What To Do When You Feel Like Screaming…


Ever feel like screaming? With all the losses we get hit with, and all that happens to us and around us, it’s hard to believe we aren’t screaming most of the time.

Perhaps we are – silently, in the deep recesses of our hearts.

Maybe it’s time we let a little of that pain out.


Betty went a little nuts – on purpose

Betty lived in a nursing home and spent her waking hours in a wheelchair. She suffered from an assortment of ailments, but none of them could touch her mind. She was sharp.

“Hello, Betty. How are you today?” I asked.

“Well, to be honest, I feel kind of stupid,” Betty said, cocking an eyebrow. “I don’t know which end is up and I can’t see well enough to find it anyway. And if I could find it I wouldn’t know what to do with it.”

I smiled. Betty began to giggle.

“So, you know what I’m thinking about doing?” she continued. “I’m thinking about having a nervous breakdown. I’ve never had one of those. Wonder how you do that. Do I begin by screaming?”

Now I began to giggle.

Betty looked at me, her eyes growing larger by the second. Suddenly she threw her head back and began waving her arms and screaming.

The staff at the nursing station looked up, startled. I took a quick step forward. Betty abruptly stopped screaming and shouted, “Stay where you are! I’m not done yet!” Then she smiled and started screaming again. The staff giggled and returned to their work. I rolled my eyes, crossed my arms, and waited.

After a few more seconds, she stopped.

“Are you done now?” I asked.

“Yes, quite. That was fun. Let’s do it again sometime,” she said.


Screaming therapy?

Life does get a little crazy at times. Sometimes, it hurts. Deeply. We miss loved ones. Our hearts are broken. Maybe some screaming therapy is in order.

I’m serious. Screaming can be therapeutic. At least it was for me.

When I experienced intense grief as a result of flashbacks about childhood sexual abuse, I often screamed into a pillow. Other times, I would make my way to the car, drive a few miles from the house, and let it rip.

It was so effective, I’ve screamed many times sense (not in public, of course). Intense grief is powerful – and it deserves healthy, powerful expression.


Healthy release, is, well, healthy

There is so much inside us needing release:

  • Sadness
  • Frustration
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Despair

The pressure builds over time. If we don’t let it out, it leaks – or explodes – usually in unhealthy ways.

What if we were proactive? What if, when we felt things building, we excused ourselves and had some screaming therapy (privately, of course)?

It’s definitely better than a nervous breakdown.

Thanks Betty.

Question: Have you ever engaged in some screaming therapy? What was that like for you?

Weird Symptoms: When Grief Gets Physical


Grief often gets physical.

“I have headaches. My back hurts. My stomach bothers me almost every day. I have dizzy spells. I think my body is falling apart,” Shirley shared.

Seemingly out of the blue, Shirley’s daughter Corinne was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. The treatment was severe enough that Corrine finally opted to go on hospice care. After six months with a good quality of life, Corinne died at home surrounded by her husband, her two daughters, and the rest of her loving family. She was 44.

“After Corinne’s death, I’ve been getting hit with one thing after another. I had tests done. Nothing. Then I wondered, could this be grief?” Shirley asked.


When grief gets physical

Many people experience new, exacerbated, or strange physical symptoms following the death of a loved one. When grief hits, it smacks our bodies too.

Grief is form of stress. As such, it naturally taxes our immune system and causes our bodies to work harder to maintain health. In the short term, we might be able to manage without too much distress. Over the long haul, however, grief can wear us down. All kinds of health issues can surface.

We can experience headaches, muscle aches, tightness in the chest, and neck pain. Some report chest pain, palpitations, or rapid heartbeat. Others complain of stomach pain, intestinal distress, bowel changes, heartburn, or nausea. Many experience air hunger (the feeling of not being able to get enough air), frequent colds, or persistent respiratory infections. The list goes on and on.

Our immune systems are suppressed. Our bodies are feeling our distress. We are more vulnerable physically.

Grief is not an illness like the common cold, where we can expect to recover and be as good as new in a few days. Grief is more like an extended battle or a demanding marathon. We must learn to pace ourselves and appreciate that our entire system is under duress.

Weathering this physically challenging storm is a long-term adventure. Taking ourselves and our bodies seriously is a key to grieving in a healing and healthy way.

The death of a loved one affects our whole person. Experiencing some grief-related physical symptoms is natural and common.

“I miss you so much it hurts, literally. Grief pounds me, body and soul.”


Some important reminders:

These almost go without saying, but making sure the following three things are in place in your life can make a radical difference in your ability to weather the grieving process well.

  • Good nutrition (eating healthy and hydrating well)
  • Adequate sleep (since grief is exhausting, you might need more than usual)
  • Regular exercise (burns off emotion, releases endorphins, and bolsters the immune system)

Taking good care of yourself is one powerful way to love your loved one and honor his or her memory.


Adapted from the newly released bestseller, Shattered: Surviving the Loss of a Child. You can watch the Shattered videos here: Gary, Michelle

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