Monday, 23 May 2016

Constantly Grieving

In one of the online ALS groups I follow, a Caregiver for ALS, CALS for short, posted a note about his PALS having emotional difficulty. The PALS said he could feel ALS progressing in his body. The PALS was crying constantly for days on end, and had no joy in his life. I can understand these feelings; I take medications to keep these very feelings under control in myself. It's very easy to feel the progression in real terms. It's very hard to keep the grief at bay.

Human beings are not designed to be in a constant state of grief. It's supposed to be a short term thing, and emotional state that helps deal with tragic loss, a string of feelings felt both progressively and concurrently, all at the same time, that help us internalize dramatic change within our lives. We grieve at the death of a loved one, at the loss of a marriage, even at the loss of a job. We grieve, and then we move on.

Unfortunately PALS like me, and many others, never get to move on. As soon as one loss is internalized, we have another to grieve. As soon as one change is understood and accepted, another change comes along to put us through that whole process again. We are in a constant state of grief until the day we die. It is exhausting, defeating, wearing.

For some, it is just too much. The grief takes over their lives. It spills out in a never ending fount of tears and sorrow. Others, and I count myself fortunate to be in this group, use medication to make things easier. Still others, once again a group I am happy to be in, are the type who do not grieve over long, who move on quickly to the next thing in their lives.

This last part, moving on quickly from grief, is a survival mechanism, one which I think evolution has favoured. Image if we spent months and years grieving, as some do. We would not, could not, get on with our lives. We would forever be in grief stasis, stuck in an emotional wasteland. It may seem kind of shallow, to be happy about not grieving, but it keeps me reasonably sane. If it were not for my ability to rapidly accept change, and loss, I would be immobile in emotion as well as in body.

It's hard to be in grief full time. With ALS, it's what happens. Even though I handle it well and feel it lightly, it's still there, still bubbling in the background. Grief is a permanent part of my life. No matter what I do, no matter how I try, I just have to live with it. That's ALS in action.

No comments:

Post a Comment