Although loss is a part of the bereavement process it covers much more than the death of a loved one.
Loss is when you are mourning the loss of something, your life has changed and is no longer what you once knew.
Loss and grief are deeply personal. Everyone responds differently. There are various theories on grief but these are just guidelines. You cannot put a timescale on grief or plan out the sequence in which you pass through the stages. Grieving is a natural process and part of life.
You may experience loss through a variety of various life events.
- The loss of a job due to redundancy, retirement or dismissal. This can result in a loss of financial security, unable to pay bills/rent/buy food/memberships etc. Loss of routine. Loss of independence. Loss of identity as jobs can mean a lot to people. Loss of friends, colleagues and customers leading to the loss of social interaction.
- Relocation. Moving to a different area. Depending how far away there may be a loss of friends and family. Social losses, you may no longer be familiar with the local shops, bars, restaurants etc. Workmates if you are having to leave your job. Loss of your home; sentimental attachments and fond memories.
- Relationship breakdown. This may be a partner but can also be a family member or a close friend. Although it may be for the best if the relationship was toxic, you may mourn the good times, the fun times, and the support this person gave you previously. There may also be the loss of further people; friends or family of the other person.
- Loss of a pet. Although this is a bereavement, you may be minimising this loss. Non pet owners may say “it was only a _____”. This loss may have come about as a result of having to get the pet re-homed for various reasons in your life; illness, moving home or finances. As much as this was a decision you had to make, it does not make it any less painful. You may have had to make the tough decision to get your pet euthanised due to their ill health. Pets very quickly become a huge part of your life as you commit to new routines such as walking, feeding, and grooming. There are benefits of walking a dog; meeting people, getting exercise, if you’ve had a busy/stressful day getting out to clear your head. There is the loss of the unconditional love, when your furry friend is there to greet you after you have been out. Pets are well known for providing comfort; pet therapy can be traced as far back to the ancient Greeks and medieval Belgium.
- Loss of health. A life changing injury or illness can have serious implications ranging from mental to physical. The loss of mobility or limbs. Having to adapt to a new way of living, mourning for your old fit and healthy self before the injury/accident/disease.
- Graduating from school/college. There may be a loss of friends and classmates. A loss of security, what you once knew and were familiar with will no longer be. A loss of routine and structure.
- Being the victim of an emotional or physical attack. Gaslighting, stalking, mugging, physical/sexual violence can rob you of your feelings of personal safety and confidence. Your interpretation of your safe world is shattered and the world is now a dangerous place. You may fear going out therefore losing your personal freedom not to mention the mental impact this may have on you too.
- Imprisonment. The loss of freedom, personal choice, time, family, even personal safety. On release there may then be a struggle to reintegrate back into society, adjusting to having to make choices/decisions again.
These are just a few examples of experiences of loss. Something which changes your life in a negative way. You may not have had any choice in the matter or you may have been forced into making the difficult decision.
You may experience a few losses at the same time and not realise, acknowledge or accept the impact of these on yourself.
Realising these changes have happened and allowing yourself to grieve for these losses is helpful. It allows you to process and accept that your life has changed.
Counselling can help you explore these losses in a safe, confidential, non-judgemental space. It can help you to process and understand your losses giving you a better insight into yourself. If you would like more information on how counselling may help you please get in touch by calling/texting or send me an email.