What is grief
Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when someone or something you love is taken away. The more significant the loss the more intense the grief will be. You may associate grief with the death of a loved one, which is often the most intense type of grief, but any loss can cause grief including:Divorce or breakup relationship
Loss of health
Death of a pet
Losing a job
A loved one’s serious illness
Loss of a home
Loss of financial stability
Loss of a friendship
Coping with Grief and Loss
Grief is a very individual thing; there is no right or wrong way to feel and no specified amount of time to grieve. Some individuals appear to cope well at first and feel worse later, whilst others may struggle from the start and find it very difficult to move on, particularity if the loss is due to a death, as to do so would be betraying the person who has died.
In the initial stages you may want to shut down from the world. A range of emotions may accompany grief, including feelings of numbness, sadness, denial, guilt, regret, and despair. You might be feeling angry and cheated. For some there may be feelings of relief. Again these feelings are normal and part of the grieving process.
There might be enormous ups and downs, somewhat like being on a roller-coaster, and you might be plunged into the depths of despair at any given moment. Like many roller-coasters, the ride tends to be rougher in the beginning and the lows deeper and longer. As time goes by the difficulties may become less intense and shorter but even so it takes time to work through the loss.
Friends and family who have supported you through the first difficult months might start to drift away and get on with their own lives, thinking that the worst should surely now be over. Your grief may well begin to settle, a little like a stone in the bottom of your stomach. Then just as you feel that you are beginning to heal, along comes the first anniversary, first birthday, first Christmas - from where you may once again experience the strong emotions associated with grief.
It’s important to hang on to the notion that there is life after a loss. After the first few months in survival mode you may begin to feel like living again. For some it takes a year or less. For others it can take some years before they feel any sense of happiness. Grieving is a long slow process. But slowly, imperceptibly, each day may start to get a little bit easier. Some days you might even wake up and begin to feel happy again. Eventually, you might find yourself starting to look forward rather than dwelling on your loss.
We have some ideas and suggestions to help you cope through the next few weeks, months and beyond.
Talk it out.
Many bereaved individuals, particularly men, don’t like to talk to others about their feelings as they fear that this is a sign of weakness and also worry about how others will react. You may also find it difficult to talk with family and friends for fear of upsetting them. However, avoiding the feelings you are experiencing may prolong the grieving process. Acknowledging the pain you are experiencing can often help in the healing process. Unresolved grief can sometimes lead to complications such as depression, anxiety and health problems. Talking about how you feel can be beneficial and many people seek the support of a trained counsellor to help them express the range of emotions they are feeling. Staying healthy and well.
Connect with others.
Often it feels easier to withdraw from social situations which is understandable due to the difficult array of emotions that you may be experiencing. However it is advisable to maintain a connection with your regular friends and activities. This may be hard at first but it is a reminder that life goes on.
Grief can often feel all-consuming and it may feel too much of an effort to make a meal or take some exercise. However, the importance of eating well, combined with some exercise and sleep, cannot be over empathised. The mind and body are connected and if you feel well physically this will help you feel better emotionally.And finally…Remember!
Your grief is unique to you. Don’t let anyone else tell you that “you should be over it” or its “time to move on”. Let yourself express how you feel without embarrassment or judgement. It’s ok to feel angry, to feel sad, to cry. Its equally ok to laugh, to experience moments of joy, and look to the future.
The Samaritans - 24hour support for anyone in distress, including those who are feeling suicidal.
What's your grief - Grief Support for anyone dealing with a bereavement.