Dealing with Grief and Loss

Losing someone or something that matters deeply to us can bring on an unparalleled level of pain. Whether it was an expected or an unexpected loss, our gut reaction can still be overwhelming. For some of us, the emotional impact comes in waves. For others, it can feel like an ever-present shadow we fear will never lift. Grief sweeps over us all differently, and can be brought on by different types of loss, such as:

  • Death of a Loved One (including pets)
  • Losing a Job
  • Suffering a Miscarriage
  • Severing a Friendship, Romantic Relationship, or even Ties with a Family Member
  • Retirement
  • Loss of a Dream
  • Loss of Safety
  • Loss of a Community
  • Loss of Something Priceless, Such as a Family Home

For some, grief may be a quiet process, while others may be more open. Our emotions can range from mild to overwhelming, and can span a broad spectrum, including anger, sadness, yearning, guilt, regret, and relief.

If you feel you need help coping with grief, talk to us about setting up an initial meeting.

Everyone grieves differently. However, there are some misconceptions about dealing with grief that—when believed and accepted—can do us more harm than good. One of those misconceptions is the belief that pain will go away faster if you simply push it down or ignore it.

While it may seem like it works at first, the truth is that this only compounds those emotions, tucking them away for later. The only way to truly get over the grieving process is to work through it.

Another myth is the idea that being “strong” in the face of a loss means not allowing yourself to cry, feel upset, or show vulnerability. This is neither strong nor healthy. It takes courage to deal with difficult emotions, such as those we experience when we lose something or someone we value.

There are multiple stages to grief, and no set timeline that it takes to get through it. What matters is that you take the time to need to process your emotions in a healthy way.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross introduced the perspective that individuals typically find themselves facing 5 different stages of grief:

  1. Denial: The inability to perceive or accept the loss that has taken place
  2. Anger: The need to know why something happened or place blame upon something or someone whom you can direct your anger toward
  3. Bargaining: the attempt to make some form of compromise in order to get back what you’ve lost
  4. Depression: an overwhelming sadness that steals your motivations and desires
  5. Acceptance: the act of establishing peace with what has happened and moving forward

You may or may not experience every stage of grief when dealing with a loss. However, chances are you will deal with one or more of them. It’s important to know that it’s okay to feel this way. In fact, it’s completely human.

However, you do not have to deal with your grief alone, nor should you. Grief can be rollercoaster ride that includes shock, guilt, fear, sadness, anger, and even physical symptoms brought on by the duress of what you’re experiencing.

First, you must find a support system. A support system can be made up of family members, friends, religious leaders, supports groups, and a therapist or grief counselor. It’s important to reach out and to talk about what you’re going through.

You also must take care of yourself. This includes taking care of your physical health, allowing yourself to feel the emotions brought on by your loss, and plan for ways to cope with triggers.

If you find yourself:

  • Struggling to find reasons to live
  • Feeling numb or disconnected for weeks after your loss
  • Finding it difficult to engage in normal activities
  • Losing interest in hobbies or activities that once mattered to you
  • Wishing you had died alongside a lost loved one
  • Blaming yourself for your loss
  • Having difficulty connecting or talking to others about what you’re going through

We highly recommend connecting with a licensed mental health professional. If you feel taken aback by the idea, remember that grief counseling is both a brave and natural form of help. You are not broken, but merely seeking help through a difficult challenge. None of us were made to face life’s hardships alone