When You Drop the Ball...Bend Over and Pick it Up

September 25, 2019 By Jessica Orvis, LPC

It’s September, nearly the end, and this blog is just now getting published. Someone dropped the ball. That someone is me. Am I the only one that drops the ball, misses deadlines, or can’t manage 100% of what is asked of me? No, no I am not. And being able to own up to that softens a lot of the struggle that’s associated with being overwhelmed.

With grief, like any feeling really, we tend to get overwhelmed, but often more quickly than normal when grief is added. Grief is a multidimensional loss and doesn’t affect just one area of your life, it affects nearly, if not certainly, all areas for some time.

When we as humans are functioning at our highest levels, we can still “drop the ball” on small, or even large, responsibilities. This is the human factor and the multitasking inability that all humans have. Even if multitasking pleasurable duties or responsibilities, it is still stress on our bodies to remember, coordinate, and perform these many duties at once. When we add in what a human being must process physically, emotionally, cognitively, spiritually, behaviorally and socially while grieving, we must accept that this is a time when the human factor precedes most other factors. When the human body is under intense stress of any nature: physical, emotional, cognitive, etc, the whole body is affected.

It is not only of importance that we must shift our minds to recognize that our limitations as humans are natural and completely valid, but that while grieving it is the state of being for quite some time. Whether it is our own self imposed pressure to simply speed through grief due to the discomfort and misery that it can cause us, or we have other people in our lives that assume after a short amount of time we are past our grief and should be performing at our previous level. The pressure is there due to society’s labeling of this human experience, and making mistakes as a consequence, of “dropping the ball”. This phrase, “dropping the ball”, doesn’t conjure up thoughts of competency or efficiency. It does quite the opposite. So when society has expectations of our grief experience, and we then interpret that to mean that we are not permitted to be scattered, tired, agitated, heart broken, and just simply all that comes with existing, then we are inclined to see grief as a wholly negative experience.

If we were to use more positive verbiage, or even neutral and realistic, we could begin to change stigmas associated with grief. These stigmas include judgment of not being able to process a significant loss and perform all required physical, emotional, etc., as we had without the loss in our life. It simply does not make sense that one can experience a loss and perform their previous duties to the same level and with the same effectiveness and effort level before the loss.

When we start viewing ourselves as wholly fallible yet worthy humans to grieve, process,and reconstruct our own personal world, we will learn that “dropping the ball” is as natural as breathing when it comes to the process of juggling grief, trauma, and this new life we have entered. To say “I humaned today” would feel tremendously liberating.