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I'm not going crazy

I'm not going crazy

November 04, 2019

Perhaps cheering for the Bears this year is a little crazy, but this photo was taken some years ago when they were Superbowl contenders. 

Last week we said a final good-bye to our beloved dog, Scout.  As the family grieved, tasks that seemed simple, like buying groceries, staying on task at work, and walking into a room to forget why we went in there, became extraordinary tasks.   At times it felt like our brains weren't working quite right; technically, they weren't.  This is normal for a grieving person.

Neuroscience tells us the pain of loss and stress of grief forces our bodies to release the hormone cortisol.  Cortisol's role is to shut down the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the part of the brain that is responsible for decision making, logic and deliberation.  Your body senses the pain and sets itself into the "fight or flight" response with all unnecessary thinking shut down for for the purpose of self-preservation.  Anything needed for lower brain functions is put on the back burner.

Scheduling time for personal expression of sorrow and loss can counteract this cortisol rush.  By allowing yourself a private time to cry, yell, or vent, the cortisol is allowed to flow in a controlled situation.  Once finished with the outburst, your stress level can lower back to normal and your cortisol levels can also normalize. 

We will always remember and cherish the love and affection our family received from Scout, but realize that it takes time for our brains to un-learn the expected presence of our loving pup. Healing from grief takes time.