The Brain is an amazing organ. One that has always fascinated me with the way it functions and how it controls so much of life – good and bad. The brain is part of the Central Nervous System and controls every movement of the human body from breathing, blinking to thinking and studying for tests! Absolutely amazing.
Grief is a powerful emotion and it controls the brain in ways that are hard to understand until you walk through them.
I have stated numerous times over the past several months that my brain is just not functioning correctly. I can’t remember things. I can’t keep dates and appointments straight. In general, my brain is just not firing on all of its normal cylinders and I feel out of sorts.
Here are some examples of what I have been experiencing over the past few months;
*I have always gone to the grocery story without a list – sometimes a L O N G list and have remembered most things on the list, and most of the time, all the things on the list. Now I can’t go to the store without a list – even if it is for 2 or 3 things because I will forget at least one of the items on the list!
*My brain has felt “tired” and overworked. Each day I feel as if I have been doing hard math problems all day long! Some days I don’t even want to start the day because my brain wakes up exhausted. I wonder what it has been doing all night long!
*I also feel stretched to the limit with even the most mundane and routine tasks. Things that I never had to really think about, are now just much harder and I need to think about each step involved to get the task done!
But the most interesting thing I have noticed is how grief has affected my running I was not able to complete some of my training runs prior to the 2 marathons I ran earlier this summer. Running a marathon is really as much mental as it is physical and during the Fargo marathon, I hit a mental wall and fell apart for about 8 miles. I was able to recover, but those 8 miles really impacted the race and my ability to even get one foot in front of the other! After the 2 marathons, it was not easy to get out and run. Sometimes the only way I could get out to run was knowing that I was part of a group training run! Those ladies are a joy to be around and encouraged me to keep going, whether they knew it or not. After a really hard race on the 4th of July, I really began to wonder if I would ever run well again.
Then something just seemed to change – I can’t explain it and I can’t tell you what it was, but I went out for a 13 mile run on the 24th and it felt amazing. I hit my stride and had some speed for the first time in 4 months. As I was running with the ladies from my running group, I commented that it was the best I had felt since my father passed away. I began to feel like I was turning a corner or at least the first of many corners that I will face in the grieving process. It felt good.
It still feels good. I am beginning to get my brain function back! I can now go tot he store without a list – at least if there are 5 items or less on the list! It has been good to feel like I am returning to “normal” – what ever that will look like. I am still dealing with a few emotions related to the grieving process, but feel like I am beginning to move – forward – slowly – one step at a time!