Grief and Loss
What is grief?
Grief is defined as emotional suffering in response to loss. The pain of loss can be overwhelming; it can cause a host of negative, difficult emotions, from shock to disbelief, anger, guilt, fear, and sadness. After a loss, it can be difficult to accept what happened—you might not want to believe it, or you can be in denial. Your grieving process can extend beyond crying, causing you to feel immense despair or regret. You might feel guilty about not preventing the situation. Additionally, you could feel angry with yourself, the doctors, God, or even the person who died and abandoned you.
How can I cope with grief?
Attempting to cope with the loss of a loved one is one of life’s most difficult challenges. Grieving is a very personal event that affects each individual in different ways. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief can be. Grief can trigger many strong emotions, such as sadness, anger, guilt, fear, worry, uncertainty, and anxiety. Alternatively, losing someone we love might make us feel empty and numb. We might feel like life has simply stopped, causing us to withdraw from our family and friends. Ultimately, we might believe that after this loss, we will never be okay again.
The grieving process takes time, and healing happens gradually. Healing from loss can feel like a rollercoaster full of highs and lows. The beginning is the most difficult, full of the most intense, deep, and seemingly insurmountable pain.
While grieving, it is crucial to give yourself time. Emphasize to yourself that there is no “right” timetable or “wrong” way to grieve. People have their own unique way of grieving, and the process can take a long period of time.
After loss, it can be difficult to return to your old life. You can feel adrift, or as though you have lost your purpose. Sometimes, you might not want to move on with your life, instead feeling guilty about moving forward and leaving your pain behind. Other times, you might think that you have already moved on and adjusted, yet the pain returns. Even years after a loss, some special events—such as anniversaries, holidays, or family gatherings—can reawaken memories and lead a strong sense of grief.
Loss can heavily impact an individual’s mental health, often leading to trauma, anxiety, and/or depression. The grieving process can also disrupt your physical health, cause sleeping problems, fatigue, weight loss, or weight gain, as well as aches and pains.
Modern life doesn’t provide us enough time to process our grief. After a short time, we might be forced to return to work or school; we have obligations to make money, pay bills, raise our children, etc. Unresolved grief can lead to complications such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and overall health problems. During the grieving process, it is important to receive support. However, many people who have not experienced a similar loss can have a difficult time understanding your pain and comforting someone who is grieving.
I have both professional and personal experience with loss. I know that it can be very challenging and overwhelming to cope with grief by yourself. In order to heal, you have to acknowledge the pain, and I can help you accomplish exactly that. I work with the Acceptance and Commitment therapy approach. Together, we can work to develop the appropriate tools to cope with the pain and continue healing.
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