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Grief feels like a form of madness

(86 Posts)
purplepatch Fri 01-Feb-19 15:11:40

My DH died two months ago. We had been married over 52 years.

I am experiencing all the 'usual' emotions e.g.
Can't believe I will never see him again
How can the world go on without him in it
Breaking down when the smallest thing hits me from left field
Regret for things I might have done better
and so on....
But something I have experienced three times since his death has really sidelined me. For no reason, and at no particular time or place I get this strange sensation that he has never existed, that the last 52 years didn't happen, that it was all my imagination. Presumably it is some sort of protective mechanism but it doesn't feel that way. It makes me feel distraught.

Can I ask - has anyone else experienced this sort of feeling or is grief a form of temporary madness?

EllanVannin Fri 01-Feb-19 15:46:57

Definitely not madness. Denial comes in many forms and because of so many years spent together, it will seem like a dream that you can no longer hear, see or feel what you always had so in your mind you're pretending that it hasn't happened. It is another safety valve within your mind and it's part and parcel of your grief.

Don't expect these feelings to vanish overnight as they take their time and you do feel at times as though you're going mad.

I used to shout from the kitchen " do you want a cup of tea " before realising I wouldn't get an answer.
Only time will heal and you've got a way to go yet but it'll ease as the months go by. I wish you well. x

Grandma70s Fri 01-Feb-19 15:47:39

It was a long time ago for me, but I do remember thinking that grief was a form of madness.

Grannybags Fri 01-Feb-19 15:51:21

purplepatch flowers

Izabella Fri 01-Feb-19 15:55:10

purplepatch it IS so so real. Your cognitive reasoning is shot to pieces when you suffer a traumatic life event.
These awful feelings, sounds, smells, distortions of reality and despair are all part of the grieving process. It may feel as if you are going mad - you are not. It is just so HARD for you and so raw still. 52 years is a lifetime.

I know there are others around the forums who will be here to support you and have gone through and are going through such a traumatic time. I truly understand what you are going through but am not in a place to talk about it even now.

Nonnie Fri 01-Feb-19 15:55:55

purplepatch it is normal, grief plays tricks on us all. You may find yourself talking to him at some point. Some people even get angry with the person who died.

Another poster wrote "To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is not to die". It sits on my desk and I read it often.

Let your grief happen in whatever way it manifests itself and be kind to yourself. Accepting it is hard and they tell me it gets easier over time. I lost someone very dear to me 18 months ago and it is not easier yet so give yourself time. Be kind to yourself.

megan123 Fri 01-Feb-19 15:58:31

purplepatch flowers

Caledonai14 Fri 01-Feb-19 16:09:51

I, too, wish you well purplepatch and I have to respect that there are others here who will offer sound advice and support because - sadly - they know only too well what you are going through. My dad was left on his own when mum died after more than 50 years of marriage. He internalised a lot of what you've described, but I recognise it - especially the regrets. He also did a few things that surprised us, his children, but all within the first year on his own. Later he told us that he didn't know what was going on in his head for that first year and the only advice he would pass on if asked was: "Don't make any major changes or do anything spectacularly risky for at least a year." Of course, some things had to change in his life, but mum was never far away, we guessed. I often thought I could feel my mum's spirit in the house, but dad seemed unaware. He never made any apology for being suddenly sad or thoughtful, though, and I know he couldn't look through photographs etc. Everyone's different but I think you shouldn't be at all hard on yourself for what may just be your brain helping you to adjust or your unconscious thoughts catching up with the way you are coping. All the best to you and I am glad you have started this thread. It may help lots of others, especially those who don't post. flowers

sodapop Fri 01-Feb-19 16:18:38

My sympathy purplepatch grief affects us all differently, no rights or wrongs.
Nonnie has good advice, be kind to yourself and accept the grief. You had such a long time together its going to take time to adjust.

NotTooOld Fri 01-Feb-19 16:24:25

So sorry to hear of your loss. There are some wise words from others on here.

Nonnie Fri 01-Feb-19 16:27:11

Good point Caledonian about not making changes in a hurry.

Another thought, you may well be very busy sorting out all the things which have to be sorted, legal, banking etc. This helps in a way but you may well come down with a bump when it is all done. I cried buckets when some of the people I had to phone were nice and understanding but I think it did me good to rant after putting down the phone on the heartless ones like HMRC and the bank.

TerriBull Fri 01-Feb-19 16:30:45

So sorry for your loss Purplepatch flowers

Anniebach Fri 01-Feb-19 16:37:22

Grief does the strangest things to our mind purplepatch , you are not mad. My husband died young and all these years on I still remember my irrational thoughts and actions. When our darling daughter died just over a year ago I feel anger at my husband for not being with me , this is illogic. At my husband’s funeral I had the most irational thought, ‘ why are you not with me to comfort me’, I never lock the door at night the years my daughter was incase she needed me in the night. I still cannot lock the door.

I admit to all this in the hope you can accept grief is causing your thoughts and not any form of going mad.

Thoughts will come but they will pass , there is no time set for grief .

I send you my love, understanding and sympathy for your pain x

Bikerhiker Fri 01-Feb-19 16:45:27

No Purplepatch you are not going mad. You are grieving which takes many forms. Your whole being has been shattered by your loss and you are trying to make sense of. All the aspects seem to come at you from different angles and in no particular order. No wonder we get confused. Two months is no time for 52 years.
Take care. flowers

tanith Fri 01-Feb-19 16:52:39

I can’t add more to all the very wise posts above except to say you’re not going mad, I’m a couple of months further on in the grieving process and just beginning to emerge back into reality as it’s felt very unreal up till now.
Take care of yourself flowers

nanaK54 Fri 01-Feb-19 16:54:16

Sending kind thoughts flowers

Luckygirl Fri 01-Feb-19 17:09:23

What a tough road this is - but please do not fear you are going mad.

The idea that the past never happened assails me too at times - sometimes I can barely remember bringing the children up - I know I did and have the pics to prove it, but it all flashed by so fast that it feels unreal.

You are in that transition between a new and an old reality - of course things feel strange and muddled.

I used to meet many people who had been bereaved in my work, and one of the things people were most upset by was "seeing" the lost loved one. I used to say that it is like when you gaze at the sun too much and when you turn away you can see it still - your brain is so programmed to one reality, that adapting to another is very hard.

You are not going mad, really.


purplepatch Fri 01-Feb-19 18:04:58

Gosh. So many kind and wise replies so quickly. Thank you all so much and flowers to all who are going through the same or similar situation as me.

I have already decided not to decide anything, so to speak, for at least a year.

I wish I could feel his presence. I suppose I am unlikely to as neither of us was religious and it seems (I say only seems) that occurs more with people with a believe in an afterlife. But perhaps I am mistaken.

Every morning when I get up I say good morning to his photograph and good night when I go to bed. I also call out that I am going out for a while and say "I'm back" when I'm back. And I have bought a memory box to store the cards, photos, and little treasures that I most identify with him.

I know that in time good memories will crowd out the difficult ones, but that is not happening for me right now as I nursed him at home, and although his final moments were reasonably peaceful the days leading up to them were really harrowing: but I have no doubts about the decisions I made on his treatment to ease his distress and glad I helped him die at home, which was what he wanted.

But it left some pictures in my head that haunt me and will do so for a long time I suspect. However, I can live with that - it was the last thing I could do for him and I have no regrets.

Lily65 Fri 01-Feb-19 18:06:32

Are you getting some good support?

purplepatch Fri 01-Feb-19 18:29:15

Yes Lily, thank you - from my DDs who are rocks and my brother, not to mention friends. And our wonderful GP invited me to go to him for a chat when I am ready and I will do that. I am very lucky really.

And now I am going to make an effort to watch the rugby - DH never missed an international and neither did I. I will report the result to him!

Izabella Sat 02-Feb-19 09:12:28

PP enjoy your rugby. This thread has brought many memories to me. I was widowed very young and not long after marriage. I can still remember taking a jumper to bed with me as it still smelt of my beloved. I now have a current (3rd) husband and am content, but decades later there are still locked memories and sadness from my youth. We have to try to live in the moment I suppose.

I shed tears at the post by Luckygirl describing the sun analogy. So true. I only wish someone shared that with me all those years ago. I suppose the healing is still going on for me ..............

Anniebach Sat 02-Feb-19 09:17:51

I find it so hard to relate to my husband now, he is still young I am not but I still love him

Urmstongran Sat 02-Feb-19 09:26:08

Oh that is so poignant Anniebach

Anniebach Sat 02-Feb-19 10:28:40

It is such a strange feeling Urmstongran, my sons in law are 20 years older than my husband, feel I have lost him twice , if I think of something he said or we did together I have to think of myself as I was 43 years ago.

My younger daughter loves watching the film ‘ The Ghost and Mrs Muir’ she said ‘i think what happens in the end of the film will be the same for you and daddy ‘, so sweet

Pippa000 Sat 02-Feb-19 10:56:36

I lost my DH without warning a year ago, and went from being "us" to "me", I am still getting used to being on my own. I still have conversations with him, although yet to hear him reply, his dressing gown hangs on the bedroom door, and I say good night and good morning. After 46 years he was a very important part of my life and will always be. Because of his Forces service we had long separations, and we always wrote to each other every day, ( it was long before e-mails) and since he left I write, as I did then to him, but now in to a book, telling him of my day, how I feel and anything that is worrying me. These books are a life line and part of my grieving process, how long I will continue I do not know but it is my way of coping.