Coping with bereavement and loss

We will all, at some point in our life, experience the death of someone close to us, as well as other losses.

Some losses may be less spoken about in society such as the loss of a baby in pregnancy through miscarriage or abortion.

Other losses bring similar feelings too; the break up of a relationship; loss of health.

Following a bereavement or loss we may experience many powerful, sometimes frightening, feelings such as:

  • Shock
  • Disbelief
  • Numbness
  • Anger
  • Pain
  • Hurt
  • Sadness
  • Guilt and regret
  • Loneliness
  • Despair and depression
  • ReliefYou may find that the bereavement brings other issues to the surface that make it harder to cope.
    Sometimes you may feel that people are wanting you to ‘get over it’ but it is normal for the feelings of grief to come and go over a very long period of time. It is different for everyone.
    Grief also has an effect on our behaviour and how we function. You may find yourself affected by:
  • Sleep problems
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Finding it hard to cope
  • Feeling restless and irritable
  • Thinking constantly about the person who has died, even imagining you have seen or heard them
  • Loss of interest
  • Tearfulness
  • Exhaustion
  • Physical symptoms such as palpitations, nausea, dizzinessThese are all normal reactions to bereavement and a part of the grieving process.

What can I do to cope with this?

You will need to give yourself time to grieve. Be kind to yourself, these feelings are normal.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve or a set amount of time by which you should be 'over it', it is more about finding a way to live with the loss.
Allow yourself to express your feelings, through talking or writing. Listening to music can be helpful.
Keep mementoes of the person. Remembering may be painful at first but will eventually be a comfort and pleasure.
Try to keep up a regular routine of eating, sleeping, exercise and relaxation.
Avoid trying to block your feelings with drugs or alcohol, this only tends to postpone the grieving process.
Take each moment as it comes, don’t think too far ahead and give yourself credit for getting through each day.


It's been a while now and I'm still struggling...

When the normal process of grief does not resolve after many years, it is called "complicated mourning". With complicated mourning, the impact of the loss may be denied, or you may be frozen in anger, depression, shame or guilt, and unable to make the transition into a peaceful new life.

Talking about how you are feeling can help. You may find it easier to talk to an ‘outsider’ like a counsellor rather than friends or family about how you are feeling.

Sometimes you may be left with a feeling of reliving the events around your loved one's death particularly if there has been a traumatic incident. A specific therapy; EMDR, can help process these memories. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. It is a psychotherapy that has been proven to be effective in treating trauma, and is recommended by the UK's National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Research is showing that EMDR is also effective in facilitating the natural grieving process.
For further explanation about EMDR, click here and here.

Counselling can help ease the pain and loneliness of grief and give you the opportunity to resolve any lingering emotional problems and find more helpful ways of coping. Please contact me to find out how I can help.

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