Dealing with grief is one of the hardest things people may face in this lifetime. At one time or another, we will all face this difficult emotion. Whether grief is due to the loss of a marriage, loss of a loved one, a good friendship, or something else that is near and dear to you, the main cause for grief is loss.
Grief is a difficult emotion to overcome. As much as you feel you may never overcome it, you will feel better with time. It is true, "this too shall pass". As much as you feel these words are not true for you, please be encouraged! As I write this, you must know that there is hope and healing for all those that are grieving.
When dealing with grief there are common symptoms that effect the mind and body. Many of them are similar to the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
Grief and loss can be the main trigger for your anxiety, panic, phobias and even deep depression.
Common Symptoms of Grief
- confusion and fuzzy thinking
- loss of interest in things that you once loved
- change in appetite, rapid weight loss
- feelings of depersonalization
- emotional instability/rapid change in mood
- obsessive thinking
- fear of being alone
- anxiety and panic attacks
- avoidance behavior
- severe pessimism/negative thinking
Normal Stages of Grief
1. Denial -keeps you from accepting loss as a reality. The mind has a hard time accepting the idea of losing something valuable to you. Many people run from reality and they do it through denial.
2. Anger - is what happens when the reality of loss surfaces. It is important to deal with your anger properly. Anger can not only hurt you, but others around you. There are effective ways for controlling anger that are effective and healing.
3. Depression - a normal part of grieving and bereavement. The time it takes to overcome this emotion depends on the individual. However, if you are severely depressed to the point of not being able to function in your daily life, it is extremely important to talk to your doctor. It is possible that your brain chemicals have become dangerously low. Depression is not a sign of weakness, so do not be ashamed about how you are feeling.
Tips for Coping with Grief
1. Practice Acceptance! Acceptance is 100% necessary for healing. To accept loss is difficult but until you do, you are prolonging the healing process. You can learn acceptance by admitting to yourself and others of your loss.
2. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you need to feel. Whether these are feelings of anger or emotional pain, give yourself permission to grieve. Many people falsely think that they need to hold it together. They deny themselves normal emotions that come with the natural process of grieving. By doing this, they end up carrying unresolved emotions throughout their life. These unresolved emotions can resurface at different times but they are never fully resolved. Instead, the one suffering carries their anger and pain with them and it effects how they live their life and how they even relate to other people. You owe it to yourself and the ones you love to deal with your painful emotions. You cannot heal from grief until you do so. Many people are afraid they won't be able to handle the feelings that may come. They are afraid of feeling this pain. They believe the idea that somehow they will lose control and they even worry that they may never recover if they should let go.
3. Talk to others that are also grieving. Getting involved in a support group for people who are suffering grief and bereavement will help you see that you are not alone in your suffering. This will also give you the opportunity to reach out and encourage others and also be encouraged yourself. You can usually find a group through your local hospital.
Recovery Inc. is a non-profit recovery program that teaches cognitive-behavioral therapy for those having a hard time dealing with the difficult emotions that life can bring. They can help you deal with many of the emotional issues that result from loss, such as depression, anger, and anxiety.
4. Try journaling or blogging! Writing your thoughts down on paper or through your own online blog is an effective way to deal with the thoughts that are all mixed up in your head. By journaling and blogging, you are clearing your mind of clutter and you will find eventually that your thoughts will become more organized. It will help you deal with your negative thoughts more effectively. Blogging is also effective in helping others see they are not alone. No matter how much you are suffering, you have the power to help others!
5. Don't be afraid to seek help! Some people have a very hard time dealing with the emotions associated with grief. Although depression medication is not necessary to find healing, some use medication to help them find temporary relief while they are working their way towards recovery and healing.
**It is important to note that you should never be on medication without being in some form of therapy. Medication is not the answer to your problems. Medication is an aid that is available to help you reach recovery should you want it. It is designed to work in conjunction with therapy. If you do not deal with your emotions, they will always resurface in life. The last thing you want is to be on medication for the rest of your life and struggling with emotional pain. If you want to use medication, find an experienced therapist that can help you.
For those that don't want to use medication but would like to use a more natural approach, there are natural supplements that can help as well. No matter what you choose to do, always discuss these situations with your doctor.
6. Give yourself time to adjust to loss. Be patient with yourself and your situation. Change is never easy. Let "One Day at a Time" be your new motto. Allow the attitude of acceptance to take root in your life.
7. Practice stress management. Stress management tips will help you keep a positive mind and a healthy body.