Brain overload and Grief

© Copyright 2019 Grief Probate Journey Blog *PLEASE NOTE THIS INFORMATION IS SOURCED FROM UK and AMERICAN WEBSITES* It is also based on our own experience. *We are not experts in this field, we are speaking purely on our own experience with information sought from the internet to give further examples. *

Please see: Brain overload and grief which covers:

  1. Introduction/our story
  2. YouTube Video: How Grief Affects Your Brain And What To Do About It | Better | NBC News
  3. Brain overload and grief with illustrative examples
  4. Grief brain and illustrative examples
  5. Loss of a parent and effects on the brain with illustrative examples
  6. Loss of a parent as a child and effects on the brain
  7. Our Final Thoughts and YouTube Video

1. Introduction/our story

As I woke up one morning, I started thinking about how I’m feeling, what is happening, everything that we have to do, and this is how this topic came about.

Throughout our journey, there have been many moments where we feel like our brain is overloaded. These moments come in waves, but when they do, we feel:

  • Overwhelmed
  • Consumed
  • Anxious
  • Stressed out

Also, in those moment’s we feel like we have no time which becomes a worry. We do try our best to be positive, and also acknowledge that we have and are still dealing with a lot. We also try our best to acknowledge what we have achieved/completed throughout this time.

In moments when we are faced with big decisions or situations where we are not sure what is the best or right way to do things, these are the times we feel:

  • Overloaded
  • At a loss
  • At a low
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of concentration

At this moment in time we are once again focusing on the complaint against the hospital in which our Dad was an inpatient, this is why such feelings have started to resurface. As we previsouly mentioned, this complaint is always in our subconscious mind, but when we have to directly deal with it. A mass of feelings and emotions overcome us.

When going over the topic with my sister, I was saying to her that the way we feel and how we explain it could sound repititive, but in actual fact the reality is, that is exactly how our life can feel at times, like it is on repeat and we are living through a groundhog day. No matter how much time might pass in between dealing with this complaint, or any other difficult situation related to our Dad, right away when in that moment we are catapulted right back into the feelings, thoughts and emotions of whats the best thing to do, and how is the best way to do it.

We also can feel a lack of direction, guidance. None of these things are nice feelings, however, no matter what we try our best to remain calm so that we can:

  • Refocus
  • Plan our next steps forward in the best logical way

And this is where we currently are, trying our best to move forward as calmly, logically and positvly as possible. With regard to the complaint process, we are very grateful for the Independent Advocate Service named PohWer who have been supporting us from the very begninning. Without their help and support we would feel even more lost in this process.

We hope this topic might be of use to somoene. Please see: Brain overload and grief:


2. YouTube Video: How Grief Affects Your Brain And What To Do About It | Better | NBC News

Understanding grief is an important part of healing after a loved one dies.

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How Grief Affects Your Brain And What To Do About It | Better | NBC News


3. Brain overload and grief with illustrative examples

3.1 Illustrative Examples

3.2 Brain overload and grief

“These are symptoms of Grief Brain. Don’t worry, this is a natural part of grief. Your brain is on overload with thoughts of griefsadness, loneliness and many other feelings. Grief Brain affects your memory, concentration, and cognition”.

3.3 What does grief do to the brain?

“When you’re grieving, a flood of neurochemicals and hormones dance around in your head. “There can be a disruption in hormones that results in specific symptoms, such as disturbed sleep, loss of appetite, fatigue and anxiety,” says Dr. Phillips. When those symptoms converge, your brain function takes a hit. 4 Jun 2018”


4. Grief brain and illustrative examples

4.1 Illustrative Example

4.2 How long does grief brain last?

“But for some people, grief doesn’t subside. If it continues for more than six months, it can turn into what’s often called complicated grief, prolonged grief disorder, or persistent complex bereavement disorder, according to a 2016 analysis of data from the Yale Bereavement Study published in World Psychiatry”.

This is the case for my sister and I, it has now been three years since our Dad passed away, as we say very often, although three years have passed we are still in disbelief that our Dad is no longer physically here with us. Whenever we have these realisations it makes us sad. In momemts when I think about my Dad too much, I find mysef shaking my head, it’s almost as though I am trying to shake the reality or the thought out of my head and mind before it gets a chance to manifest.Tanya also did this too back then at that time. (Whenever leaving the hospital when my Dad was an inpatient, if it had been an unsetlling visit, and I was leaving feeling uneasy, I would often do that so I could focus and get myself home, and ready for the morning when I would return to the hospital). I now realise, this is part of my coping mechanism.

4.3 What does grief look like in the brain?

“The emotions you experience look similar to grief – and underneath that grief are neurological changes that take place in the brain.” … These involve emotional regulation, memory, multi-tasking, organization and learning. When you’re grieving, a flood of neurochemicals and hormones dance around in your head. 4 Jun 2018”

4.4 Grief Symptoms: How Grief Affects the Brain

13 Jan 2016 – Grief may impact you or loved ones in the following ways: concentration is compromised; completing projects seems impossible; memory and” …

4.5 Does grief cause brain fog?

“Grief Brain is real. It can release high levels of stress hormones in the body leading to confusion, fuzzy thinking, disrupted sleep, and depression. … Grief Brain is a natural reaction to loss and subsequent grief. The intense grief sets off a chemical reaction throughout your body and brain”. (27 Jan 2019).


5. Loss of a parent and effects on the brain with illustrative examples

5.1 Illustrative examples

5.2 How Losing a parent can impact your brain?

Why Losing A Parent Hurts So Much, No Matter Your Age

Studies show that losing a parent can lead to increased risks for long-term emotional and mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. 27 Sep 2017”.

My sister and I can truly relate to this. We have never been the same since our Dad sadly passed away in 2017. It’s still surreal. Our emotions feel like they are on a constant rollercoaster. We are grateful there are services available to help us, and we are happy we have decided to explore and engage in these services.

Without counselling and therapy, getting through what we are going through and dealing with would be even more difficult and daunting.

5.3 The Death of a Parent, Mother or Father, Affects Human Minds

“Even under the best circumstances, losing a parent changes an adult … all brain regions mobilized during grief processing, research shows”.

Reading such articles, helps my sister and I to know that even though these many years have passed, and we feel this way, it is okay. It is okay that we are still not okay.

5.4 How Losing a Parent Can Impact Your Brain

“7 Sep 2018 – A 1970 cohort study examined over 11,000 participants to test the long-term effects of a parent’s death in childhood on adult life”.

5.5 How Parent Loss Affects Brain – Regardless Of Age

“It is widely believed that losing a parent is an event that affects children more than adults, as their immature mind cannot cope with the loss the way an adult would.”.


6. Loss of a parent as a child and effects on the brain

6.1 How Losing a parent as a child affects adulthood?

Studies of adults with early parental loss show that they are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders, and use maladaptive coping strategies, including increased levels of self-blame, self-medication, and emotional eating (Høeg et al., 2016).2 Feb 2018”

6.2 How can bereavement affect a child emotionally?

bereaved child or young person will probably display mood swings and may display behaviours that appear polar to the behaviours of the child / young person prior to their bereavement. For example, a previously gregarious and popular pupil might become sullen and withdrawn following the death of someone close”.

6.3 How does the death of a parent affect a child?

“Having a parent die at a young age is a life-altering experience that can make them feel different from their peers. Feeling socially isolated can hurt kids‘ self-esteem, which can put them at risk for anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.” (23 Apr 2018).

6.4 What to say to a child who lost a parent?

“Be respectful: If you don’t know the child well introduce yourself and refer to the deceased by name. Remember that the child may be meeting a lot of new people all at once. This can make them uncomfortable. Express your sympathy: Use your own words to let the child know that you recognize their loss”.

6.5 What do you do when a child loses a parent?

Here are some things parents can do to help a child who has lost a loved one:

  1. “When talking about death, use simple, clear words”. …
  2. “Listen and comfort”. …
  3. “Put emotions into words”. …
  4. “Tell your child what to expect”. …
  5. “Talk about funerals and rituals”. …
  6. “Give your child a role”. …
  7. “Help your child remember the person”. (More items…)

From our experience since our Dad passed away and we have become part of a grief community within our social media platforms, we would also advise, maybe reach out to someone who lost a parent as a child, and if they are willing, seek their advice. Speaking to someone who has lived through a similar experience can make such a great difference.

6.6 Long-Term Effects of Parental Loss and Bereavement – LinkedIn

10 Jan 2019 – Long-Term Effects of Parental Loss and Bereavement … Even under idea circumstances, many studies have shown that losing a parent changes an adult both … frontal cortex, and cerebellum brain regions in grief processing”.


7. Our Final Thoughts and YouTube Video

My sister and I recently received some very sad news. A very good friend of our Dads who was practically like family has passed away. Hearing this news stopped me in my tracks. I was working my way through my planned list of things to do, but all of a sudden, I was almost frozen. I wasn’t able to continue with what I was doing, as the shock and disbelief of this news took over.

For Tanya who was given the news first hand initially she got upset over the phone which she later felt bad about but even still, although this is a reality it is almost as though we are numb to it. This news has not sunk in properly yet as it is still very new. When the time comes that we would usually contact him, but we realise wencannot because he is no longer here, it will hit us. This is how we feel. Our thoughts, condolences and prayers go out to his family, friends, loved ones, and colleagues, and anyone who knew him. He was a very kindhearted person and we will miss him. May he R.I.E.P.

Our YouTube Video:


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