Most people will experience loss at some point within their life. Grief is a normal reaction / response to any form of loss. Bereavement is a type of grief and a period of mourning following the death of a loved one. Sometimes grief can be hard to process, causing emotional scars and triggering mental health problems.
What is Grief
Grief is intense sorrow or distress but can also involve guilt, yearning, anger and regret. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, but their are healthy ways to manage with the grieving process. When this process becomes difficult and begins to affect your mental health seeking help can be the best possible option. grief is a natural response to loss, during this process you may experience all kinds of unwanted, unexpected emotions. Coping with the loss of a loved one, can be one of life’s biggest challenges.
Everyone is different in the way that they manage the loss of a loved one, feelings of grief can range in severity for different individuals with some struggling to cope more than others. The length of time sit takes to grieve is also subjective to each individual and dependent on context. When symptoms of grief become more serve and it begins to dominate the person’s life, having a significant impact of interference on their daily functioning for increasing long periods of time, seeking support would be advisable to help mange this. Grief is not subject to loss, there are other situations why a person can grieve for example (divorce, relationship breakdown, loss of health, miscarriage, retirement, death of a pet, loss of a friendship.)
Signs and Symptoms
- Intense sadness and emotional pain .
- A reduced sense of identity.
- Lack of desire to engage in personal interest or plans.
- Feeling numb.
- Loss of appetite.
- Anger and guilt.
- Overwhelming sadness.
Stages of Grief
Everyone grieves differently, although the stages of grief and mourning are universal and experienced by people from all walks of life and cultures.
Shock – Initial reaction to the disbelief of bereavement, can cause feelings of numbness and disconnection fro others and the world around you. These feelings can be followed by denial, with the individual convincing themselves that nothing has changed, behaving as though the lost one is still alive.
Anger – Trying to adjust to the new reality, can trigger emotional discomfort, good swings and feelings of anger towards yourself, others of the person who you lost.
Bargaining – To help cope with loss you may find yourself, trying to find different ways, you can avoid the current pain or pain you are anticipating from the loss, for example making a promise to yourself that you will live a better life if the person was alive again and the tragedy was reversed.
Depression – Starting to feel the loss of the loved on more deeply, levels of sadness begins to develop, yo may find yourself ruminating on the past, being less sociable, experiencing sleep difficulties, loss of appetite and withdrawal form others.
Acceptance – The stage when you are no longer resisting the reality of your situation, sadness and regret can still be present but you may find that you are able to rebuild motivation and energy.
How therapy can help
Everyone grieves differently and sometimes the grief process can be extremely challenging, you may feel a sense of emotional pain which has been lasting for a log period of time causing you to feel stuck in one of the stages of grief and unable to move forwards with your life and daily functioning. Therapy can help by providing you a space to let out your unwanted or suppressed emotions , your therapist can help you manage you painful emotions and adopt new coping techniques and strategies. Your therapist will be supportive through the grieving process if you are feeling lost, confused and overwhelmed, helping you gradually move into a healthier state of mind and able to function in your daily life.