Loss is considered a natural part of life. However, when it happens it can come as a shock. Whether you lost a child, sibling, spouse/partner, parent, or a pet, grief can be overwhelming. Avoiding feelings such as sadness, anger, and loss may prolong the grieving process. If grief is not dealt with, symptoms such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or health problems may surface. Some people not only experience grief, but also emotional trauma as a result of their loss with similar symptoms to posttraumatic stress.
There is no right or wrong way of grieving. Some people are outwardly expressive with grief and some are not. Most people cycle through stages of grief such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance in no particular order. Grief is cyclical and you may feel like taking a step forward and two steps back, which is normal. Most people are resilient and recover on their own and in their own time. For some it may take months, for some up to a year or longer. Typically, the first year following the loss is the most difficult.
However, some people may feel as if they are stuck in grief. They may experience prolonged or complicated grief. In fact, the most recent loss may uncover or trigger many other former loses and the person my feel overwhelmed. Symptoms and signs of complicated grief may include intense sorrow or emotional pain at the thought of your loved one, preoccupation with the deceased, feeling alone or detached from others since the death, bitterness or anger related to the loss, extreme focus on reminders of the loved one or excessive avoidance of reminders, and difficulty or reluctance to pursue interests since the loss or plan for the future.
If you feel stuck, overwhelmed, or need help with any other aspects of grief & loss, feel free to contact me. Therapies such as Accelerated Resolution Therapy, EMDR, Mindfulness, Art Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be very helpful with the grieving process.
Things you can do:
- Take one day at a time
- Spend time with your family and friends
- Join a grief support group
- Take care of yourself via regular exercise, eating well, and sleep
- Integrate your loss via planting a tree or a garden in memory of your lost loved one
- Allow time for grieving
- Yoga and acupuncture