A very important thing to understand about grief and loss is that there is no appropriate length of time or particular way to go through the grieving process. Jacqueline Strong
I’ve experienced the burden of loss in my life more than I would ever have liked to and I’m sure many of you have as well. Grief and loss is something that everyone experiences in their lifetime. When we talk about grief, loss, and mourning what immediately comes to mind is death and although this is often the case, there are also so many other types of loss we go through.
Some forms of significant grief and mourning you may experience can include a loss of:
- A relationship through divorce or breakup
- A loved one through death
- Identity through gender transitioning
- Safety (after a traumatic event)
- Physical or mental health
- Job, Work or career
- Financial stability
- A pet
- A potential child ( miscarriage, still birth, or fertility concerns)
- Identity (such as in retirement, or with an empty nest)
- A dream or potential (athlete with career ending injury) (becoming a parent)
- Comfort (moving away from a place you called home)
Regardless of the type of loss you may be experiencing, there are many feelings, thoughts, and behaviours that accompany the grieving process. Understanding these symptoms as you begin to work through whatever loss you are dealing with can be helpful.
Some of these symptoms may include:
- Shock and disbelief: Feeling numb, denial, confused as to if the loss is real.
- Sadness: Feeling emptiness, despair, yearning, and loneliness, instability of emotions.
- Physical changes: Sleep deprivation, constant fatigue, brain fog, nausea, weight loss or gain, body aches.
- Guilt: Having regrets, feeling uneasy or relieved.
- Anger: Resentment, blame, anger towards others who you think could have helped, like towards doctors, god, or family members.
- Fear: Anxious, helpless, insecure, and worried about your own mortality or facing life on your own.
Recognizing that you may be experiencing any or all of those things, and that getting help to sort through this process, can be key to moving through the depths of this loss.
A very important thing to understand is that there is no appropriate length of time or particular way to go through the grieving process. Some people feel better in days, others in weeks, and for some it can take years.
In many cases grief can revisit you at certain times in your life like anniversaries or celebrations. Knowing how to deal with grief in these times can give us the comfort we need to make it through the tough moments.
In general, grief is a roller coaster that can certainly feel like it is pulling you all over the place, but if you seek support, learn ways to help cope, and have a good network of people surrounding you, the ups and downs of grief and loss can feel less severe.