Dr. Paul Meier: Anniversary Illnesses Part 1
Join one of your favorite cohosts, Dr. Paul Meier, discussing how times in our lives that were traumatic are stored in our bodies.
Dr. Paul Meier Notes:
NORMAL BRIEF GRIEF.
My father died many years ago and I was with him when he died talking to him and it was a wonderful experience even though sad to lose him. I have dealt with it well I believe. One Christmas Day a few years after his death, I was excited to go wake up our young kids to open presents and have an exciting day together, but then I felt suddenly sad for no apparent reason and couldn’t figure out why. I went into a room by myself and prayed for insight and immediately became aware that my parents always came at Christmas mornings to open presents with us. My Mom was still alive and would be there soon, but my Dad wouldn’t and I missed him. I actually encouraged myself to cry and did so for about two minutes and prayed that God would send an angel to give him a hug up in heaven and tell him we love him and miss him today. God would never say no to a request like that. Then I felt great again, having become aware of the reason and dealt with it. Feeling temporary brief dysthymia is not always a bad thing. It was a good thing in that circumstance and it might be for you in our listening family too.
REGRESSION = Lots of my clients who I have seen for med checks but brief therapy once every few months for 10-15 years have done great that long, but we all still have a tendency to REGRESS to some extent to seeing life and ourselves and our roles like we saw them in childhood when we visit parents and sibs on the holidays or other events (weddings, etc.) and then are surprised we may feel worse temporarily after the holiday and not even know why. I warn my clients as I see them in Nov and Dec to watch out for that and I explain this to them. That way they catch themselves and avoid it, or sometimes need to avoid obnoxious parents who are always verbally abusive. To feel guilty for staying out of contact or limiting contact with chronically abusive parents is false guilt. We should feel guilty if we subject ourselves and our families to that instead. “Honoring your father and mother” in the Bible doesn’t mean letting them dominate or abuse you. It might mean having no contact with them but pitching in financially with other sibs to help pay for a nursing home when they are old, or it may involve doing nothing but avoiding or assisting them altogether.
PTSD SYMPTOMS MAY OCCUR ANNUALLY EVEN WHEN GONE THE REST OF THE TIME. If there is a past traumatic event of any kind or even strong regret that has not been adequately dealt with, each year near that anniversary date any person might experience more anxiety and sadness and not know why. Even nightmares that are difficult to understand, or more sensitivity. A person MIGHT be aware of what it is and feel bad each year or MIGHT NOT even be aware of what it is. For example, people who believe abortion is OK for personal reasons often feel sad annually at the time it occurred, often unconsciously, and may even look around at kids of the age that child would be had he or she been born and have conscious or unconscious regrets or guilt feelings. This is part of what is known psychiatrically as POST-ABORTION SYNDROME.
UNRESOLVED GRIEF. Anniversaries of major losses, like death of a child or significant other. Broken relationships. Divorce is often more traumatic than the death of a beloved mate. It is a rude awakening that the mate was not who you thought he or she really was. It is a willful rejection of you rather than an unexpected death.