Grief. One small word which carries monumental meaning. Grief could be defined as experiencing loss and a sense of desolation. The truth is, however, there are many different ways to describe grief.
On a personal level, there is no one way to experience grief. At one time, it was thought you needed to be dealing with another mental health condition or that you were required to undergo a complicated recovery process to process your loss. We recognize now that the grieving process is unpredictable.
A loss can result from many life events:
- Death of a loved one (family member; friend; pet)
- Termination of a relationship (marital; friendship; business)
- Loss of employment
- Pregnancy loss
- Change in health condition
- Illness of a loved one
Your emotional responses to your loss may feel erratic, as though you are running the gauntlet from surprise, fury, denial, culpability, and sorrow. Not only will you feel an emotional toll but a physical one as well, and you may notice sleep problems, appetite changes, and concentration difficulties. These feelings are all part of the process. It may feel like a lonely place for you, but you are not alone.
There is no one way to grieve. That process is personal and to you and your whole person: Your natural response to stressors is yours alone, and indeed, the grieving process will take its time. The time required is on your timeline, not anyone else’s. You may feel different in a few months, or it may take much longer. Remember to be kind to yourself as you go through the grief process.
Walking Down the Delicate Path
- Your grieving path is yours and yours only.
- Accept and recognize your grief.
- Embrace that grief can cause a roller coaster of feelings and reactions.
- Connect with those around you for support.
- Your physical wellness matters and connects to your emotional wellness.
- Learn to distinguish between your grief and symptoms of depression.
Asking for Help
It can feel awkward to ask for help. It may be tempting to hide away and detach yourself from others. Having someone be there for you may feel difficult but is crucial to your journey toward healing. It is not an easy task, we understand. Telling your story to your close friends and family may lessen the emotional weight that your grief is having on you. Tell your family and friends how they can help you. Whether or not they’ve had a similar experience occur, they may not necessarily know what would help you as reaction and grief process may have been different. Share your grief story as you feel comfortable and take it at the pace that works for you.
Speak with your family doctor and consider psychotherapy. Your grief may have you feeling like you’re in a secluded place, filling you with feelings of despair. Through counselling, you and your counsellor can work together to assist in dealing with your responses and surmounting difficulties that may arise as you walk down this delicate path.