Coping with Loss

Grief is our response to loss. It’s the process we go through when we lose somebody close to us, but it’s not strictly confined to someone’s death. Any loss can cause us to grieve – whether it is the loss of a parent, child, friend, or even the loss of an imagined future with a spouse when a marriage fails.

Even small moments of loss in our lives leave a somewhat lasting effect; such as moving house or home, leaving a workplace or graduating college.

While there are 5 typical phases of grief, we tend to “roller coaster” around between them, which makes it difficult to determine a strategy to help us cope with our loss.

To form a helpful response to our situation, we need to face our feelings and accept them for what they are. There’s little point in suppressing emotion and hoping it will go away. The emotions are there; ignoring them only make them last longer when we finally have to face them.

In life, to paraphrase Rocky Balboa, it’s not how often we get knocked down that defines us but what we do about it. It can be greatly beneficial to put our emotions to use in a creative way. Maybe during the period of loss, it would be worthwhile journaling the experience so that it becomes a lesson we could share with our children. Continue reading

The 5 Step Process of Grieving

Grief is an overwhelming emotion akin to extreme sadness and usually a result of the loss of a loved one, a favorite pet or even the loss of an imagined future. Sufferers often find themselves feeling numb and distant from current events – often, they find keeping up with their job, hobbies, housework or even social interaction to be energy draining activities. So much so, that they isolate themselves from others during their grief.

Grieving is a process, rather than a specific emotion, and that’s why it’s a different thing to sadness.

The bad news is that the process can last several years. It all depends on how adaptable a person is to their lives being different to how they might have imagined it.

If you, or someone close to you, have been grieving for what seems like an unnecessarily long time, yet seem stuck in a cycle, then it may be necessary to consult a health care professional.

Each of us has developed a coping mechanism to deal with grief. A coping mechanism is basically a worldview we have adopted. In other words, we choose how we are going to see the world. Strictly speaking, everyone’s worldview differs, which is why grief (and other emotions) affect different people in different ways. Continue reading

The Multiple Faces of Grief

Grief is a multifaceted thing. It’s not just the emotive sense of loss or the process of bereavement. Nor can it really be defined by who feels it and why.

You may feel that you own the sense of loss you feel and that no one else understands how much the loss of your loved one hurts, but you should bear in mind that you don’t have a monopoly on that feeling. Others are perfectly entitled to share much of the same emotional pain that you do.

The thing about a sense of loss that can make it so hard to deal with is that it can bring back much of the pain from previous losses.

Your loss is blurred and hard to pin down (in effect, making it harder to process) because it is multiple. Not only have you lost someone close to you, but you have lost the person you were when you were around them. Now it’s time to become someone new, only that new person seems to be someone who is being forged in the fire of pain, and that means you want to reject them.

The future you had envisioned will change too, so you are also losing an imagined future version of you. Can you see why there are so many layers to grief? Continue reading