Dealing with Grief
Updated: Sep 18, 2020
What to do when someone or something we love is taken away from us and how to begin healing our grief.
When someone or something we love is taken away from us, we experience emotional suffering that we call grief. Losses we suffer are not always a bereavement, although they could definitely involve the death of a loved one or a pet, and miscarriage. Other types of losses include:
· Divorce or relationship break-up
· Loss of a friendship
· Loss of health
· Serious illness – either yourself or someone close
· Losing a job
· Loss of financial stability
· Loss of a cherished dream
· Loss of safety after trauma
· Losses experienced in childhood
· Moving home/house
· Moving area/away
"Grief is not the same for everyone."
Grief is not the same for everyone, we are all different and we all value different things, so the grieving process is very individual too. No matter how much we may wish to, ‘move on’. Dealing with grief takes time and happens gradually. With grief, there is no timescale, the process cannot be rushed or forced, so try to be patient with yourself as it varies for each of us. We never get rid of our grief but we can integrate it so it doesn't feel like it consumes our every waking moment.
Unfortunately, ignoring or doing your best to avoid experiencing the suffering doesn’t work in the long run either, if anything it may prolong it. It’s like the more you try to push it away, the harder it works to grab your attention. It's always with you and waits until you can avoid it no more, almost like it’s hunting you down.
"Healing happens by feeling."
To heal, it is necessary for you to face your grief. Recognising and acknowledging what you miss, any regrets you may have, the changes you face, the impact of your loss and being able to sit with those uncomfortable, and sometimes unbearable feelings is key. This can feel really scary and overwhelming, especially when unexpected emotions surface that catch you off-guard, or when you and the people around you are expecting you to get on with routine day to day things. At such times, you may feel like withdrawing from others and hiding yourself away but this usually doesn’t help in the long run and often ends up making you feel worse. It is vital not to totally isolate yourself.
The pain of grief can impact on things we often take for granted such as sleeping becoming difficult, eating - having no appetite or comfort eating, and even the ability to think straight. This may create physical problems too such as insomnia, weight loss or gain, nausea, fatigue and lower immunity. The mind and body are connected so it’s really important to look after yourself physically, particularly on days when it feels like it’s too much effort. Try not to numb your grief or lift your mood artificially with drugs or alcohol, as this is more likely to hold you back rather than help you. Unresolved grief can also lead to complications such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse and health problems.
To help you heal, remember to:
· Understand your grieving process will be unique to you – there is no set way.
· Take care of yourself physically to support yourself emotionally.
· Accept that grief generates many different, and sometimes unexpected emotions.
· Acknowledge the pain.
· Stay connected - face to face support with someone you trust.
"You don't want to feel as though you're a burden."
You may not want to talk with a family member because you don't want to feel as though you're burdening those close to you, or that you couldn't possibly tell one of your friends what you're really thinking and feeling as they wouldn't understand and maybe think bad of you. If you feel like this, seeing a counsellor may be a solution for you. With the right therapist supporting you, the ache in your soul can begin to heal and you can start to experience some inner calm.
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