At some point in life, everyone experiences loss; Whether it’s the death of a loved one, a job loss, or a relationship that ends. The way you deal with loss can have a considerable impact on your overall well-being. In this post, Coping With Loss – The Grieving Process, we explore how loss can affect you and offer tips on how to handle the process.
What Is Loss?
When someone mentions loss many times, we immediately think of a loved one passing away. And yes, the loss of a loved one can be devastating. But loss also can come from many other life events, including:
- Divorce or Breakup
- Loss of Health
- Loss of a Pet
As devastating as loss can be, sadly, it’s part of being human. Loss and its aftermath affects everyone, maybe not in the same way but in some way.
People cope with grief in their own way and may not be the same as someone else. Some will get solace in dwelling on happy recollections, whereas others get solace from the help of others.
Remember that grief takes time, no matter what coping strategies you adopt. At times, the process will be uncomfortable, but it will heal you in the end.
Video: Coping With Loss
So What Are the Stages Of Grief?
When we experience loss, we experience grief, a reaction to loss. Grief is a universal experience that affects everyone; there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to cope with loss.
Regardless of how well-prepared you are, a loss is a difficult experience. Nonetheless, knowing the stages of grief and embracing the process can make it a little easier.
Renowned Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler Ross was a leader in researching terminally ill patients who were near death. She became famous for her theory of the five stages of grief, discussed in her book “On Death and Dying.” These stages are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Though her research was primarily with patients facing terminal illnesses, her theory has filtered through to include all types of loss.
It’s important to note that not everyone will experience all the stages, and they may not be in order. You can also go back and revisit an earlier stage of grief.
Denial may be useful in the early stages of grief. Life might seem meaningless, incomprehensible, and unmanageable. You begin to reject the truth. This can’t be happening. Perhaps they made a mistake, and your loved one is still alive. Maybe you think he will walk through the door, claiming it was a practical joke. In this earliest stage, your brain is trying to protect you from the intense feelings of pain.
Anger in grief can be pointed in many directions. It can be directed at doctors, family members, and even God. Why has this happened? Who can I blame?
Also, when memories of your loved one unexpectedly occur, or when you remember previous hurtful remarks about your loved one that were said from those close, anger might ensue.
Though some people may feel guilty about feeling anger, it is a normal response.
Bargaining might entail trying to regain control of different aspects of life. Someone might make deals with God or pledge to follow treatment.
Depression is coming to terms with what has happened. Depression can manifest itself in many ways, including sadness, fatigue, or not being able to experience pleasure. Depression can also cause physical health problems such as insomnia and weight gain.
Acceptance occurs when you come to terms with the loss and no longer struggle against it. You’ll let go of the person but hold on to the memories.
It’s part of being human to experience loss. It affects everyone in some way. Coping with grief, on the other hand, is feasible. Some will get solace in dwelling on happy recollections, whereas others get solace from the help of others. Remember that grief takes time, no matter what strategy you adopt. At times, the process will be uncomfortable, but it will heal you in the end.
Symptoms of Grief
When a loss occurs, grief may manifest itself both emotionally and physically.
Feeling overwhelmed or sad, being weepy, and having a sense of detachment are some of the most common signs of grief. Some other signs of grief include but are not limited to:
Emotional Symptoms of Grief:
Physical Symptoms of Grief
- Changes in Appetite
- Changes in Sleep Habits
- Sleep Disturbances
- Lack of Energy
- Lack of Motivation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Skin rash
- Weight Loss or Gain
Recurring Grief or Anniversary Grief
Some people experience grief a year after their loved one has died. This type of grief is often called anniversary grief or delayed grief.
Thoughts (remembering them fondly) and memories (of happy moments shared) are two types of physical reminders of the person who has died and often surface close or on the anniversary date of the loss.
If you are coping with anniversary grief, it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help process your feelings, including support groups and books. Talk to someone about what has been going on for you and see if there is a group or support group that might be a good fit for you.
Ways To Cope With Loss
It’s difficult to go through the grieving process, but remember that it will pass. There are a variety of ways in which you may help make the change easier. Focus on taking one step at a time so you don’t become overwhelmed.
- Stay Active
- Take Walks
- Exercise Regularly
- Stick To A Daily Routine
- This will help you to feel less anxious and overwhelmed.
- You will have less upheaval in your life and more control over how things are going.
- Support Group
- A bereavement support group will let you stay connected with others going through the same thing.
- Talking With Friends And Family Members
- Talking with a mental health professional or grief counselor can help you get through some of the rough patches.
- Writing is a great way to discharge intense emotions. It is helpful in reflecting on your thoughts and feelings.
Helping Children Grieve
It isn’t easy to lose a loved one. Children who are still growing and developing may find it even more difficult than adults.
During this trying moment, ensuring that your children receive the assistance they require is critical. It’s so important for them to express emotions and discuss their feelings.
As time goes on, instead of dwelling on the sad aspects of death, assist them in discovering ways to enjoy good memories of their loved one.
Let them know they aren’t alone in their grief, and help them link with others who’ve had the same type of loss.
Life Beyond Loss
Be Kind To Yourself
Don’t try to accomplish everything at once; no one can. Give yourself the compassion you so much need. Don’t keep your emotions bottled up. Let yourself grieve in the way that feels right for you.
Even When You Feel You Can’t Handle It, You Can
Remember that as difficult as it is, you can handle it. It’s okay to be sad and depressed, but over time don’t let those feelings control your life. Seek out professional help if needed.
It Won’t Feel Like This Forever
Know that no matter how hard it is to believe it will get better in time. As you process your grief, healing will slowly happen. Let go of unrealistic expectations of yourself and where you believe you should be in the grieving process.
Remember that coping with loss is a journey, not a destination.
Know That Your Feelings Are Normal
Everyone experiences grief and loss in their own way. Your feelings are normal, be they sadness, fatigue, or even anger toward your loved one for leaving. There is no right way to grieve or time limit of recovering from the loss of a loved one.
Think in Cycles, Not In A Straight Line
Grief is a roller coaster ride. Some days you’ll be doing fine, and the next thing you know, you’re in the throes of distress, feeling overwhelmed and possibly depressed.
The process of coping with a loss can be difficult, whether it’s a death in the family, a divorce, or a loved one moving away.
Remember that grieving after losing a loved one is a normal process that may take some time. Although grieving may seem like a never-ending process, life will slowly return to its normalcy, and with time, you will eventually reach acceptance.
Allow yourself time to heal, and remember that there are people who want to help you through this difficult time.
We want to thank you for reading, and we hope this blog, Coping With Loss – The Grieving Process, has offered you some useful coping tools.
How have you dealth with loss in your life? Please comment below.