"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die"-Thomas Campbell
Grief is the emotional response to any type of loss. Perhaps of a loved one due to death or divorce, but also the loss of a job, a pet, financial stability, or safety after trauma. Feelings of grief can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to know how to manage and overcome these emotions. It is important to have patience with yourself and others during this process as it is a healthy part of healing. If you are having trouble coping on your own, or know of someone who could use extra support, a therapist can assist.
There is no orderly process of passing through stages of anger, denial and acceptance. Everyone experiences loss differently based on their personality, culture, and beliefs, among many other factors.
Common symptoms of grief include:
- Shock and disbelief: feeling numb about the event, having trouble believing it happened, denying it, or expecting to suddenly see the person you lost.
- Sadness: crying, or having feelings of emptiness, despair, yearning, or loneliness.
- Guilt: regret over things unsaid or undone, feeling responsible for the death or the event, or shame from feeling relieved by a person’s passing.
- Anger: blaming someone for injustice.
- Fear: feelings of anxiety, helplessness, and insecurity, or having panic attacks.
- Physical symptoms: fatigue, nausea, weight loss or gain, aches and pains, and insomnia.
Coping with Grief and Loss
An important part of healing is knowing that you are not alone. Seek support from your friends, family, or faith, or join a bereavement support group. Sharing your loss can make the grieving process easier. Remember to take care of yourself; to eat, sleep, and exercise even when you’re too stressed or fatigued to do so. A healthy alternative is to seek the help of a professional therapist. A therapist can help you work through your intense emotions in a safe environment.
If you are struggling with grief, there is good news. You do not have to live with debilitating, long term pain. There is a way to healthy grief.
Tip #1 – Accept Help
One of the most important factors in healing from loss or death is having sufficient social support. Support from friends, family, and others can make grief an easier burden to bear. When family and friends offer to help with funeral arrangements, prepare meals, care for your kids or clean your home, let them. It can be overwhelming to do these things right after a loss. Not having to worry about these responsibilities can free you to focus on coping with your grief.
Tip #2 – Share Your Feelings
Don’t hold your feelings in after a loss. You can also try bereavement support groups, which provide an opportunity to share your sadness with others who are also going through a loss and can relate to your feelings.
Tip #3 – Take Good Care of Yourself
It is important to take good care of yourself when you are grieving — even though that can be especially hard.
Tip #4 – Seek Professional Grief Counseling
Even if you are grieving normally and are not experiencing the pain of prolonged or complicated grief, getting counseling can help you cope. As an experienced therapist, I can promote a healthy healing process by assisting you with working through tough emotions. Please do not hesitate to request an appointment.