Grief and Loss is an excruciatingly painful aspect of life, yet the grief stage is important and leads to emotional healing. It can be a prolonged and intensely traumatising experience and can result in significant emotional distress.
Although grief and loss are some of the most common and strongest emotions we will ever have to bear, we are not taught how to prepare for the death of someone close to us or losing something of importance to us. Grieving is a cycle of loss which often includes denial, fear and loneliness.
Grieving does not actually follow a neat progression of steps; it is much more intricate than that. It is a very complicated and personal thing. There can be a lot of regression, or backtracking to an earlier time. There is no easy way around grief. It is a natural response to the loss of someone special or something we value.
Grief is not well understood in our society and some people try to deny it, postpone it or avoid it. There will be big and small adjustments which have to be made in your life. You will change. Your routine will change. Your moods will change. All of this is called 'grief'.
"Coping and overcoming grief is about acceptance and positively adapting to the changes in your life, your thoughts, your hopes, your beliefs and your future".
Some common reactions to grief are:
- Shock - I can’t believe it.
- Numbness - I am not feeling anything.
- Guilt - If only ...
- Frustration - Why don’t people understand me? Why did this have to happen?
- Panic - How will I cope?
- Depression - I don’t care anymore, I want to end it all.
- Fear - What if I can’t cope?
- Low Energy - I am too tired.
- Confusion - I can’t think straight.
- Rejection - How could they do this to me?
- Emptiness - I feel like something is always missing.
- Pain - Physical and mental pain can feel completely overwhelming and very frightening
- Replaying - You can't stop thinking about the events leading up to the death.
- Visions - Thinking you are hearing or seeing someone who has died is a common experience and can happen when you least expect it.
- Mood swings - One minute you are angry and the next minute you can't stop crying.
They reflect common reactions people have as they try to make sense of a loss. An important part of the healing process is experiencing and accepting the feelings that come as a result of the loss. Here are the common stages of grief that people go through:
There is no set pattern to follow when you are grieving. Even members of the one family who are mourning the loss of the same person, will show their grief in diverse ways.
This is because we are all different in:
- How we cope with stress
- How we communicate emotions
- The relationship you had with the person
- How we cope
- How the death occurred
- The support we have around us
- Personal issues which may be brought to the surface at this time
How do we help a loved one who is grieving?
- Resist giving advice
- Help in practical ways
- Do not put a time limit on grief
- Remember anniversaries, birthdays etc.
- Most importantly, listen to them
People who are grieving may never stop missing a deceased person or regretting a loss, but the pain will eventually lessen. The most important aspect for grieving people is learning to cope with the loss. You may need support with that, as it is one of if not the most trying times of our lives.
Here are some tactics that can be used to help resolve grief:
- Acknowledge and accept both positive and negative feelings.
- Allow plenty of time to experience thoughts and feelings.
- Confide in a trusted person about the loss.
- Express feelings openly or write journal entries about them.
- Find bereavement groups in which there are other people who have had similar losses.
- Remember that crying can provide a release.
- Seek professional help if feelings are overwhelming.
Grief and Loss Counselling can help the mourning process by allowing a person to move through the stages of grief in a relationship that is supportive and confidential. The Counsellor will try to help the client to accept their loss and talk about it. They will encourage them to identify and express their feelings of anger, guilt, sadness, helplessness and anxiety.
Grief and Loss Counselling will also help the person live without the deceased; it will encourage them to make decisions alone. The client may need to separate emotionally from the deceased and form new relationships. The Counsellor will also provide support and identify ways of coping with the bereavement. They will also help the person to realise that what they are experiencing is normal and a typical response to grief, that they are not "going mad".
Counselling can be the light in the dark. It gives you an opportunity to be heard. A time to talk, cry, shout, vent, share memories or just think aloud. It will help you to look at your problems in a different way or bring relief by being able to communicate with someone who is a neutral party, without being interrupted.
Counselling helps you to sort out some of your feelings and confusion as a result of the death. Having support and guidance in adapting to the changes that grief and loss have made to your life, your thoughts, your hopes, your beliefs and your future could make the greatest improvement to your life.
If you are interested in receiving Grief and Loss counselling from professional Counsellors or Psychotherapists feel free to book an online counselling or telephone counselling session today, we are here to provide you with the therapeutic support you really need.