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Old 12-02-2017, 05:35 PM
 
527 posts, read 389,154 times
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My husband died four years ago. I have done a good job of building a new life -- I moved to a new state and town, bought a lovely home, made new friends.

I have been unable to focus on my job since he died. Part of it is burnout, but I keep hearing about "widow brain" -- this kind of "bereavement ADD". Has anyone else experienced this, and if so, how long did it persist? I have just given notice at my job that I just can't do it anymore. I am 62 so I am biting the bullet and taking the Social Security survivor benefit early, leaving mine to grow (assuming they don't take that away from us).
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:12 PM
 
3,962 posts, read 5,247,246 times
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Yes, I have and still do experience this. Although it was much worse in the beginning and better now (3 years after my husband's death), I can still notice it sometimes. I am especially "foggy" in noisy situations. When someone is talking to me at a party, sometimes realized that I have drifted away, and may actually be staring at something else. I have noticed this in other situations that require concentration. Sometimes I have to really work at listening or concentrating. I also become emotionally exhausted more quickly than I used to. It takes less to make me feel "that was a really long day." This website has a series of 3 articles that explain "widow brain" or "widow fog" and what to do with it. Widow Brain/Widow Fog | thewidowsfoundation.nl

The biggest thing to me is accepting that not only has my life changed, I have changed, too. My mind has gone through a tremendous trauma. Our brains change, and I can hardly expect my brain to be the same after having gone through this. I am trying to be really patient with myself. I rest more than I used to, and I try not to feel badly about that. (Part of that is getting older - I'm 65.) But I also recognize that sometimes I need an escapist activity to just put my brain into neutral. Exercise and sleep, as well as nutrition are essential in maintaining a healthy brain. Plus, I just keep my options open. If I realize that an activity isn't bringing me pleasure, I just quit that and wait until something else comes along that sounds interesting. I'm trying to give myself permission to develop slowly as my own self, no longer as part of a couple. It is sort of an exploration, an evolution. I think I'm a work in progress. But I'm going to follow the suggestions in the articles a little more closely, because I think they would be helpful.
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Old 12-03-2017, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
22,690 posts, read 21,741,083 times
Reputation: 27742
Seven years, and I still don't look like me--at least to me.
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Old 12-04-2017, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry NC/Randolph NJ/Cape Coral FL
12,925 posts, read 24,048,548 times
Reputation: 10734
Quote:
Originally Posted by G Grasshopper View Post
Yes, I have and still do experience this. Although it was much worse in the beginning and better now (3 years after my husband's death), I can still notice it sometimes. I am especially "foggy" in noisy situations. When someone is talking to me at a party, sometimes realized that I have drifted away, and may actually be staring at something else. I have noticed this in other situations that require concentration. Sometimes I have to really work at listening or concentrating. I also become emotionally exhausted more quickly than I used to. It takes less to make me feel "that was a really long day." This website has a series of 3 articles that explain "widow brain" or "widow fog" and what to do with it. Widow Brain/Widow Fog | thewidowsfoundation.nl

The biggest thing to me is accepting that not only has my life changed, I have changed, too. My mind has gone through a tremendous trauma. Our brains change, and I can hardly expect my brain to be the same after having gone through this. I am trying to be really patient with myself. I rest more than I used to, and I try not to feel badly about that. (Part of that is getting older - I'm 65.) But I also recognize that sometimes I need an escapist activity to just put my brain into neutral. Exercise and sleep, as well as nutrition are essential in maintaining a healthy brain. Plus, I just keep my options open. If I realize that an activity isn't bringing me pleasure, I just quit that and wait until something else comes along that sounds interesting. I'm trying to give myself permission to develop slowly as my own self, no longer as part of a couple. It is sort of an exploration, an evolution. I think I'm a work in progress. But I'm going to follow the suggestions in the articles a little more closely, because I think they would be helpful.
Very interesting article, a very good read for all widows and widowers TY Grasshopper for posting link
At least I know what is going on in my brain
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Old 12-04-2017, 06:34 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,836 posts, read 51,286,023 times
Reputation: 27639
Quote:
Originally Posted by G Grasshopper View Post
Yes, I have and still do experience this. Although it was much worse in the beginning and better now (3 years after my husband's death), I can still notice it sometimes. I am especially "foggy" in noisy situations. When someone is talking to me at a party, sometimes realized that I have drifted away, and may actually be staring at something else. I have noticed this in other situations that require concentration. Sometimes I have to really work at listening or concentrating. I also become emotionally exhausted more quickly than I used to. It takes less to make me feel "that was a really long day." This website has a series of 3 articles that explain "widow brain" or "widow fog" and what to do with it. Widow Brain/Widow Fog | thewidowsfoundation.nl

The biggest thing to me is accepting that not only has my life changed, I have changed, too. My mind has gone through a tremendous trauma. Our brains change, and I can hardly expect my brain to be the same after having gone through this. I am trying to be really patient with myself. I rest more than I used to, and I try not to feel badly about that. (Part of that is getting older - I'm 65.) But I also recognize that sometimes I need an escapist activity to just put my brain into neutral. Exercise and sleep, as well as nutrition are essential in maintaining a healthy brain. Plus, I just keep my options open. If I realize that an activity isn't bringing me pleasure, I just quit that and wait until something else comes along that sounds interesting. I'm trying to give myself permission to develop slowly as my own self, no longer as part of a couple. It is sort of an exploration, an evolution. I think I'm a work in progress. But I'm going to follow the suggestions in the articles a little more closely, because I think they would be helpful.
I experience the opposite other than the italicized. My wife was a psychotherapist who continually was developing herself and attempting to become a more developed person. Rather than brain fog, I find that I can just relax and words that would come from her are coming from my mouth or typing themselves on the computer. I lay no claim to those times. I do limit myself socially. I am an extreme introvert IRL and hyper-aware of everything in a social situation. I don't zone out as much as get overloaded quickly and need space to process. I've also found that I have weird intuitions that end up being true.

Everyone reacts differently to the loss of a mate and there is no right way or wrong way. If there is brain fog, there is a technique by Eugene Gendlin of "focusing" that can put you in touch with why that is there and the purpose it serves.
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Old 12-04-2017, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,836 posts, read 51,286,023 times
Reputation: 27639
Quote:
Originally Posted by G Grasshopper View Post
Yes, I have and still do experience this. Although it was much worse in the beginning and better now (3 years after my husband's death), I can still notice it sometimes. I am especially "foggy" in noisy situations. When someone is talking to me at a party, sometimes realized that I have drifted away, and may actually be staring at something else. I have noticed this in other situations that require concentration. Sometimes I have to really work at listening or concentrating. I also become emotionally exhausted more quickly than I used to. It takes less to make me feel "that was a really long day." This website has a series of 3 articles that explain "widow brain" or "widow fog" and what to do with it. Widow Brain/Widow Fog | thewidowsfoundation.nl

The biggest thing to me is accepting that not only has my life changed, I have changed, too. My mind has gone through a tremendous trauma. Our brains change, and I can hardly expect my brain to be the same after having gone through this. I am trying to be really patient with myself. I rest more than I used to, and I try not to feel badly about that. (Part of that is getting older - I'm 65.) But I also recognize that sometimes I need an escapist activity to just put my brain into neutral. Exercise and sleep, as well as nutrition are essential in maintaining a healthy brain. Plus, I just keep my options open. If I realize that an activity isn't bringing me pleasure, I just quit that and wait until something else comes along that sounds interesting. I'm trying to give myself permission to develop slowly as my own self, no longer as part of a couple. It is sort of an exploration, an evolution. I think I'm a work in progress. But I'm going to follow the suggestions in the articles a little more closely, because I think they would be helpful.
I experience the opposite other than the underlined. My wife was a psychotherapist who continually was developing herself and attempting to become a more developed person. Rather than brain fog, I find that I can just relax and words that would come from her are coming from my mouth or typing themselves on the computer. I lay no claim to those times. I do limit myself socially. I am an extreme introvert IRL and hyper-aware of everything in a social situation. I don't zone out as much as get overloaded quickly and need space to process. I've also found that I have weird intuitions that end up being true.

Everyone reacts differently to the loss of a mate and there is no right way or wrong way. If there is brain fog, there is a technique by Eugene Gendlin of "focusing" that can put you in touch with why that is there and the purpose it serves.
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Old 12-04-2017, 07:51 PM
 
4,796 posts, read 1,344,677 times
Reputation: 4769
Four months of brain fog would be easily understandable. Four years is a lot, though. Have you ever talked to a counselor/therapist?
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