Dealing with the grief of losing someone you love is one of the toughest experiences one can go through in life. The intensity of your grief can depend on how close you were to that person, although sometimes the death of people we didn’t know too well or hadn't known too long can also affect deeply. If you’re currently grieving, it’s important to recognise that since you are going through something so painful, you can’t function at your best and cut yourself some slack. Grief manifests uniquely in each person, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to recovery -- do whatever it takes and however long it takes for you to heal and recover from this traumatic event.
Sometimes when you’re grieving, you may get tired of feeling sad all the time, and want to figure out ways to fast-track your healing process. Just remember that it is a process with many stages, and only when you have gone through the motions will you be able to move on. If you try to bottle your feelings up, they’re going to erupt at some point, making your healing longer and more painful. To figure out how to deal with the loss of a loved one, we suggest you visit a therapist and try grief counselling in particular.
To understand what you’re going through, it is important to understand that grief is a process that you need to go through from start to end. The process includes five stages, which include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
In this stage, you are still in shock and find it hard to accept what is happening to you. You may say things like “This can’t be happening to me.”
In this stage of grief, you will feel angry at your situation because you feel like you didn't deserve it. You’ll find yourself saying things like “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
In this stage, you try to find ways to remedy your situation, even if it is impossible to do. You may say “Make this not happen, and in return, I will ____.”
In this stage of grief, the gravity of the situation starts sinking in and you begin to feel sad and empty. It’s common to say things like “Nothing in my life matters anymore.”
This is the last stage of your grief. Once you reach this stage, you can begin your journey towards healing yourself and moving on. A person in the acceptance stage would say “I understand and accept what has happened. I can’t change the past but I can try to be happier in the future.”
As overwhelming as it can be, we need to develop coping mechanisms to deal with our grief so that we can be on the recovery at the earliest. These tips will help you ease through the process
When you’re mourning the loss of someone close to you, it’s important to remember that there is no set timeline for your healing. You might feel like you’re on the right track but wake up one day and feel completely shattered. Just remember that this is normal, and the path to healing is not linear. Give yourself as long as it takes for you to feel better!
Sometimes grief can be a lonely process where you feel like nobody understands what you are going through. However, it is important to reach out to your loved ones when you are going through something so severe. They may not fully understand your pain but they love and support you, and will be there for you when you need to talk. Take advantage of that and confide in them about how you’re feeling. You’ll end up feeling lighter, we promise!
When mourning the death of a loved one, a lot of people are so overwhelmed by their emotions that they tend to avoid their feelings altogether. This is very common in the denial stage of grief when a person believes that they won’t feel painful emotions if they don’t think about them or accept what is happening. This is extremely unhealthy, as it delays your healing process. Remember--the faster you deal with your emotions, the sooner you’ll feel better!
While it’s not healthy to completely ignore your feelings, it’s also essential to not let yourself down in your grief 24/7. Your well being is in your hand, and while you are going through an extremely difficult period, you also need to at least try to make yourself feel better! Of course, you’re not going to feel ‘happy’ instantly, but if you keep up with your daily routines, it will feel like your life is slowly getting back to normal.
Also Read: Ways To Cope With A Miscarriage
A lot of people think self-care is indulgent and selfish, but if there’s any time when focusing on taking care of yourself is important, it is when you’re grieving. Make sure you’re eating healthy foods that energise your moods and finding time to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. And if you feel like pampering yourself, go right ahead--book a spa session, take a trip with your friends, go for a yoga retreat--do whatever it takes to make you feel better!
Finding a hobby or throwing yourself into work might not be a bad idea if you’re grieving. While it’s not right to completely deny your emotions, finding something to focus your energy on will give your mind or body something constructive to do, and help you realise that there is life beyond your grief and that you have things to look forward to once you’re done healing. Always wanted to sign up for a cooking class? Now’s the time!
Sometimes, despite your best efforts to make yourself feel better, you will still end up feeling sad and hopeless. And this is okay! Don’t fight your feelings and never be hard on yourself! It does not mean that you’re weak--you’re just taking your own sweet time to get better and it is not always pleasant. Take stock of your emotions and try to figure out why they keep coming back to you. Understand what you’re feeling instead of fighting it and shaming yourself.
We get it, the pain you’re feeling is so overwhelming that you just want to stop feeling it sometimes, even if for a short period of time. However, becoming dependant on substances like alcohol, sex, marijuana and other recreational drugs will only have a detrimental effect on your physical and mental well-being. You can’t run away from your pain forever, so don’t turn to substance abuse for comfort!
While talking to your friends and family can be a helpful coping mechanism for your grief, you may tend to get frustrated sometimes because they cannot fully understand what you’re going through. Instead of feeling angry and frustrated with them, try to join a support group where you can talk to people who’ve gone through a similar experience. Hearing others talk about their trauma will make you feel less alone and help you feel connected to a group of people.
If you really find yourself struggling with your grief, and feel like your mental health has been severely affected, it might be time for you to seek help from a professional. If you’re having depressive, compulsive or suicidal thoughts, call a helpline or make an appointment with a therapist--they will guide you when you are feeling overwhelmed and help you heal faster.
When you’re mourning, having lots of questions is very normal. While we suggest you talk to a professional about specific questions, we can help you by answering some common questions for you.
Your parents are your anchors and your support system, so dealing with the loss of a parent is hard on everyone, but especially children and young adults. We would suggest you involve yourself in school/college/work activities and find support in your peer group. Go to a counsellor if you feel like you can’t deal with your emotions.
Your sibling is probably your first best friend in the world, and the loss of such a special bond can have a very severe effect on people of all ages. The best way to deal with this grief is to talk to your family and loved ones about your shared trauma, share happy memories you have of that person and try to celebrate their life.
While the loss of a grandparent might not affect us as deeply as the death of a parent or sibling, it can still make us feel an immense sense of loss. A grandparent’s love is unconditional, which is why it is so hard to replace. Put up old pictures of you together in your room or at your work desk. Looking at them will remind you of the good times you shared and make you smile.
The loss of your life partner can be the most traumatic experience of your life, especially if you have children together. In such a scenario, we would recommend going to seek professional help right away, because you might feel like your life has been completely derailed. A therapist will slowly and steadily help you get your life back on track.
Losing a child is probably one of the most painful emotions a human being can ever experience. If you are going through this, we recommend that you and your partner seek grief therapy, because a loss as great as this is not easy to navigate. If you have other children, it is best you take them along and seek therapy as a family.
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