Coping With Grief
The process of grief
Grief is a vital part of the recovery process following the death of a loved one. It can involve a wide range of emotions including anger, sadness, guilt, depression, denial, fear, panic and loneliness. These feelings, although often bewildering, are common and natural.
The process of grief is often described as involving a number of stages, from shock to eventual recovery. These stages may or may not be experienced, or may be revisited over a period of time.
The grief experience is unique to each person and the following descriptions are purely an overview to assist you in identifying and coping with grief.
When you first learn that someone you love has died, your immediate reaction may be one of shock. You may be stunned and often disbelieving, especially if the death was sudden or unexpected. This is a natural reaction.
Letting go of your emotions and expressing your feelings helps the healing process and is a positive step. It is normal to want to cry, shout, be angry and reminisce.
In releasing your emotions you can become depressed and experience overwhelming feelings of loneliness. This is the time when you finally realise that the deceased has gone forever. You may become disinterested in what is happening around you.
Remembering the past you shared with your loved one is another natural part of the grieving process. All the good times shared with your loved one can become a constant thought. Although it may seem to hurt more, it can bring you some relief to share your memories and feelings with others.
You may begin to blame yourself or others for the death. “If only I’d been there for her” or “If only I hadn’t let him go there” are thoughts which may constantly cross your mind.
It is normal to experience anger and aggression. It is important to let this anger out and talk to someone you can trust and feel comfortable with in discussing the death.
You may experience certain physical symptoms during the course of your grieving. It is important for your health and well-being to take the time to look after yourself. Make sure you eat properly, exercise regularly, aim to get a good night’s sleep and visit your doctor for a check-up.
Signs of recovery
It will take time to work through the grieving process, but eventually you will start to feel better and ready to get on with your life again.
The length of time it takes to work through the grieving process varies from person to person. The painful feelings will diminish over time, but if they remain intense and prolonged, then it may indicate that professional help is needed.
If you would like assistance we can put you in touch with professional counsellors and support groups who may be able to help you. They are there to help you with any problems and to show you how to effectively manage your grief – you are not alone.
Helping to cope with grief
The grieving process will be a difficult time for you, but by following a few practical steps you may be able to re-adjust to life more quickly.
- Keep in contact with family and friends
- Plan your social events ahead of time so you have something to look forward to
- For a change of scenery go and stay with friends or family who live some distance from you
- Go on a relaxing holiday
- Join a social club or organisation to meet new people
- Join a volunteer organisation to help others
- Keep a diary to help you to follow and understand your path through the grieving process
- Express your emotions openly. If it will help, talk to a friend, relative or counsellor about your feelings
- Delay making major changes, such as selling a house
- Join a bereavement support group