Schizophrenia and Grief
Grief is not a one-size-fits-all thing. Going through the stages of grief with schizophrenia can be emotionally taxing. When going through the stages of grief, it is important to remember that everyone takes their own amount of time.
Shock's Effect on Grief and Schizophrenia
One stage of grief some people experience is shock and disbelief. During this stage, people experience emotions of numbness or doubt. Losing a loved one is a difficult time, and going through the grief with schizophrenia can be even more difficult. It is crucial to reach out and speak about your lost loved one during this time.
I experienced grief from the loss of my friend, Amalia. When I began experiencing grief, I refused to accept my loss as long as I could hear her voice. Hearing her voice made me feel close to her. My disbelief lasted for weeks. During this time, I heavily drank and smoked. This is dangerous for anyone and especially so when you factor in schizophrenia. A better way of handling the shock of grief is speaking about it with loved ones and a therapist. My therapist gave me the great advice of honoring her memory by writing.
When you lose a loved one, it's like losing a part of yourself. Disbelief is natural and can feel like numbness. You may not want to speak about it, and that's fine. Crying is natural. Remember, speaking about it may be difficult, but it is truly necessary and can be therapeutic. Speaking with family, friends, and a therapist can all help ease the process of grief.
Handling Shock During Grief with Schizophrenia
It is common to experience the shock stage of grief for weeks during and after the funeral preparations. During this time, work with yourself by allowing time with loved ones and giving yourself time alone to reflect. Spending time with loved ones allows you to feel compassion and experience mourning. This is especially important for people living with schizophrenia. The anxiety and depression that tend to creep in will be alleviated by the closeness of family and friends.
The important thing to remember is to not isolate yourself during this time. Try to balance the time you spend with relatives and the time you spend alone. When spending time alone, some good ways to mourn are looking at pictures, reading, writing, meditating, and praying. With schizophrenia, it can be hard spending time alone, so close loved ones will be ideal keys to solace. Moments of solace will be a saving grace from the bleak thoughts which can seep into your head.
During my experience of the first stage of grief, I reached out to friends and family for support and received it. The times I spent alone, I could hear her voice speaking to me, and it brought me comfort.
We'll discuss the other six stages of grief in subsequent posts about this journey through schizophrenia.
Vickens, R. (2022, February 23). Schizophrenia and Grief, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, March 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/creativeschizophrenia/2022/2/schizophrenia-and-grief