Understanding Bereavement and Grief
What is Grief? Everyone will be affected by grief or loss during their lifetime, whether it’s the loss of a pet, friend or someone close. It’s important to remember that grief is a normal response to bereavement, and that it can affect people in different ways, there is no right or wrong way to feel…
What is Grief?
Everyone will be affected by grief or loss during their lifetime, whether it’s the loss of a pet, friend or someone close. It’s important to remember that grief is a normal response to bereavement, and that it can affect people in different ways, there is no right or wrong way to feel or deal with your grief.
People sometimes delay their response to loss, as they aren’t able to grieve initially, this might be because they have to look after other people or have work commitments, delayed grief is often more intense when it does finally surface. Bereavement can be especially difficult for children who struggle to process their feelings and work through their emotions.
Whilst bereavement is most commonly associated with feelings of loss and grief, people can also feel this way when they are faced with losing a job, home or the end of a relationship. There are five stages to bereavement:
· Denial – initial feelings of shock and disbelief or feeling numb, sometimes carrying on as though nothing has happened
· Anger – including feelings of bitterness, hostility and resentment. People often blame themselves or can blame the person who has died
· Bargaining – Feeling guilty or vulnerable and questioning if you could have changed what happened
· Depression – Feeling isolated, sad or forlorn, like life no longer has meaning
· Acceptance – Thinking that whilst nothing will ever be the same, the pain eases and you finally accept your loss and realise that you need to move on with your life
· Being overwhelmed by feelings of sadness and crying frequently or for long periods
· Feeling tired and exhausted and having no interest in anything
· Not washing or eating and generally neglecting yourself
· Feelings of confusion, loneliness or anxiety which can lead to depression
· Withdrawing from social contact
· Sleep disturbances, nightmares or insomnia
· Changes in eating habits, either losing your appetite or comfort eating
· Nausea, palpitations or feelings of panic which are all physical symptoms of anxiety
These feelings can vary in intensity or frequency, you might not feel all of them, all the time and then they might suddenly resurface and overwhelm you.
If you are struggling with your feelings try talking to your friends and family initially, if you still feel like you need more help or support there are plenty of options available. You can check online for support groups and organisations that specialise in grief, loss and bereavement, there are also peer groups where people share their experiences to help others.
You should consult your doctor if you feel that you might have anxiety or depression and they can prescribe antianxiety or antidepressant medication if appropriate. They can also refer you for psychological therapies that can help you work through your loss and grief. These can include therapies such as counselling, psychotherapy, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and clinical hypnosis all of which have proved successful in helping people struggling with bereavement or loss. Written by Jan, Jeana and Wendy at Barnsley Hypnosis and Counselling (UK). For more free Information click above link.