When Grief Seems Paralyzing


Paralyzed in Grief


I feel frozen. Stuck. Paralyzed.

The world is moving, but I’m not. I’m going through the motions. I walk in a daze. I find myself staring at walls.

I can’t move. It’s like my heart has been anesthetized.

My emotions are so intense. I’m often hijacked and overcome by them. My feelings are so strong, they have taken over my life.

I can see everything, but I’m not participating somehow. I’m different now. I just exist, and my existence is painful and scary.

This is truly awful.

Loss can be paralyzing.

After a traumatic loss like this, our emotions can overwhelm us.

We need breaks from the intensity. Feeling all the grief at once might even kill us. Our hearts and minds combine their efforts to protect us. When the emotional overwhelm gets to be too much, they shut down. We can feel temporarily frozen or paralyzed. We can handle only so much.

This internal paralysis can be frightening. Perhaps we’ve never experienced anything like it before. Rest assured this frozen feeling is common for those who have endured the death of a loved one.

Again, this paralyzed, stuck feeling is temporary. Your heart and mind are trying to find space to breathe amid all the heaviness. You need breaks from the intensity of the grief. Your system acts to protect you when things get to be too much.

Keep breathing deeply. You will get through this, though at times you wonder how. Feeling stuck or frozen honors the one you lost. Your heart is expressing itself. Be patient with yourself and give your heart room to grieve.  

Affirmation: When I feel frozen and paralyzed, I’ll remind myself that this is common. My heart needs breaks from the intensity of the grief.

Adapted from the newly released Aftermath: Picking Up the Pieces After a Suicide. Watch the brief book video here.


About the Author

Gary Roe is an author, speaker, and chaplain with Hospice Brazos Valley. He is the author of the award-winning bestsellers Shattered: Surviving the Loss of a Child, Please Be Patient, I'm Grieving, HEARTBROKEN: Healing from the Loss of a Spouse, and Surviving the Holidays without You and the co-author (with New York Times Bestseller Cecil Murphey) of Saying Goodbye: Facing the Loss of a Loved One. Visit him at www.garyroe.com.