Monday, March 17, 2014

the five stages of grief - in response to snoring

The stages of mourning and grief are universal and are experienced by people from all walks of life. Mourning occurs in response to an individual’s recognition of their own issue, or to the issue of a valued being, human or animal.  

This also happens when you realize, after 17 years of marriage or so, that you've accidentally married a snorer, and you straight up told said spouse that you could never marry a snorer, or sleep beside a snorer, or SLEEP AT ALL in the presence of a snorer.

Many people do not experience the stages in the order listed below, which is okay. The key to understanding the stages is not to feel like you must go through every one of them, in precise order. Instead, it’s more helpful to look at them as guides in the grieving process — it helps you understand and put into context where you are.  If you find yourself purchasing a sharp object to keep beside you in bed, seek immediate help.

1. Denial and Isolation

The first common reaction to learning of your partner's snoring is to deny the reality of the situation. Some might exclaim, "WTF!" or something quite similar, or continuously jab, shake or smack the offensive partner in hopes that it will shock the snorts out of him or her.  It is a normal reaction to rationalize overwhelming emotions. It is a defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock. We block out the thought of the snoring and hide from the facts. This is a temporary response that carries us through the first wave of pain.

2. Anger

Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process.  Be willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless or overwhelming.  You may find yourself clenching your teeth so hard you fear a broken tooth, or clenching your fists so hard, you break a nail.  The anger may be aimed at inanimate objects, complete strangers, friends or family.  Anger will most certainly be directed at our snoring loved one. Rationally, we know the person is not to be blamed. Emotionally, however, we will resent the person for causing us to suffer through the sound of a freight train in our ear while we are trying to sleep, or for just snoring in our faces hour after hour, night after night, to infinity and beyond. We feel guilty for being angry, and this makes us more angry.  Obviously.

Take your time.  Try not to pull your partner's hair or plug their nose til they almost suffocate.  You may plug their nose til they gasp for air and startle themselves awake.  This will probably make you feel slightly better.

3. Bargaining

The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control–
  • If only we had picked up on the snoring sooner…
  • If only we went to the store and got more Breathe Strips before bed…
  • If only Breathe Strips actually worked...
  • If only we were deaf...
  • If only we had tried harder to find effective ear plugs…
Secretly, we may make a deal with God or our higher power in an attempt to postpone the inevitable. This is a weaker line of defense to protect us from the painful reality that snoring is going to happen in the immediate future.  And it's not going to be pretty.

4. Depression

Two types of depression are associated with mourning. The first one is a reaction to practical implications relating to the loss of sleep and comfy rest in your once happy bed. Sadness and regret predominate this type of depression. We worry about the costs of putting together a new bedroom for the snorer. We worry that, in our grief, we have spent less time with others that depend on us. We worry that in our extreme tiredness from lack of sleep we could accidentally smother our loved one. The second type of depression is more subtle and, in a sense, perhaps more private. It is our quiet preparation to separate and to bid our loved one farewell from the family bed. Sometimes all we really need is a hug.  And a good set of earplugs.

5. Acceptance

Reaching this stage of mourning is a gift not afforded to everyone. The end of snoring could happen suddenly and unexpectedly, without explanation, leaving us to be edgy and constantly wonder when the next shoe will drop, or we may never see beyond our anger or denial.  This phase is marked by withdrawal and calm. This is not a period of happiness.

Loved ones that snore appear to go through a final period of withdrawal themselves. This is by no means a suggestion that they are aware of their own snoring. Their behavior implies that it is natural to reach a stage at which social interaction is limited.  Clearly they are exhausted and potentially bruised from late night jabs. The dignity and grace shown by our snoring loved ones may well be their last gift to us, as they accept their fate and begrudgingly move their things into their new bedroom, far far away.  As far away as possible even.

Coping with snoring is ultimately a deeply personal and singular experience — nobody can help you go through it more easily or understand all the emotions that you’re going through. But others can be there for you and help comfort you through this process. The best thing you can do is to allow yourself to feel the grief as it comes over you. Resisting it only will prolong the natural process of healing.

Headphones with white noise or light music might help.  And if you are unwilling to kick your partner out of bed to save yourself, you are a better man than I am.  Also, buck up and invest in some good, heavy duty earplugs.  Trust me, it'll save your partner's life.

1 comment:

  1. Jessica cute blog. I'm trying to get in touch with you about your dog Maisie.
    I think I sold her to you. I also tried to facebook message you. Can you please message me on face book at Valerie Piersall or email me at I would like to get together with the dogs if possible.
    thanks valerie