“There is no rule book. No time frame. No judgement.
Grief is as individual as a fingerprint”.
Much has been said when it comes to understanding grief, thousands of books exist on the subject, but until you breathe it and feel every facet of it, no one has any idea how and if they will cope, until they experience it for themselves. Grief is a natural response to loss. Even subtle losses in life can trigger a sense of grief. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. Grieving is a uniquely individual experience; there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. The pain felt when grieving can often feel overwhelming and may lead to all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions and physical symptoms;
|Emotional Symptoms of grief||Physical symptoms of grief|
|· Shock and disbelief
· Lowered immunity
· Weight loss or weight gain
· Aches and pains
These are all normal reactions to loss, the more significant the loss, the more intense these symptoms will be. Experiencing the loss of someone or something you love is one of life’s biggest challenges but any loss can cause grief, including; divorce or relationship breakup, loss of health, a job, financial stability, miscarriage, retirement, death of a pet, a loved one’s serious illness or loss of a friendship.
How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality, coping style, your life experience and how significant the loss was to you. Inevitably, the grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried and there is no set timetable for grieving. The most important thing is to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.
Healthy ways to deal with the grieving process;
- Acknowledge your pain.
- Accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions.
- Understand that your grieving process will be unique to you.
- Seek out face-to-face support from people who care about you.
- Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically.
- Recognize the difference between grief and depression.
The stages of grief: In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced the “five stages of grief.”
|Denial:||“This can’t be happening to me.”|
|Anger:||“Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”|
|Bargaining:||“Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”|
|Depression:||“I’m too sad to do anything.”|
|Acceptance:||“I’m at peace with what happened.”|
If you are experiencing any of these emotions following a loss, it may help to know that your reaction is natural and that you will heal in time. However, not everyone who grieves goes through all of these stages and you do not have to go through each stage in order to heal, some people resolve their grief without going through any of these stages. If you do go through these stages of grief, you probably won’t experience them in a neat, sequential order, so don’t worry about what you “should” be feeling or which stage you’re supposed to be in. Kübler-Ross herself never intended for these stages to be a rigid framework that applies to everyone who mourns instead she said; “there is not a typical response to loss, as there is no typical loss. Our grieving is as individual as our lives.”
Grief can be a roller coaster
Instead of a series of stages, we might also think of the grieving process as a roller coaster, full of ups and downs, highs and lows. Like many roller coasters, the ride tends to be rougher in the beginning, the lows may be deeper and longer. The difficult periods should become less intense and shorter as time goes by, but it takes time to work through a loss.
Source: Hospice Foundation of America
Coping with grief: There is a new kind of normality to life when grief becomes a part of it. Recovery takes time. People say you never recover from the death of a loved one, especially if the death occurred in tragic circumstances. This is true, to an extent, the loss just becomes a part of life that you carry on with. There are days when that loss feels too heavy to carry on. Those days will come and they will go and like the roller-coaster, you just have to ride them out. The important thing is to listen to your body and give it what it needs, day by day. The hardest part of grief is when the sadness manifests itself and life’s hustle and bustle continues on. Sometimes we just need to keep going, we have to. We have to wade through grief, a little bit at a time and hope one day inner peace will find us, bringing with it memories of happier times, it’s the journey there that’s the daily battle. You just have to find your own unique ways to cope. Having face-to-face support of other people is vital to healing from loss. The key is not to isolate yourself, turn to friends and family for support.
“Guide to surviving grief – Cry whenever you need to. Scream. Shout. Lay on the floor. Sob in the shower. Be still. Run. Walk. Create. Live your truth. Share without fear. Listen. Release your pain. Breathe. Be coruagoues. Throw away the map. Wander. Be real. Be compassionate. Read. Seek friendship. Be vulnerable. Don’t fear broken”.
– Zoe Clark-Coates.
|If you are struggling with the loss of something or someone important to you over the next few weeks or feel like you are stuck in a rut that you just cannot get out of, it is worth speaking to someone about how you are feeling. Reach out, do not suffer alone & remember…
“It’s Okay not to be Okay & It’s absolutely Okay to ask for help!”
The article is written by Leanne, Newly Qualified and Pre-accredited Counsellor at The DMC Clinic. If you would like to discuss how any of the topics mentioned above are impacting your mental health, please contact The DMC Clinic to arrange an appointment.