Thursday, April 26, 2007

Talk Out Your Grief and You'll Begin to Heal

The second longest wait in life
is the time it takes for angst from a tragedy
to turn into grief;
the longest wait in life is the time it takes for grief
to turn into wisdom.

-Mark Goulston

The tragedy at Virginia Tech is such a devastating loss to those closely and even not so closely affected by it and creates an emotional abscess that needs to be drained completely before it can begin to heal. To clean this wound to their hearts and souls, they will need to feel and express, then pause and feel and express again, until they have drained the pus completely.

This will not be easy. Once you begin to grieve a certain tragedy, you risk opening the floodgates to unfelt, unexpressed and unhealed inner angst from other traumatic events in your life.

Yet sharing your feelings with people who can relate based on their own similar experiences can be extremely valuable during the recovery process. This explains why women with breast cancer are so helped by "Reach to Recovery" groups, and why the group experience is the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous recovery programs.

To open the door to your own process of emotional excavation, healing and rebuilding, begin to talk in great detail with others about what you saw and heard, thought and felt, as you watched the tragedy of this awful event unfold.

Also use the following 10 signposts as a guide through the Valley of this Shadow of Death:

1. Cry
2. Scream
3. Shriek
4. Reach out to others
5. Reach into yourself
6. Sob
7. Take a deep breath
8. Whimper
9. Rest
10. Repeat the above as often as needed until you know that you'll make it through.
(c) 2007 Mark Goulston

Subscribe to Usable Insight of the Week

Mark Goulston is a partner at Los Angeles-based Ferrazzi Greenlight and the author of the upcoming book, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for Dummies (due November, 2007). Visit Mark at:

No comments: