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Therapy for Grief and Loss

Grief and Loss

What is the process of grief and loss?

 

Grief is the normal and healthy reaction to loss. It can be triggered by any major life event, such as the death of a loved one or divorce. Grief isn't something you get over. Instead, it's about learning to live with your feelings and finding ways to cope with them.

Grief is the response to loss. It often brings a wide range of emotions, physical symptoms and changes in your behavior.

What cause us to grief?

It may be triggered by many different things, such as the death of a loved one, divorce or separation from a partner, moving away from home, losing your job or having an accident that leaves you disabled. Grief can also result from not being able to have children or being unable to conceive through fertility treatments.

You may feel angry because other people go on with their lives while yours has suddenly changed forever. You may feel guilty for still having so much material wealth when others don't have food in their bellies. Or perhaps you are filled with self-pity because no one cares about what happens to someone like you anymore—a person who was once loved but now has been discarded like an old newspaper or broken toy?

How do I grief properly?
 

There's no right or wrong way to grieve

No one can tell you how to grieve. You may feel guilty for not grieving the same way as someone else or not grieving at all. But there's no right or wrong way to grieve, and everyone experiences loss in their own way.

You are allowed to feel however you need to feel, even if that means feeling nothing at all. A common misconception is that people who don't mourn the death of a loved one are somehow doing something wrong—but it's important to remember that these feelings are valid too.

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What are the symptoms?

You may experience many different and confusing emotions as you grieve. Anxiety is one of the most common symptoms of grief and loss in adults. Anxiety can be treated with medication or counseling, but it's important to remember that anxiety has its own trigger factors that are unique to each person.

 

There are some things you can do on your own to help manage your anxiety, such as exercising, eating well, creating time for yourself and engaging in spiritual practices. Other symptoms include:

  • Your sleep, appetite and energy levels are likely to be affected

  • Sleep is often disturbed. This is normal, but it can make you feel more tired and less able to concentrate.

  • Appetite may change a lot during the first weeks after a loss. You may not be hungry or you might want to eat all the time – either way it’s important to eat healthy, balanced meals.

  • Your energy levels are likely to go up and down as your body moves through different stages of grief recovery – just remember that this is normal too!

  • Physical ailments are often one of the first signs that someone is struggling with grief or loss. The physical and emotional stress can cause physical symptoms such as sleeplessness, weight change, stomach problems, or muscle aches. When people experience grief they may also experience heart palpitations, fainting spells, chest pain, dizziness, and more.

  • It is common to experience difficulty concentrating following the loss of a loved one. The mind may be preoccupied with thoughts and memories, and it may feel difficult to focus on anything else. It may also be difficult to remember things and details that were once easily recalled.

Try to find ways to keep busy and distracted from painful feelings, but don't be afraid to take time for yourself

If you're struggling with loss, it might be difficult to get through the day. If this is the case, try to find ways to keep busy and distracted from painful feelings. It's okay if some days are better than others, and while it may seem like there isn't much you can do on your own, you can still take steps towards feeling better in the future.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or having suicidal thoughts:

  • Call your local crisis hotline immediately at 1-800-273 TALK (8255) or text "HOPELINE" to 741-741. These services are free and confidential for everyone who needs help in times of crisis.

  • If a friend or family member needs help:

  • Ask them how they're doing

  • Listen nonjudgmentally when they tell their story

  • Don't tell them what they should do—ask what support would be most helpful for them right now

What are the 5 stages of grief?

 

One of the most difficult challenges a person can face is grief. Grief can happen after any major loss, including losing a loved one or a job. The grieving process follows five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Each stage will have its own challenges and emotions but it is important not to skip a stage if you want your healing process to be complete

1. Denial is the first stage, which can be observed as a refusal to accept the reality of a life-changing event. This often occurs when an individual is faced with a traumatic event or news that has caused them severe distress. Denial may also be seen as an attempt by the person in question to protect themselves from their own emotions, thoughts, and memories.

2. Many people think that anger is a bad emotion, but it can actually be helpful during the grieving process. Anger is often a sign that you are trying to protect yourself or someone else from hurt. It's normal to feel angry when you're grieving, but it's important not to let your anger control you. If you need help managing your anger, talk with someone who understands what you're going through or call 1-800-GRIEF today for more information about support groups in your area.

3. Bargaining: You may find yourself asking, What if there was a way to make this not happen? or I don't know how I'll survive without them. It's a natural reaction to want to change the situation, but the reality is that no one can. The only way out is through. This stage will last for about two weeks on average, but everyone deals with it differently.

4. Depression:  It's natural to feel sad, empty, or hopeless when you're grieving. And it's okay if those feelings come at any time. In fact, they are a natural response for many people. But when these feelings last for weeks or months or even years after your loss, you may be experiencing depression.

5. Acceptance Acceptance is the final stage of grief. It is also known as accepting reality. Acceptance is a time where you are no longer struggling with your loss, but you are finally ready to move on. This stage usually comes after a long period of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and recovery. You will finally be able to take the first steps in rebuilding your life without your loved one.

What are the treatment when dealing with grief and loss?

  • Understanding grief: Grief is a natural response to loss. Grief is the process of adjusting to a new reality, one that has been altered by the death of someone significant. It often includes feelings of sadness, denial, anger, anxiety, or guilt. You may also feel numb or guilty about your feelings.

  • Talk to a therapist: No one knows what is going on in your life better than you. Which is why the best therapist for you is one that listens, takes time to understand your needs, and provides guidance when appropriate. Therapy doesn't need to be a one-time event; it's an ongoing process that will change as your needs change.

  • Take care of yourself physically: In order to cope with the loss of someone you love, it's important to take care of your physical health. Eat well, get enough sleep, exercise and try to avoid alcohol or other substances that might slow your healing process.

  • Let your feelings out: It's not always easy to talk about our emotions, but when we do it helps us heal. If you're struggling with grief or loss, it's important to find a way to get your feelings out and work through the pain. There are a lot of things that can help: writing in a journal, talking with friends and family, trying new activities like painting or cooking. It takes time to heal, but know that there are people who understand what you're going through.

  • Pick up new hobbies after a loss: When we lose a person or thing that has been with us for a long time, the loss may leave a hole in our life. When this happens, it is natural to want to fill it up. You may find yourself looking for new things to do. This is not only normal but healthy as well. It will take time, but eventually the hole will shrink or even disappear completely.

Is it normal to need time off after losing someone close?

It's normal to need some time off after losing someone close. It can take a while for your mind and heart to recover, so it may feel like you're grieving when you're really just trying to heal. It's important not to let the grieving process discourage you from living your life fully, but it's okay if some days are better than others. And don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it!

 

Remember there are resources available to those who have lost someone they love. You deserve peace of mind in this difficult time of grief, so reach out and make sure you get what you need.

If you don't have time off or able to take time to grief try to journal, or meditate. These activities can help you work through your feelings and may give you an idea of what you need. You might find a coping mechanism that works for you. If not, it's okay. Grief is unpredictable and often confusing, but the most important thing is to take care of yourself and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

 Read our blog for more information: Why is it so hard to move on.

You may feel like you’re going crazy, but that’s normal and okay. You need to give yourself time and space to work through your grief—it will get better with time, but it won’t happen overnight. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or talk about how you feel with people who care about you.

Call or contact us today and speak with one of our compassionate care providers to discover the available online treatment options