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What to Do When the Vulnerability of Grief Renders You Speechless

19 Jul

Talk about feeling vulnerable twice over! This question came from a woman who loses her speech in stressful situations, probably brought on by the death of her spouse. As I say in the reply, this is a situation made to order for generating panic attacks, and she’s got enough trouble as it is. Check it out – this reaction is more common than you might think.

Question

Which product would be best to combat loss of speech, especially in stressful situations, probably brought on by death of a spouse. Thanks.

Nell

Answer

Dear Nell,

This is not an uncommon reaction to a traumatic loss. In fact, I've even seen it happen to a friend for several months, after a terrifying fire destroyed her home and the subsequent falling apart of her marriage. For months, when she wasn't stuttering, she just couldn't speak at all. It was very frightening to her, needless to say. The good news is, this is generally a transient situation that eventually goes away.

I would recommend a two-pronged approach with the guided imagery - one to address the underlying grief and loss from the bereavement; and one to handle the situational stress that rears its ugly head and catalyzes the speech difficulties. 

For the loss, I suggest our Ease Grief guided imagery, which may make the bereaved person feel the sadness even more at first, but incrementally, over time, provides real comfort and can really help with healing. Of course, we're not talking about a quick fix here - this is going to take a while. The Heartbreak, Abandonment & Betrayal imagery may also be a big help here - and even though the death of a spouse isn't the same as being left or abandoned, in many ways it feels the same. The images and metaphors offered on this audio provide ways to feel stronger on the inside and less batted about by external events when feeling so vulnerable.

At the same time, I recommend listening to various guided imagery exercises designed to reduce all the anxiety and distress in the moment, that winds up as speechlessness - a situation just made to order for morphing into a kind of panic attack situation. So I suggest our guided imagery for Help with Panic Attacks. which has several segments designed to give you simple, user-friendly breathing, relaxation and phrase repetition exercises, along with some guided imagery and affirmations.  A nice, relaxing and affirming alternate to this would be our Relaxation & Wellness imagery.  

I hope this is a help.  Of course, there's always counseling or therapy, too, if the addition of a compassionate but neutral sounding board would speed things along.

I wish you the best. And please remember, even though the very idea seems impossible right now: this too shall pass.

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Belleruth

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award