At its most simple, grief is an emotional reaction to a significant loss whether it be a person, a pet, or valued quality of life such as work, health, or ability. As loss in life is inevitable, so is grief. Grief is often painful, sometimes intensely so, yet many individuals cope effectively with their grief. Some call upon their faith or loved ones and allow themselves adequate space and time to take care of themselves.
My loved one just died and my emotions are all over the place. Will I ever stop feeling this way?
Grief is an individual experience that varies from person to person and from loss to loss. Typically, it does dissipate, and people find a way to come to terms with their loss. Acute Grief lasts most of the day, every day, for up to six months and includes a recurrent sense of shock or disbelief. Some may experience waves of intense emotion with periods of relief. Others may have reoccurring, distracting thoughts and memories of the individual. Individuals can notice some impact in daily living or difficulty concentrating on responsibilities. With acute grief, individuals come to accept the loss and find ways to reengage in their relationships and daily living through a process of mourning, with time and support.
I’m really worried about how a friend is dealing with their grief. They have stopped engaging in their normal activities. What shoud I do?
While there are normal variances in how people experience grief, grief can become more serious and concerning. Complicated Grief is defined as a prolonged sense of debilitating loss that does not improve with time. Grief is so painful and long lasting that one finds it difficult to accept the loss, find a sense of peace, and resume living. In the case of complicated grief, professional mental health assistance may be fundamental for recovery.
Counseling to help process the loss can allow an individual to find peace and meaning, a sense of closure, and the acceptance necessary to fully reengage in one’s life after loss. By offering a confidential and therapeutic relationship removed from one’s daily living, working with our therapists can serve as a nice complement to familial and spiritual support in the grief process. In the case of complicated grief, counseling is an important piece to move through the grief process.
Sometimes I feel guilty when I realize I feel OK. How do I move forward and not forget?
Trying to move forward can sometimes feel at conflict with trying to remember someone and vice versa. Our therapists can help you say goodbye and mourn the loss of what was, while helping you find a way to create a legacy of the past to carry into the future. Counseling can help you set new goals based on old, and possibly new priorities, to have a renewed sense of direction.