Grief often affects the ability to think clearly. Because of the intensity or unpredictable nature of your grief, you may find it hard to get your thoughts in order or focus for long periods. You may even wonder if you are losing your mind.
Many people find they become confused and forgetful. Even getting a simple task done seems like a big hurdle. You may feel very indecisive or you might make impulsive decisions. If you can, it is better to put off any major decisions for a few months after a bereavement until you can think more clearly.
Tips for managing jumbled thoughts
- Try not to make any significant changes for a while and take your time with decisions that do need to be made. People may hurry you to sort out clothes and personal items, or decide where you will live long-term. Don’t be rushed – you are already having to adjust to a huge change.
- Ask a family member or friend to help you sort out paperwork. If you have school-age children, a fellow parent could help you keep up with school activities. Writing lists can also help you keep track of things.
- If you are working, talk to your employer about how much time off you need or negotiate a temporary reduction of hours. Ask them to ensure that your job will be there for you – this will give you peace of mind.
- Keep a journal. Putting your thoughts on paper can help you process the experience.
Kate Jurgens, Bereavement Coordinator, Southern Adelaide Palliative Services, SA; Gabrielle Asprey, Cancer Support Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; A/Prof Lauren Breen, Psychologist, Curtin University, WA; Rev David Dawes, Manager, Spiritual Care Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Rob Ferguson, Consumer; Karen Hall, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Joanna Mangan, Psychologist, Cancer Council Queensland; Kate Reed, Nurse Practitioner National Clinical Advisor, Palliative Care Australia; Maxine Rosenfield, Counsellor and Educator, NSW.
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