Grief’s Effect on Health, Body Image/Self-consciousness

body image

Pregnant women whose formerly trim, attention-getting figures have swollen into puffier proportions are known to experience negative body image thoughts and beliefs when it comes to marital and sexual issues, and that’s despite the happiness of expecting a desired child with the happily married husband-father. Body image issues tend to be more complicated for people disfigured by traumatic accidents such as amputations or burns, vehicle accidents and genetic deformities.  The grief and anger felt by such people can be compounded by the cruel teasing or other behaviors of the people around them. The older the person experiencing the body image problem, though, the better their chances of putting life into emotionally healing perspective with the effective coping strategies and problem-solving skills they’ve developed over time. But unresolved grief and body image issues are a hell all their own. It can damage inner and outer health, let alone a person’s future.

Grief is a form of mourning, and both are a form of stress. The longer those emotions last, the likelier it is for the body to produce chemicals signifying the abnormal state of affairs. They’re called adrenocorticotrophin hormone (ACTH) (which prepares a person to physically battle an enemy), and hormonal catecholamines. They’ll include fight-or-flight response chemicals norepinephrine and epinephrine. Estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol, plus neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin also accrue over time. The recipe takes a toll on the personality as the body reflects the destructive mixture. Emotions are heightened because of the chemical brew, producing what is called “hypervigilance.” The person is unnecessarily alerted to a sense of trouble that no longer exists and to expected trouble that will never exist. In brief, this is a situation of overestimating or underestimating one’s own perceived control of a situation or of life overall. The chemistry and the line of thought which produced it can lead to unprovoked anxiety and aggression. The affected person looks haggard, worn out, perhaps stooped over or too thin. A vicious cycle ensues in which one look at a mirror or remarks from observers underscore the affected person’s mindset that life has gone seriously wrong, bad or damaging.

Now you know why some people seem to be inappropriately upset. A dysfunctional response to actual, expected or perceived dangers, the undeserved attitudes harm the grieving person’s ability to thrive. Think of the characters in the novel The Secret, Book & Scone Society by Ellery Adams (Kensington Press) and you have a mild version of the problem. Nora, the heroine of the story, held herself back from a happier life due to her sense of guilt at having caused an almost fatal and disfiguring car accident. She and her newfound friends, each with their own history of life gone awry and consequent body image problems, shared the effects that unresolved guilt induces. You might know actual people who suffer far more from the effect of guilt on their body image or sense of self consciousness. Anorexics, bulimics, and binge or ruminant eaters experience that problem. No matter who suffers the guilt/body image problem, though, they also suffer loneliness. There is a way out of the vicious cycle. One example of that is a grassroots effort that’s ending fat-shaming worldwide.

Competent therapists can help guilt-ridden people to end their damaging body image perspective by explaining how to separate the issues, and how to end a dysfunctional sense of responsibility, regret, remorse or other malfunctioning emotion(s). There are several different therapies for ending the suffering and misguided thinking. Work with those which take you forward into an inviting future. Grow into being the kind of person you’d want to be. The process takes time, it requires compassion for yourself and other people, and it means that you leave justice up to GOD, lawyers, and the universe. They’ll handle the issues beyond the average person’s scope.

When you decide to contact the therapist you need in order to recover from grief’s effect on your health and/or body Image/self-consciousness, look over the resources at the e-counseling site, call your local mental health centers and/or ask trusted acquaintances whom they’d recommend. You can create a more pleasant future.

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Yocheved Golani

Yocheved Golani

Yocheved Golani is a popular writer whose byline has appeared worldwide in print and online. A certified Health Information Management professional, she is a member of Get Help Israel. Certified in Spiritual Chaplaincy (End of Life issues) and in counseling skills, her life coaching for ill people puts healthy perspective into a clients’ success plan for achieving desired goals.