Stories - physical effects

We asked people to share the physical effects they experienced as part of their grief:

Physically, I think grief made me exhausted. Um... I physically would be exhausted day to day, but I had to go through the motions of my day. I had to go to school. I had to go to work. I had to get my children ready for school the next day. know, grief doesn't stop because you've got to go on with your life. It just follows you.

That physical feeling of grief was, um, heavy and tired. And, in many ways it felt like I was sick with grief and my body didn’t work right. And as an athlete I'm used to my body working in a certain way, and it just wasn’t available. It was really a very strange experience.

I found out in that um, in that situation, I become a tension eater. There was so much food in the house and anytime I walked by food, I was grabbing it, I was eating it. I think I may have put on 10, 15 pounds, just from eating stuff. I don’t remember this, but I'm told there was a tray of sticky buns and I was walking around with it, eating it. I have no recollection of that but I don't doubt it one bit.

If I’m stressed and in grief, I would lose weight. I mean, I would lose a lot of weight. (chuckles) It’s not question of not eating, you know. It’s just um, your body just is operating, uh, metabolic activity is different. And um, people would ask me about eating and I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t care. I was consciously starving, I think it’s just, uh I had to go through that physical experience.

My body felt pain. I felt aches. When I would wake up or when I was sad. Um, sometimes I’d have trouble breathing if I thought about her too long, like the sadness of it, not the bad, not the good memories. But, yeah, there was physical pain from the emotional state of it all, which was crazy. You wouldn’t think that you feel emotions would give you physical pain, but it would hurt.

I, a few days, probably about a week or so after his birth, I broke out into this full body rash and nobody could figure out what it was. And we finally figured out that you can get like stress hives and that basically it was like reaction to grief and you know. At that point we were just like, okay, great. It’s like just one thing after another.

I think I really took a lot of the emotional grief, um, and sort of transformed it into physical pain. Um, because I was keeping, I was holding a lot in. I wasn’t able to articulate a lot of my feelings. Um, and so, I’m not just closed down emotionally and verbally, but also, kind of really physically held it in and really, you know, kept my body very tight to kind of hold all of that. Um, and it was very difficult to sort of physically relax. Because I couldn’t mentally or emotionally relax.

Um, and so I think a lot of the, the pain just came from being so tense and from holding all of that in. Um. I definitely, well, eventually, realized that my body was grieving when I wasn’t necessarily conscious of it.