I help people affected by loss to understand their loss and grieve in a way that suits them.
This can help them lessen their pain and accept their new reality.
Discussing your loss in therapy can help you to comprehend what you have lost, accept it and come to terms with what has happened.
Loss and Bereavement can bring up many emotions. Grieving is not a one size fits all and is very personal to each of us. We can move through a wide range of strong emotions very quickly. This can be unsettling, upsetting and exhausting. Loss of any kind is life changing and unfortunately inevitable.
Loss can be sudden or we can be given advanced notice of it.
Sudden loss can be traumatic. It is a bolt from the blue and you are not prepared. Your world as you know it has changed forever.
Advanced notice of loss is also known as anticipatory grief. You know it is coming and begin to prepare and grieve at the thought of your upcoming loss. You may even detach and distance yourself. Once it happens you are then left with the grief of the loss and may not feel prepared regardless of the advanced warning.
How we grieve and how long it takes is different for everyone. We may go through a wide range reactions;
- Emotionally – anger. Confusion. Denial. Guilt. Hopelessness. Irritable. Lonely. Lost/loss of purpose. Numb. Relief then guilt at feeling relieved. Sadness. Worry.
- Physically - difficulty breathing. Feeling like your heart is physically breaking. Headaches. Loss or increase in appetite. Nausea. Muscle tension. Tiredness.
- Psychologically – anxiety. Depression. Detachment from reality. We may try to self-sooth through food, alcohol, drugs, smoking or risk taking behaviour to stop feeling numb and feel something again.
Counselling can help you to explore your grief without fear of upsetting other family members or being silenced by comments such as “we’re all feeling it”. You can voice what you are feeling without fear of judgement. You may be angry at the deceased, this can be a normal part of grieving but others may not understand this and criticise you, again you feel silenced.
You may be expected to be the strong one and support everyone else. This may be a role you have taken on yourself or had put upon you by others.
If we don’t process our grief, it will fester within us, eventually manifesting in other ways; physically, emotionally and psychologically.
- Emotionally - detached from others. Emotional meltdowns. Verbal outbursts. Misplaced grief or misplaced anger is an over-reaction to things. This manifests as something else – goading others into arguments. Picking fault at others; family, friends, even strangers. Road rage. Wrong items at shops.
- Psychologically - Unprocessed grief remains within us until we process it. If we aren’t processing it, it can manifest into a psychological illness such as anxiety or depression.
- Physically – feeling your heart physically break. Gastrointestinal problems. Headaches. Illness due to feeling so low. Nausea. Numbness. Self-isolation. Shortness of breath.
Types of Loss
Loss and grief can be the result of many things. Below are just a few examples.
Accidental death. Betrayal. Death of a child or miscarriage, still born, sudden infant death. Death of a loved one -natural, illness, murder or suicide. Death of a pet. Declining health - us or others. Financial security. Freedom; lockdown during a pandemic or a prison sentence. Graduation from school/college/uni. Missing loved ones.
Physical ability or loss of limbs. Redundancy or job loss. Relationship breakdown with partner/family/friend. Relocation and moving home. Relocation of family or friends. Retirement; loss of purpose or routine. Safety after a trauma. Sudden death with no explanation. Taking on carer role for others; loss of life as you knew it. Terminal diagnosis for ourselves or others. Theft.
Grief is not time limited. During the first year you may be support going through the first milestones; birthdays, anniversaries and other significant dates and holidays. It can be harder going into the second year of a bereavement.
Don’t compare your own grief to others. They may look ok but are grieving in private or they may be in denial of their grief so please don’t ever compare yourself to others as this will only make you feel worse.