Understanding Grief and Loss

By | October 16, 2023

Suffering a traumatic event in your life can have a serious effect on your mental health, and losing someone you love is an unfortunate but inevitable part of life.  Whether it’s a parent, partner, child, relative, friend or beloved pet it can leave you feeling emotionally devastated.

Grief is the main emotion people feel when they have suffered a loss, and this doesn’t only refer to suffering a bereavement, it can also include the loss of a job, the end of a relationship or having to leave the place we lived or called home.

Bereavement and loss affects people in different ways and it’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to express or deal with your grief.  It can cause different emotions and reactions in different people and these can change from one day to the next.

Common symptoms of loss and grief can include feeling of:

·      Anger and irritability

·      Panic or fear

·      Sadness and frequent crying

·      Numbness and withdrawal

·      Loneliness and isolation

·      Feelings of guilt

·      Anxiety and depression

Types of Grief and Loss

There are other events in our lives other than bereavement that can cause people to have feelings of grief or loss, these can include things like:

·      An important relationship ending or being separated or divorced

·      Being diagnosed with a terminal illness

·      Moving home and leaving family and friends

·      Children leaving the family home

·      Changes to your employment like redundancy, retirement or relocation

·      The loss of your health due to an accident, illness or disability

·      Having a child or family member develop mental health or substance abuse problems

When people talk about bereavement they often refer to the five stages of working through their loss these are:

·      Denial

·      Anger

·      Bargaining

·      Depression

·      Acceptance

Denial is the stage where we have initial feelings of shock and disbelief, often leaving us feeling numb as though it hasn’t really happened.  Then we move to anger where we can suffer from feelings of resentment, bitterness and hostility, blaming ourselves or even the person we have lost. Then comes bargaining, this is when we feel vulnerable and start questioning if we might have been able to change what happened.  Next we start to feel isolated and sad, as though there’s no longer any meaning to life and this is when we start to feel depressed.  Finally we reach acceptance, when the pain starts to ease, and whilst we still might think that life will never be the same, we can accept our loss and realise that we need to move on with our lives.

Professional Help

If you are struggling to work through your loss and it is beginning to affect your daily life in a negative way, then you should consider seeing your doctor.  They can help you with things like antianxiety medication or antidepressants in the short term.  If you feel you would benefit more from talking to someone they can recommend you see a counsellor or therapist.

A mental health professional will be able to help you navigate your loss and deal with any feeling of anxiety or depression, with talking therapies such as counselling and psychotherapy.  Written by Jan, Jeana and Wendy at Barnsley Hypnosis and Counselling (UK). For more free Information click above link.