Grief and Loss – how to grieve healthily when you have lost someone or something you loved. Often people relate grief and loss to when someone has passed away. However, grief and loss also happens when your relationship/marriage ends in separation/divorce, with the death of a pet, losing your job, losing your support network for those who migrate to a new country, and many other situations. In fact, sometimes grieving a relationship/marriage break-up can be more challenging than losing someone who has passed away, because you still have to deal with your ex-partner, especially when there are children involved. When losing someone who has passed away, you have a tangible end of his or her life.
What normally people do when they grieve
Grieving is not an easy or a pleasant process to anyone or to any age. Therefore, many prefer to avoid it and move on with the hope that their grief will go away. Some even believe that talking about their losses will worsen their situation, feeling that everything will fall apart or having the fear of being seen as weak. The fact is, the more you suppress it, the more it will impact on your well-being in different ways, e.g. fatigue, having anxiety or depression, getting frustrated easily and struggling in managing their anger, relationship difficulties, addiction issues, etc.
On the other hand, others may dwell in their grief far too much and victimize themselves. They get stuck with their grief and therefore cannot move on with their life. This group of people often carry a lot of guilt and regret and feel bad or scared of other people’s judgement as not grieving enough if they do move on with their life.
The grieving symptoms involve:
- Physically – crying, headaches, unable to sleep, loss of appetite, body aches forgetfulness, unable to concentrate, not enjoying anything, fatigue, everything seems hard to do, etc.
- Emotionally – shock, numb, sad, confused, angry, guilty, regretful, lonely, anxious, depressed, becoming more sensitive, easily reactive, hopeless, helpless, despair, etc.
- Psychologically – anxious, depressed, hysterical, suicidal, etc.
- Relationally – difficulties in relationships with family, friends and at work.
- Spiritually – losing their spirituality or become more spiritual.
How to grieve healthily
1. Living through your grief – re-telling the story of your grief in detail will help you to desensitise the “trauma” of your grief.
2. Talk honestly to someone you trust or to a counsellor about your guilt and regrets, the things that you did or didn’t do/say, will help you to recover from your grief better. Many are unable to move on because their guilt and regrets have never been addressed.
3. Talk to someone who has big ears to listen to your story non-judgementally, and who will not try to fix your issues.
4. Get a support network, as this will help you not feel like you are burdening others as they take turns to be with you during difficult times.
5. Take care of yourself – eat well, sleep in the regular time, get fresh air each day, do things that you like, etc.
6. Seeking professional assistance/counselling can help you grieve healthily because you will get an objective view from a third neutral party.
Some grief can be complex , where seeking professional help to finish your unfinished past businesses is needed.
Remember, each person grieves differently and in different lengths of time as well.