What is Grief? We all experience some form of grief and loss at a particular point in our lives, whether it be due to the death of a loved one, a job, a pet, a divorce, a friendship, or any other type of emotional connection. Nobody ever wants to lose something they love or someone they care about. It's never simple, and the results frequently change who you were before.
Although grieving is one of the hardest emotions and processes to work through, it is possible to get through it with the correct support and assistance. The seven stages of grief are something that has guided individuals to better understand their feelings and selves as they go through their grieving.
Let's get right into it and explore how bereavement therapy compliments this process and helps individuals overcome grief and loss.
Understanding What Is Grief After Loss
One of the most challenging and traumatic situations we go through in life is losing a loved one. Grief is a common and healthy reaction to that loss. A lot of emotions, ideas, and physical sensations are all part of this complicated experience of grieving.
Everyone goes through the process in their own unique way, and it is not linear. Some people may experience intense melancholy, while others may experience rage, remorse, or even numbness. It's essential to keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to grieve and that it's a very personal experience.
One of the biggest myths about grief is that it goes after a fixed time frame or that it has an expiry date to it. From which one can easily snap out of or move on. Rather, it is something that we learn to live with and cope with in our lives over time.
Our relationship with the person who passed away, the circumstances of their death, and our individual coping skills are just a few of the many factors that may influence the grieving process. Giving ourselves the green light to experience the whole gamut of grief-related emotions is crucial, as is asking for help from others when we need it.
Grief can be dealt with in a variety of ways, and what works for one person may not work for another. Some people resort to spiritual or religious traditions for comfort, while others may seek therapy, support groups, or creative outlets like music or art. Finding what works for you is crucial, as is giving yourself time and space to process your emotions.
So how do you identify the triggers that are affecting you to completely delve into grief and the grieving process? Well, let's get right into it.
What Are The Symptoms And Causes Of Grief
The experience of grief is unique to each person and can manifest in a variety of ways. As discussed earlier, emotional grief can be triggered due to many reasons. Although we cannot be very precise about the symptoms and causes of grief as this emotional trigger is different for every other individual, we have compiled the few most common and widely diagnosed causes & symptoms of grief.
Symptoms of Grief:
- Sadness: Feeling sad and tearful is a very natural emotion that every one of us goes through. But when this emotion is accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and emptiness, then it can be a possible symptom of grieving.
- Anxiety: The feelings of grief can bring out anxiety disorder symptoms, which can include worry, fear, and a sense of unease.
- Guilt: Those who are grieving frequently feel guilty, especially if they think they could have done more to stop the loss.
- Anger: Anger, whether directed towards oneself, others, or even the lost person, can occasionally follow grief.
- Physical symptoms: Physical signs of grief include exhaustion, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, and headaches.
- Social withdrawal: In addition to withdrawing socially, many people who are grieving tend to shun the activities and events they once found enjoyable.
Causes of Grief::
- Death: Perhaps the most likely cause of grief is the loss of a loved one. This may involve the passing of a loved one, a friend, or even a pet.
- Relationship breakup: Grief can also result after a breakup of a love relationship, close friendship, or other significant relationship.
- Job loss: Losing a job, particularly if it was very meaningful or significant to the person can also be a very evident cause to grieve.
- Major life change: Grief can also be brought on by substantial life changes, such as moving to a new city or country.
- Illness or injury: Dealing with catastrophic sickness or disability, especially if the person will significantly lose their ability to perform or their sense of independence.
Grief is a difficult and often complex emotion to deal with. It's essential to keep in mind that there is no one "correct" way to grieve and that everyone uniquely experiences loss. It could be helpful to seek support from a mental health professional or support group if you or someone you love is going through a grieving process.
What Are The Seven Different Stages Of Grief
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a psychiatrist, first put forth the idea of stages of grief in her 1969 book "On Death and Dying." Although her approach has been extensively adopted and taught, it's essential to keep in mind that everyone experiences grief differently and that it is not a linear process. The stages are not a checklist, and not everyone will go through them in the same sequence or in all of them. So, on that note here are the seven stages of grief :
- Denial: The first stage is when one may experience shock, disbelief, or numbness. They could find it difficult to acknowledge the truth of the loss and might even contest its existence.
- Anger: The person could experience anger or frustration as the reality of the loss sinks in. Their resentment may be thrown against themselves, other people, or even the deceased.
- Bargaining: At this point, the person could make promises or deals in an effort to make up for the loss. They can try to make a deal with a higher power or look for solutions to "repair" the problem.
- Depression: Symptoms of depression, guilt, and despair are some of the emotions that might be felt during this stage. Individuals can become more reclusive among others and show physical signs like weariness or trouble sleeping.
- The Upward Turn: People often feel more at ease and composed during this time, with the sadness and anger starting to subside. You might begin to see an improvement in your motivation and energy.
- Reconstruction: Your mind will start fully recovering during this phase. You begin to reestablish contact with loved ones, and life begins to feel less daunting and more manageable once more.
- Acceptance: during this final stage, the individual begins to come to terms with the reality of the loss. they experience relief or closure and start to move on with their life.
It is essential to keep in mind that not everyone will go through each step, and they may not even occur in that order. Some individuals might also go through additional feelings or act in ways that are not even specified here in these stages. The most important thing to note here is that there is no "correct" way to grieve and that grief is a very individualized process.
Debunking Some Myths Over Grief & Grieving
There are a lot of myths and facts about grief, some say there is an expiry date to grieving while the others say we need to learn how to live with it. What should we give ears to? Well, let's see.
How to deal with grief or grieving process with the help of therapy
One of the most challenging experiences that someone may go through is losing a loved one. Everybody's grieving process is unique, and it often feels overwhelming and lonely. You don't have to experience this alone, though, so keep that in mind. The best and proven way to deal with grief is therapy. Here are some of the ways in which therapy can help you cope with the grieving process:
Provides a Safe Space to Express Your Emotions
Counseling offers a private, secure setting where you can freely express your emotions. A wide range of feelings, like anger, sadness, guilt, and even relief, can be triggered by grief. A therapist can guide you through these feelings and teach you how to control anger, and coping skills to help you deal with sadness, guilt, and so on.
Offers Support and Validation
You could think you're the only one going through this when you're grieving. You may feel more understood and less alone after talking to a therapist. They can provide comfort and support, which can make you more at ease with your feelings and the bereavement process.
Teaches Coping Skills
You can learn strategies to cope in therapy, such as stress-reduction tactics, mindfulness techniques, and self-care routines, to help you deal with your loss. You can control your emotions and the physical symptoms of grief with the guidance of these coping skills.
Helps You Develop a New Identity
Losing a loved one might sometimes make you wonder who you are and what your purpose is. A therapist can help you clarify your values. They can help you navigate the process of building a fresh identity and discovering purpose in life despite loss.
Provides Long-Term Support
Having ongoing support is important because grief is a complex process. As you progress through the many stages of grief, a therapist can offer ongoing support. They can assist you in realizing that sadness doesn't have a time limit and that it's acceptable to take as long as you need to recover.
Now since we have gone through the basic coping skills with the help of therapy, having a sound understanding about what all types of therapy takes place to help individuals cope with grief after a loss.
The Different types of therapy to manage grief from going overboard
Several forms of treatment are available to assist manage grief and keep it from becoming out of control. The following are some of the most popular types of treatment that can aid with your grief management:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
The goal of cognitive-behavioral therapy is to change detrimental thought and behavior patterns. It can help you in recognizing and modifying unfavorable thoughts about your loss and in creating coping strategies for managing your emotional and physical symptoms.
Being present at the moment and becoming more conscious of your thoughts and emotions are the main goals of mindfulness-based treatment. You can better manage your sadness by learning to accept and be kind with yourself. By remaining in the present and preventing your thoughts from taking over, it can also help you learn how to deal with your grief.
A type of therapy called interpersonal therapy is concerned with enhancing interpersonal interactions and communication. You can better manage your grief by creating solid support systems and social networks. Also, it can assist you in recognizing and resolving any interpersonal problems that might be causing your grief.
A form of therapy called group therapy is getting together with a number of individuals who are dealing with comparable problems. It might make you feel less alienated and alone and offer a safe space for you to express your feelings. It may also present chances to pick up new coping skills and gain knowledge from others.
A type of treatment called psychodynamic therapy is concerned with investigating the unconscious mind and the influence of previous events on present-day feelings and behaviors. You can learn new coping mechanisms to deal with your grief and gain insight into how previous experiences might be doing so.
Understanding how therapy can help you in the best possible way is one thing, but finding the right therapist is where all the hard work pays.
To put it all together
Grief and loss are complex and challenging experiences that can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or culture. You may get through this challenging period and find coping skills by being aware of the origins, symptoms, and treatments for grief after a loss.
It's important to seek professional assistance from a therapist or counselor if you're grieving a loss. They can give you the resources and support you need to control your grief and keep it from becoming out of control.
Remember, it's okay to take your time to grieve and to seek help and support when you need it. With time, patience, and the right support, you can find ways to manage your grief and begin to heal.