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Woman shares 'ball in the box' analogy that perfectly describes grief and helps you cope with it

We 'hit the pain button' every time we're reminded of our loved ones, irrespective of many years it's been since they passed.

Woman shares 'ball in the box' analogy that perfectly describes grief and helps you cope with it
Image source: Twitter/@LaurenHerschel

Editor's note: This article was originally published on April 6, 2021. It has since been updated.

Losing a loved one can be incredibly painful. Every waking moment feels like you're being engulfed by grief. You feel such a weight on your heart that you feel it constrict your breathing. Truth be told, you can choose your words and rearrange them as much you like, but it's incredibly hard to describe what it feels like to lose a loved one. To cope with the grief, it's important to come to terms with the various stages of grief, before eventually finding solace. Twitter user Lauren Herschel used an analogy that she learned from her psychiatrist and it just feels right. Countless Twitter users could relate to what Herschel had shared and recounted their own personal losses and how they hoped to find solace.


Herschel had lost her mother and was finding it incredibly difficult to cope with the loss. As she tried to make sense of it, her psychiatrist said something that really struck her — grief never truly goes away. That was the simple truth and understanding that was important in making peace with it. Herschel's psychiatrist told her that memories associated with a person can often trigger pain. It could be an old song, it could a movie scene or an inside joke. “I think we absolutely need to talk about grief and death more,” Herschel told Bored Panda. “It is normal, yet so many people feel like they can’t talk about it, or can only talk about it for a short prescribed period right after someone passes. But grief is a longer journey than that.”


Herschel believes it's good to feel grief years after the loss. It gives you a small reminder of happier times. "I don’t think it’s something you can wish away at any point,” said Herschel. Her psychiatrist told her that grief felt like a big ball in a box with a pain button within the box. Initially, the big ball keeps hitting the pain button but with time it gets smaller and thus hits the pain button with a lesser frequency. As old memories pop up, you hit the pain button again. To sum it up, while the frequency of the feeling of the pain gets spaced out with time, the pain never truly goes away. “I still refer to this analogy example. The 23rd anniversary of my Dad's passing was Valentine’s Day – old feelings of grief do pop up for sure but now I have a way of making more sense of them, and I also know it’s more normal than I previously thought years ago,” she added.


Lauren said it was important to not force yourself to "get over it." It's never easy having to deal with these feelings, but with time you can make peace with them. The response to Herschel's Twitter thread showed that people could easily relate to the metaphor. The tweet has since been liked more than 24.7k times and retweeted 12.2k times. “The reaction to the tweets has been surprising,” said Herschel. “It kind of comes and goes in waves of people seeing it – which is great. I think it’s one of those things we find when we really need it.”



DEWATA, INDONESIA - FEBRUARY 24: Villagers mourn the loss of relatives as the search continues for people buried under a landslide on February 24, 2010 in Dewata, West Java, Indonesia. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)


BAGHDAD, IRAQ - SEPTEMBER 14: Iraqi men cry following outside the morgue of al-Kadhimiyah hospital on September 14, 2005 in the Shiite holy city of Kadhimiyah in Baghdad, Iraq. (Photo by Muhannad Fala'ah/Getty Images)




NEW ROCHELLE, NEW YORK - JULY 03: Friends and family mourn the death of Conrad Coleman Jr. following his funeral service on July 03, 2020, in New Rochelle, New York. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)


STRATFORD, CT - DECEMBER 15: Donna Soto (R), mother of Victoria Soto, the first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School who was shot and killed while protecting her students, hugs her daughter Karly while mourning their loss at a candlelight vigil in honor of Victoria at Stratford High School on December 15, 2012 in Stratford, Connecticut. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

If you're struggling to cope with grief, and need help, please reach out to Crisis Response at 1-800-203-CARE (2273)

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