by Jan McDaniel
Sleep. We need it, especially after traumatic loss, but it is often elusive. The stillness of night does not bring stillness when the mind is filled with turmoil and worry, thoughts of not only the loss but also circumstances that can be quite horrible. The nervous system is on hyper-alert, with anxiety and perhaps depression adding to the melee. Too often, this is a time of pain, not peace.
If sleep does come, it may have a nightmarish quality. Certainly, a second or two after waking - whether in the middle of the night or the morning - the harsh realizations begin, sliding over a new survivor mercilessly. Everything we don't want is there waiting.
It often takes a lot of time to find real rest again. The journey that began with the loss of a loved one is not a quick trip. It is no wonder that survivors who are left behind lose strength, become exhausted, eat little or too much, or begin to suffer health problems. From shock to the grinding period of dealing with the aftermath to the early stages of finding support and healing, a survivor's work is just to breathe, to do what must be done.
Here are a few suggestions that might help ease the nighttime hours, for sleep is important to both healing and health:
Way for Hope
Losing someone you love is difficult, but it can mean a lot to hear from others traveling similar paths.
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Links of Value:
Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Word of God
"My Story" Big Daddy Weave
"Hope in Front of Me"
The Joy FM
Traumatic loss or preexisting conditions can worsen mental health. Use this info graphic to find help.
"Take Charge of Your Mental Health" - a free download from www.nami.org: