsing the soap off. It’s bananas! I hope this starts to go away soon, because I feel like a stupid person and I don’t generally enjoy stupid people.

Pascale wishes I would "forget" to eat the rest of my breakfast
Pascale wishes I would “forget” to eat the rest of my breakfast

Mostly though, I just feel worn out and haggard. After a rough night, I’ll wake up not feeling rested. My eyes will ache or feel puffy, even though they look a ton better than the swollen mess they were that first week. I feel like I could sleep for two days straight, but sleep doesn’t come easily.

I’m sure all of these symptoms will get better in time, but I’ve found them genuinely surprising. In the meantime, I’ll be hanging out with my pals Prosecco and froyo. They do your body good… right?!

After thoughts: Like I said, I wrote this post a week or so ago. Do you know the other side effect from all that comfort eating? Yeah, your breeches won’t zip up at the horse show. I literally hard to wear them to work today because I can only zip them up first thing in the morning. If you need me, I’ll be drinking 10 gallons of water today to try and flush all this salt out! Oui.

14 thoughts on “Physical Effects of Grief

  1. I’m the same way under stress! First I can’t eat, then it’s All The Carbs All The Time. So I think eventually the weight loss/gain evens out? So excited to hear about your show! 🙂

  2. I had the hardest time sleeping in 2013, at one point I was on prescription sleep aids. Over the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 I developed some sleep routines that have the desired Pavlovian response. Tiredness. Sleep is so important! I hope you are able to get enough peace to get some.

  3. Yes. People tell you to make sure you take care of yourself but as you expressed so well here, it’s so much harder than it sounds. Your brain is focused elsewhere, and your body isn’t cooperating. It doesn’t surprise me that your sleep, your appetite, your memory, and your stomach are all messed up. I hope from the bottom of my heart that these things get better with time. Believe that they will, maybe that will help.

    I can’t wait to hear about your show, best of luck to you and the nerd horse! I frequently have the same problem with my show breeches, btw…. you’re not alone in that regard 😉

  4. I’m definitely a stress eater. And probably a fellow Future Diabetes sufferer. Hugs to you, and sending lots of kick-some-ass vibes to you for the show!

  5. I either have no appetite or gorge myself. Like you sweets are always my first response.

    I have found that if I try not to read on lit up devices or my phone that helps a bit. Walgreens brand sleep aid also does wonders…

    Hang in there!

  6. I feel you an all these symptoms, and especially the space cadet moments. Its off-putting and sometimes frightening.

    Sending you positive vibes for the horse show!!

  7. It’s not the same, of course, but Don (I took down my blog after his death, he was my horse) dying was the biggest heartbreak of my life and I gained back all the weight I had lost in order to be the best rider for him that I could be. Somewhere around 40lbs. Unchecked emotional eating for a year, really.

    This doesn’t mean anything except that you, me, and diabetes can all be friends together.

    Three years later I still cry over a horse. I can finally sleep at night though. I did a lot of crochet at night after he died.

  8. The last time I was truly sad, my mom asked if I was sleeping okay. I told her that thankfully I was sleeping okay, but being sad is so exhausting it still felt like no amount of sleep was enough. Lots and lots of comfort eating happened. Many carbs. All the cheese.
    Sometimes even if I feel like I am coping or handling stress just fine my body sometimes expresses the physical symptoms my mind keeps trying to deny. I’ll be like “whatever! I’m fine…” mmhmm, yeah, the difficulty swallowing and muscles twitches would suggest otherwise. Maybe this is why some of what you’re feeling seemed surprising.
    I’m quite sure this show will do your body good too 🙂 Let us know how it goes!

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