Dealing with grief and loss can be quite scary. It can feel as if we have lost a part of ourselves that we cannot regain. Sometimes we may act in ways that are ‘out of character’ because we simply don’t understand how to deal with our feelings and emotions. Loss can come in many forms; by death, or by separation or sometimes by choice. What is important in each of these situations is to recognise that feelings of sadness and sorrow are completely normal. There are many feelings that are often expressed following loss and these can include; anger, anxiety, regret, relief, isolation, irritation and numbness.
Grieving deeply over a loss indicates a genuine sense of care from us. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief is likely to be . Everyone responds to loss in different ways, and feelings of loss can last anywhere for weeks and months, sometimes years. By first acknowledging our feelings, we can work to build habits that help us to embrace our loss and welcome it as a part of us that drive us towards growth.
Overcoming Grief and Loss:
Time is the most important factor in overcoming grief, or at least minimising its impact on our lives. We must be patient with the process of overcoming grief and take time to acknowledge and work through our feelings. Whilst we all have different ways of grieving and experience different feelings following loss it is important to seek support from friends and family and to talk about our feelings when we need to. In instances of death, we teach individuals to be empowered by their loss. To welcome their lost love ones ‘into the light of their face’ and to live in honour of them.
Helping Ourselves Cope with Grief and Loss:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Share your feelings with friends and family
- Take care of your physical health – eat healthy, exercise and sleep
- Do things you enjoy, even if you don’t feel like doing them
- Manage stress – ask friends and family to support your workload and help with some chores and commitments
Self Help Techniques (BeyondBlue, 2018)
Helping Others Cope with Grief and Loss:
Often people don’t know what they can say or for others coping with loss and the process of grief. The most important key is to be present. To show love and support by offering our time and a listening ear.
- Ask them how they are feeling each day – feelings can change from day to day and it is important that someone is there to listen.
- Ask how you can help out. Can you cook some meals for them or do some chores for them to lighten their load and reduce their stress
- Have conversations based on everyday life as well – their grief and loss does not have to be the focus of every conversation.
- Encourage them to seek professional help if their grief does not seem to be easing over time.
Depression or Grief?
Depression and grief can exhibit similar symptoms, such as intense sadness, insomnia, poor physical health and a sense of lacking control. Often these feelings last longer and are more persistent for those with depression, so it is important to monitor your path of grieving to identify if these feelings are improving over time.
If you notice that your symptoms continue and they are beginning effect your participation and enjoyment in life you should view the symptoms of depression and check if any strategies exist to help you overcome your feelings.
 BeyondBlue, 2018 “Grief and Loss”. https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/grief-and-loss, BeyondBlue