LOSS AND GRIEF
Loss and grief are inevitable aspects of the human experience. Loss comes in many guises including death of a partner, miscarriage, death of a pet, divorce, unemployment, immigration and so on. Like everyone else you will experience losses and the grief that comes with them.
Grief is a complex, highly individualized phenomenon and represents the particular reactions an individual experiences during a state of loss of something or someone of significance to them. It is not an illness; it is a normal response to loss.
Feelings that often accompany a significant loss include fear, numbness, shock, anxiety, guilt, anger, and intense sadness. A grieving individual may also have physical reactions including sleep disturbances, loss of energy and appetite. The process of grieving tends to be exhausting emotionally and physically.
Resolving grief associated with the death of a loved one, and healing require:
- accepting the reality of the loss
- experiencing the inevitable painful feelings
- adjusting to life without the loved one
- investing emotional energy in other relationships
A sudden loss generally intensifies one’s grief. When deaths are caused by suicide, murder, accident or natural disaster there is little chance to say good-bye or to deal with unfinished business. Lack of closure leads to intensified feelings of guilt and hopelessness.
Suicide carries a stigma in our society. Hence the bereaved are left wondering why their loved one suicided and what they could have done to prevent it; they may feel shame, guilt and anger. The grieving process is often prolonged.
If you need support as you experience a grieving process seek help from a counsellor/psychotherapist.
Reference: N.R. Hooyman and B.J. Kramer (2006). Living through loss: interventions across the life span. New York: Columbia University Press.
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