Home » Blogs » Panic About Anxiety -- A blog about panic attacks, panic disorder, and anxiety. » Sloppy And Scattered: This Is Your Brain On Grief

Sloppy And Scattered: This Is Your Brain On Grief

Sloppy And Scattered: This Is Your Brain On Grief

Ever since my dad passed away three months ago, my brain has been busy. Busy, cluttered, and disorganized.

I’ve felt so mentally disorganized, in fact, that I’ve had a difficult time writing. (This probably isn’t news to any of my regular readers who have noticed the lack of blog posts lately.)

I have about seven half-written blog posts in my “drafts” folder that just…don’t…make the cut.

They’re sloppy. They’re scattered.

And I, too, feel sloppy and scattered. I’m grieving the loss of my father, handling his estate (and by “handling”, I mean “drowning in paperwork regarding”), and preparing for a brand new full-time job that starts…uhm, tomorrow.

That’s a lot of slop. And a lot of scatter.

But am I blaming myself for the cognitive fog that’s crept in? No.

Am I getting angry at myself for being unable to put together a jigsaw puzzle of words on a blank page? No.

Adding anger or self-hatred into this Trifecta of Overload wouldn’t help to solve anything. It wouldn’t make me feel better, it wouldn’t make my recovery more speedy, and it certainly wouldn’t help me to keep my anxiety levels in check (which, graciously, have not spiraled out of control more than a handful of times since my dad died).


I hope to tell you all the full story soon — I’ve been trying to now, for months — of my dad’s death. It’s something I want and need to share with the world — especially you. The anxious. The panicky. The agoraphobic.

And why? Under the weight of such stress and sadness, a panic-riddled Summer Beretsky managed to survive. I managed to travel. I managed to blankly roam the aisles of Jo-Ann Fabrics the day after he died, shopping for memorial scrapbook supplies and funeral-bound photo frames, without collapsing.

I managed to do a lot of shit I never thought I’d be able to do. The shock, I think, helped me to plow a path I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to tread.

In time, I want to tell you how I did it. I want to share stories, advice, tears, frustrations, and my list of woulda-coulda-shoulda. The story about how my local mental health care system failed me on the night of my dad’s death. And the story about coping with all the asshats on the internet who said my father deserved to die. Oh, and how I got my father an obituary on the national news (because once an overachieving daughter, always an overachieving daughter, right?)

But until I can get my brain on track again, I’ll be — well, trying to get my brain on track again. I’m working to tame the messy jumble of muck in my head that spits out phrases like “messy jumble of muck” because, frankly, muck isn’t something that jumbles, is it? But my brain decided to hand me those words, in that order, so…yeah. Take it.

You know what is helping me out, though? Mindfulness meditation.

Yes, meditation — and lots of it.

I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow, but until then, I have a question for youother than the magical thing that is time, what’s helped you to deal with grief? Has any form of meditation ever helped you to cope with loss?

Photo: Orin Zebest (Flickr)

Sloppy And Scattered: This Is Your Brain On Grief

Summer Beretsky

Summer Beretsky enjoys writing about her experiences with anxiety, panic, and Paxil. She had her first panic attack as an undergrad at Lycoming College and plenty more while she worked toward her M.A. in Communication from the University of Delaware. She contributes to the World of Psychology blog here on PsychCentral and has written for the Los Angeles Times. You can follow her on Twitter @summerberetsky.

9 comments: View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Beretsky, S. (2014). Sloppy And Scattered: This Is Your Brain On Grief. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Aug 2014
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.