By Connie Brase, MA
Many of us have the idea that the only time we grieve is when a loved one, an integral part of our lives, passes away. Grief is a normal response of sorrow,
emotion, and confusion from loss; it is a natural part of life.
However, ANY loss of something important to our lives can throw us into that complicated emotion.
Traumatic events include the loss of a close pet; loss of a job; loss of good health due to an illness. Even moving can be traumatic; we may be excited about going to
a new place, but we may grieve the loss of the old home and the memories within. Divorce is another traumatic event for the entire family, including the children. Many times it isn't the loss of a specific person, but the loss of the family relationship that needs to be grieved.
So what can you expect at this time of your life?
Your loss can be painful and overwhelming, with the immediate feelings of
emptiness and numbness. You may notice physical changes such as trembling, nausea, muscle weakness, and others. You may become angry and/or have
feelings of guilt. Other symptoms include strange dreams, being absent-minded,
withdrawing socially, or feeling unable to function in day to day activities.
These are normal symptoms immediately following the loss, and each individual responds differently.
How long does it last?
As long as it takes. Each individual has a different response, depending on personality, health, coping skills, life experiences, and your relationship with the person or situation lost.
There are several steps in the grieving process. On the way to accepting a loss, you have to feel the physical and emotional pain.
There is no shortcut to grief; eventually the tears and anger have to be released. Sometimes we bargain with ourselves, hoping that things can go back to the way
they were before.
Then there is a process of adjusting to a new lifestyle, which doesn't include
the person or situation you lost. With the passage of time, you will eventually be ready to move on.
Understanding the steps of the grieving process may help you
determine your own individual progress. Grieving with other people can help you cope. Surround yourself with a support system of family, friends and a faith
community. If you feel this isn't enough for you, there are support groups available, and there are counselors who specialize in helping with the grief process.
Taking good care of yourself physically is important while you are grieving. Remind yourself to eat regular meals and make sure you get enough sleep.
Keeping up your exercise routine will help you deal with stress, improve the quality of your sleep, and strengthen your immune system. Your mind and body are connected; if you are taking care of your body, your mind will be able to concentrate on its needs.
Are you grieving? For whatever loss you are going through, remember there is help. If family, friends, and faith don't seem to be enough for you, or if you feel
like you aren't healing well, please contact a trained professional.
Here's to YOUR Mental Wellness through a difficult time.
Call Southeast Health Group at 800.511.5446 for information or to schedule an appointment.