Have you just lost someone dear to you? We feel so sorry for your loss. As a matter of fact, that’s the reason why we thought it wise to write this article, hoping it will help you understand that what you’re experiencing right now is part of life. We have all found ourselves grieving after losing a loved one.
Something that you might not know is the fact that we all deal with grief in different ways. You’ve most definitely heard about the typical ‘stages’ of grief but what they don’t tell you is, not everyone go through all those stages. Some don’t, and even those who do, they sometimes go through something much different.
The way an individual grieves will depend on two things – the circumstance of the loss, and past experiences of loss. We’re talking about a long illness, sudden death, or even the death of a young person. One other thing worth noting is that fact that there has never been a time limit on grief. Therefore, you see some people get back on their saddles fairly quicker than others. Also, there are people who’ll ask for space while they grieve, while other will seek a support system of some kind, like family.
To better understand what we’re talking about, we decided to draft a range of experiences that can be observed while dealing with an uncomplicated grief:
· A sense of numbness, or a feeling of being disconnected from the world
· Mood swings and tearfulness
· Abrupt wave of anger or sadness that can overwhelm the individual and be triggered by reminders
· Being in denial. Not being able to tell what’s real and what’s not. Constantly telling oneself that whatever happened, didn’t really happen
· Guild over lack of interaction E.g. Should I have spent more time with him or her?
· Symptoms of anxiety and depression, such as a low mood, lack of sleep, lowered appetite
· Constantly worrying that they haven’t grieved enough
· Trying to seek reminds. For example, going to the loved one’s home
· Guilt of trying to get back to their normal life
Coping with Uncomplicated Grief
People who experience uncomplicated grief described above will eventually go back to their normal life after adjusting to the loss but the sadness won’t ever go away. They’ll always carry it with them, wherever they go.
The good news is, they won’t really require special care or medication to manage it. All you have to do is offer some form of support system throughout the process. And if you’re the one going through it, reach out for health and ensure you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Go to the gym and attend groups of people who are going through a similar thing.
This term is just a term used by mental health practitioners to describe those who still find it hard to adjust accordingly to a particular loss. It’s quite difficult to define considering there’s no particular standard which describes what normal or healthy grief is.
So instead, we are going to look at some of the signs that you ought to look out for, if you suspect the person is not coping that well with grief, and may be a danger to themselves should the process take longer to resolve:
· Avoiding the process entirely or pushing away any painful feeling
· Always avoiding discussions about the person who just passed on or any reminder associated with them
· Refusal to attend the funeral
· Not getting involved with any task associated with the funeral or using distracting tasks to avoid the grieving process
· Drug and alcohol abuse
· Increased illness or physical complaints
· Isolation and intense mood swings that can go on for months
· Neglecting self-care
Again, we will remind you there’s no rule book that talks about someone should grieve. So some of the items mentioned above can also be observed in an individual who’s going through uncomplicated grief. However, if these symptoms can still be observed years after the loss, you should take the precautionary steps.
Coping with Complicated Grief
We actually do have various psychological therapy techniques that can help an individual going through such to explore what they are feeling and connect to that pain. And in case you are wondering what’s the purpose of all that and if it’s necessary, the ultimate goal is often to pave way for some sort of resolution.
Should these techniques not work, the mental health practitioner will refer the patient to a professional who can subscribe some medication. Technological advancements in the medical field have allowed us develop cures for such cases. The medication, coupled with various psychotherapy techniques, will alleviate depression associated with grief.
Even though you are always encourages to seek help early, you can still be assisted if so many years have already passed.
Raquel Soteldo RP(Q), MA, ABA, PMP, CCC