What is Grief & Loss?
Loss is an inevitable part of the human experience, touching each of us at various points in our lives. Whether it takes the shape of a life-threatening illness, the passing of a loved one, the end of a job or relationship, or the absence of a cherished possession, its impact is universally felt. Recognizing that everyone navigates grief and loss in their own distinct way, it's crucial to acknowledge that coping mechanisms are shaped by an individual's present circumstances and their history of prior losses.
After a loss, it's completely natural to encounter a spectrum of emotions, which might at times feel overwhelming. Those grappling with grief following the departure of a loved one may encounter feelings of disconnection from others, a sense of emotional numbness, disbelief that the loss is real, and emotions like guilt or apprehension regarding their last interactions with the departed individual. Anger at being left behind or frustration with oneself for not adhering to presumed norms of coping may also arise. There might be external pressures, such as others expecting you to have moved on, which can exacerbate negative feelings. Worry about never feeling better or managing to cope can also weigh heavily on the mind.
Three forms of Grief
Grief can manifest in three distinct forms: natural, uncomplicated, or complicated grief. In cases of both uncomplicated and complicated grief, indicators of depression and anxiety, like persistent sadness, appetite loss, and disrupted sleep, might surface. If these depression or anxiety symptoms persist for an extended period (beyond six months), it could signal challenges in effectively coping with the loss, possibly implying adjustment difficulties.
When an individual struggles to adapt to a loss, grief can evolve into a complicated state, potentially extending the overall healing process. If grief becomes complex, specific behaviors might indicate a struggle to cope. These actions include avoiding attendance at the loved one's funeral, repressing thoughts or emotions linked to the departed individual, neglecting self-care, and resorting to substance abuse.
How we can assist?
To assist with symptoms associated with grief and loss such as depression, anxiety and/or insomnia, we can implement a combination of therapies. Therapy may assist individuals to work through the grieving process in a healthy way, while helping to address any issues that may have surfaced as a result of the loss. Additionally, support groups can provide a benefical and safe environment for coping with grief and loss.