Did you know...
There are over 40 types of losses and include obvious losses such as death, pet loss, divorce, job loss, or a natural disaster. Other less thought about include moving, health-related issues or a disability, starting or ending school, not achieving a goal, or financial change (increase or decrease). Then there are other intangible losses like the loss of trust or safety, loss of control, or loss of fertility. Loss often leads to grief.
Grief is a reaction to a loss and can affect your body, thoughts, emotions, actions/behaviors, and spirituality. The journey through grief is unique to you, is normal, and cannot be rushed. Grief is not the enemy nor a sign of weakness. Here are other points to keep in mind, time alone will not heal grief, you must cooperate, multiple losses may extend the grieving process, and grief is not linear, it ebbs and flows.
Dr. J. William Worden, Ph.D., a well-known grief therapist, developed his Four Tasks of Mourning from interviews and counseling the bereaved. Dr. Worden believes if mourning is not complete then growth does not take place and could cause problems throughout life. To work through grief requires effort to complete, it is not static, but active. The tasks do not necessarily occur in order, you can experience going between two or three of the tasks while completing your journey through grief.
Accept the reality of the loss
Often there is a sense of disbelief and searching behavior is common
If the loss is from death then going through rituals, such as a viewing or funeral help with acceptance
Accept the depth and impact of the loss
It is common to need to talk about the loss over and over
Process the pain of grief
You may experience behavior, emotional, and/or physical pain, and the suppression of the pain prolongs the course of mourning
Friends or family may be uncomfortable with your pain and say inappropriate or unhelpful things
If you avoid the pain now, it will eventually come back and often returns as depression or complicated grief
Do not deny this task through the use of alcohol or other substances, idealizing the deceased or the lost situation/event, and do not engage in avoiding behaviors: constant travel, moving or avoiding reminders
Adjust to a new environment or world
Emerge with a new identity through regaining a sense of control over your life
Develop new roles and relationships, remember this requires patience as this shift occurs
Simplify and stabilize by not making major decisions, and engage in activities as you find comfortable
If grief is through death then the second year can be the hardest
Come to terms with your new "normal"
Reinvest it in a new way of life
Emotionally re-invest in someone or something else
Find enjoyment with your memories
You are not and will never be the same person you were
Five signs of reorganization, that you are healing from the loss:
Sense of release
Energy is renewed
Able to make decisions clearly
Stabilized eating and sleeping patterns
Bereaved who integrate their grief process emerge stronger
5 Tips for self-care while grieving...
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