Author Archives: Eleanor

The Grief Coaster: Understanding stress in grief

Stress is a given, whether it’s experienced in response to major life events or minor everyday occurrences. When life is going okay, your stress ebbs and flows. It’s kind of like one of those little kiddie roller coasters – all small peaks and tiny dips. When something terrible happens, your stress level rises dramatically and you …

Yearning in Grief and Loss

I’m a yearner; always have been and always will be. I ache for days and moments that exist only in the past. Childhood moments mostly, the majority of which involve my mother. These memories are particular to me and so I won’t bore you with them. Instead I’ll leave a blank space where you can insert …

Using Defense Mechanisms in Grief

Defense mechanisms refer to behaviors used to protect oneself from unpleasant thoughts and emotions like guilt, anger, shame, and jealousy.  Some people find these yucky emotions so unacceptable that they will unconsciously employ defense mechanisms to prevent themselves from ever having to acknowledge or experience them. Sigmund Freud first proposed the concept of ‘defense mechanisms’ as …

“I should have known…”: Understanding Hindsight Bias in Grief

People have a natural tendency to sift through the ashes of tragedy in search of explanations. To quote Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl, “Man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life.” The search for sense in the seemingly senseless is …

Coping with the Conflicting Emotions of Grief

How are you feeling today? Yes…you. It’s a simple question. You’re asked a version of it every day. You know how to respond. Keep it simple. Choose a one to three word answer. Bonus points if you choose something neutral-to-positive that doesn’t require a follow-up question. Don’t say anything awkward or concerning (unless you’re certain …

Coping with Self-Doubt in the New Year

This morning Litsa and I ran our usual Thursday morning workshop at an emergency shelter in Baltimore City.  We’ve been visiting this particular shelter for almost three years now, so from start to finish our visits have become pretty routine.  We come, we put out coffee and donuts, a handful of residents turn up to eat and drink …


Load More Posts
6 / 240 Loaded