Ask Ted

Grief: A bridge through transformation


Dear Ted: I am a freshman at the high school and I'm grateful for your articles. They make me feel less alone and a little bit more normal as I see others have similar problems. I have a question for you from a few of us in our class. We have been talking and realized that even though we are enjoying our time at the high school and are happy to have moved out of middle school, some of us have feelings of anxiety, sadness and just a level of unease. As we are actually happy to be in a new school, why would we be having these feelings? Is this a grief process? Thank you, Academic Wonderers

Dear Wonderers: I appreciate your question. I'm also impressed with the insights you are having along with tracking and sharing your thoughts and emotions. To see this happening at your age is exciting and gives me hope for our future generations. Maybe you can teach us adults to be more conscious!

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in your EQ conference. It was amazing to see your class be open to emotional intelligence and the willingness to share emotions and thoughts with a depth that most adults would not be able to share. Great job, Taos High School, and all the faculty, staff, freshmen, seniors and community presenters who were involved. What a privilege to be involved and witness this great annual event. Now, back to your question.

The grief process is a natural and normal healing process that happens whenever you find yourself in a time of transition. This could be from a sad or happy situation. Grief is the bridge that allows the unconscious and conscious parts of you to adapt to the new situation you have moved into in your life. Just like a physical change, your emotional world needs time to adjust to the new situation and transform into the present.

Physically, you take care of wounds and buy new clothes when your body outgrows what used to be your norm. As you change, your internal system needs to catch up and will often feel out of balance in your new situation. When your internal system (your psyche) feels out of balance, you will feel emotional dysregulation, which will present in ways such as anxiety, depression, nervousness, rapid changes in emotions and other feelings that seem out of character. During these transitional times, you are given the opportunity to start to develop resources to help you stabilize your emotional disruptions that are a normal part of life. Your age group has so many transitions happening all at the same time.

Your body is changing, your hormones are racing, you're thinking about dating or already started dating, you've started driving and different opportunities (healthy and unhealthy) present themselves during this time in your life. Be aware of your emotions, share in safe and appropriate places and realize you are in one of the largest emotional and hormonal hurricanes of your life. From these experiences, you will be able to learn how to navigate the emotional storms life will present to you over the years. Being aware and practicing the natural grief process during happy transitions will be a great benefit in helping you to work with changes in your life rather than choosing to medicate or suppressing your emotions to the level of closing down. I hope you keep questioning, sharing and feeling your life to its fullest.

Thank you for the question. I wish you well. Until next week, take care.

Golden Willow Retreat is a nonprofit organization focused on emotional healing and recovery from any type of loss. Direct any questions to Wiard, founder of Golden Willow Retreat, at (575) 776-2024 or

This column seeks to educate our community about emotional healing through grief. People may write questions to Golden Willow Retreat and they will be answered privately to you and possibly as a future article for others. Please list a first name that grants permission for printing.