Grief isn’t just about experiencing death, it can be associated with a loss of any kind, being more about how you internalise that loss, which can be part of the ‘grieving’ process.
Grief affects people in different ways, so if you have suffered any form of loss recently or in the past, you may be experiencing a lot of emotions and possibly having trouble managing them. You may also feel as though you have been ‘left behind’ either physically or metaphorically, which can cause feelings of unfairness.
Some of the emotions and feelings associated with grief and loss are shock, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, experiencing disbelief, anger, experiencing a dull ache inside which you could liken to sadness, numbness, relief and sometimes guilt for feeling relief.
These varied emotions can come in ‘waves’, moving from one feeling to another in quick succession and you may not be able to concentrate or remember what you were meant to be doing.
Although these emotions are part of the natural grieving process, they can be painful and difficult to manage, sometimes causing melancholy and depression, or a feeling of dissociation from those around you and your everyday life.
How you deal with grief can be influenced by your background, culture, age, religion, beliefs and by both your mental and physical health. It can also be affected through how you identify with your family and friends and those closest to you for support.
You might experience grief for a short or a long time and you may also feel as though your grief won’t pass, but gradually the intensity of the feelings you experience will begin to subside, sitting less at the forefront of your mind as time goes on.
The meaning this has is that your grief or loss is beginning to find a place to sit quietly (and sometimes noisily) within you, becoming part of you, so that you will slowly be able to continue on with your life, even if it doesn’t feel like that is possible at the moment.
Keeping on breathing and putting one foot in front of the other is a good starting place. Sticking to a routine and keeping things simple can help, as can talking to friends or family. And trying to make sure you eat is also important during a time of loss and when are grieving.
Experiencing grief and loss, and the barrage of emotions that come with it, is hard and means you are human, which also means (and I repeat myself) you will grieve your loss at a pace that suits you.
Giving yourself permission to feel your emotions and allowing yourself to be sad and upset are ways to help yourself heal and are a healthy part of the grieving process.
In some instances being ‘stuck’ in grief through holding intense emotion inside and having an ongoing struggle with loss, can cause you to become unwell disrupt your relationships and cause sleep problems, anxiety and depression.
If you are struggling with expressing your grief or are not sleeping then either medical intervention and a visit to your GP might be advisable or visiting a counsellor to talk through what you’re experiencing may help.