Grief & Loss: What is it and What Does it Look Like?
Grief is the name given to that pain of mind we endure when we have suffered a deprivation of something or someone that we love. Grieving is the process that we must go through, the psychological tasks that we must perform, in order to reconcile our losses successfully and move forward with our lives. The course of grieving is not a clear-cut, straightforward, step-by-step progression. Each of us will, to a certain extent, find our own way through the process of grief. However, certain guide-lines can be helpful in understanding the process:
✅ Accept that whatever you are feeling is okay
✅ Express your feelings
✅ Be aware that grief has no time limits
✅ Remember that grief is a process
✅ Know when to ask for help
When to Seek Help
Talking to friends and relatives about a loss is healing. Grieving individuals need to go on remembering the person with someone else who also loved them. Reading books about grief, facing the pain by being quiet and thinking, or talking to your clergy can help. Seek professional assistance if depression, feelings of not valuing your own life, or a sense of total despair, prevail.
The professionals at American Behavioral Clinics can help you cope with your grief and loss. We have a variety of psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists to assist you in all your needs. They can provide services through individual, family and group therapy.
Signs for When Help Is Needed
Although grieving is a normal part of life and a healing process, sometimes people have difficulty in resolving grief. It is as though they “get stuck” along the way and fall into a state of depression. Clinical depression is different from grieving and professional help may be needed in order to get the process moving forward again. It can be difficult to distinguish the difference between grief and depression, but there are some general signs and symptoms that the grief process has gone awry.
- Exaggerated grief reactions. Even appropriate ways of grieving can become inappropriate when carried to excess, when they become obsessions, or when they are used to block our feelings. Acting out, self-destructive behavior, high risk or impulsive behavior, all are evidence that psychotherapeutic intervention is indicated.
- Prolonged grief. Over time a person ought to feel better. When the feelings of grief do not lessen or when there is prolonged obsessing over the loss, this is an indication that depression may be a problem.
- Delayed grief or denial of grief. As discussed, actions taken to aid or block the painful feeling of grief will not lead to a heathy resolution. Sometimes, professional counseling may be needed to aid the process of confronting grief.
- Physical symptoms that have no medical basis. Sometimes an unhealthy grief
process can result in development of physical symptoms; for example, headaches or stomach discomfort. When medical examination does find a cause for such symptoms, a mental health examination is in order to see if they may have evidence of a clinical depression.
It’s okay to feel happy…..
Some people believe mistakenly that if they truly loved someone, or are truly committed to some goal, they will grieve for the loss for the rest of their life. Although you never forget bereavements that such us deeply, we need to reach a point where we are able to “let go” of our grief and go on with living. Remember that every crisis holds potential for personal growth. It is healthy to feel happy again, to become involved in new relationships, to establish new goals. Many losses provide opportunity for people to learn about themselves, to explore options, to change, and to grow.