Feelings of loss and grief are usually associated with the death of someone close. These feelings can also occur however, when you lose something you care about. This may be a job, your health, your possessions or your way of life. When we lose something or someone close to us it takes time to adjust to life without that person, way of life or thing.
There is no set time for overcoming grief. The emotions and feelings that you experience will come and go and often it will feel like you have taken one step forward and two steps back. Over time however, you will start to feel better. It is important to remember, that feeling better and healing is not about forgetting the person or life style that you had it is about adjusting to life without them.
How do People Grieve?
Grief is a normal reaction to such a devastating loss. The way people experience that grief is different for everybody. Some of the ways that people react to a loss can include:
- Crying all the time
- Feeling sad or down
- Denial, don’t want to believe it
- Shock, feeling numb
- Lonely or isolated
- Headache, sleep disturbance, appetite change
- Difficulty concentrating
- Unable to enjoy usual activities or hobbies
- Increase in alcohol or drug consumption
- Suicidal thoughts, feeling like you can’t go on
Managing Grief and Loss
There is no ‘quick fix’ or easy way to grieve but there are some things that may help:
- Let yourself grieve; allow time for crying, it helps to be able to release your feelings.
- Make time for yourself; if you need to be alone occasionally, that’s okay but also make time to do something that you enjoy. Ensure you connect with your family and friends.
- Take care of yourself; look after your physical health by exercising and eating healthily. Even if you don’t feel like it, it will help.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs as they can delay the healing process by numbing your feelings.
- Say goodbye; this can be done formally through a funeral or you can create your own personal letting go ritual.
- Let others help you; talking to others can help you make sense of what you are feeling. Ask people to help you with practical support as well: cooking, driving, shopping or minding the children.
If you notice that you are experiencing 4 or more of the following symptoms then it is best to seek help from a mental health practitioner:
- Have no energy or feel tired all the time
- Restless, agitated or lethargic
- Lost or gained a large amount of weight
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty concentrating or making up your mind
- Feeling that life isn’t worth living
Where to get help
- General practitioner
- One of our counsellors or psychologists
- Grief line (03) 9596 7799
- Life Line 13 11 14
- Mensline 1300 78 99 78
- Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
- Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800
- Telephone Grief Support Line Phone (02) 9489 6644