Grief and Loss
Grief is the natural human reaction to loss. Different individuals experience grief differently, and feelings of grief stick around for different periods of time depending on an individual’s circumstance. Most often we associate grief with the death of a loved one, but people also grieve over things such as the loss of a significant relationship, losing a job, needing to sell one’s home, learning of a terminal diagnosis, loss of a pet, and more. Grief can feel overwhelming and numbing to those experiencing it. While it is different for everyone, often the pain of the loss diminishes over time as the individual becomes more and more accustomed to the new reality of life without the grieved person or thing.
Causes of Grief
The reality is, the loss of anything can cause someone to grieve. Grief can be subjective, and what might cause me grief might have little impact on you, and vice versa. It is important not to judge your own (or anyone else’s) grief for this very reason. Typically, grief is associated with a significant loss of person, pet, or thing (such as a job or a home). However, grief takes many forms. While grief is a completely normal part of life, it may become problematic when one loses the ability to function for prolonged periods of time due to their grief. People may become depressed or suicidal.
Symptoms of Grief
It is difficult to pinpoint symptoms of grief, because everyone experiences it differently. That being said, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a well-known Swiss psychiatrist who studied grief and loss, created a model which identifies five stages of grief. It is believed that most people travel through these five stages when grieving. The stages are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. In addition to the accompany emotions that each stage naturally produces, there can be physical symptoms associated with grief, as well, such as having digestive issues, fatigue, headaches, sore muscles, and chest pain.
Am I at Risk
The reality is, all of us are at risk for grief, because we all have something to lose. However, there are certain individuals who we know might be at a higher risk, such as those who love someone fighting a terminal illness or those who have recently lost a spouse, a job, or are facing a significant change. Additionally, it is important to note that while we are all at risk for a potential loss, individuals who already suffer from depression or low self-confidence might struggle to cope with a loss when compared to those without additional mental health concerns.
Grief and Loss at a Glance
1. Everyone grieves differently. 2. There is no prescribed amount of time when someone stops grieving. 3. Self-Care is one of the most important things you can do when grieving. 4. It is critical to let yourself grieve…the only way out is through.