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Have you ever experienced the pressure of grief on your chest? That profound, frequently unsaid pain brought on by a loss? If so, you're not the only one. Unfortunately, none of us can escape the universal human emotion of grief. The fact is that it's also a journey, one that can bring about healing and even surprising flashes of optimism.
Grief is a topic we might prefer to avoid discussing because it frequently lurks in the background of our lives. It's hardly the simplest subject to discuss at a dinner party, and it hardly qualifies as a conversation starter. But it's a topic that each and every one of us is affected by in some manner. Grief is that unwanted visitor who enters our lives unexpectedly. It's the pain that comes after a loss, the subtle aching that lingers after a change, and the barrage of feelings that can make us feel lost in our own lives. It is chaotic, unpolished, and wholly human.
We're going to shed some light on grief in this blog, explore its complexity, and learn the invaluable lessons it has to teach, by honestly and compassionately probing this emotional terrain. But you might ask, why should we willingly enter the occasionally difficult terrain of grief? It’s because comprehending grief can be a lifeline. When undertaken with intention, it's a trip that can bring about healing, development, and occasionally even unexpectedly beautiful moments.
So, if you're here because you're experiencing grief, or you’re someone who is looking for ways to help a friend who is experiencing loss, or is simply interested in understanding this human experience, you've come to the perfect spot. Let’s start this journey through the landscape of grief, one that might result in comprehension, healing, and eventually, a deeper understanding of the rich tapestry of human emotions.
Simply described, grief is the emotional reaction to loss. It's the dreadful sensation you have when something or someone you strongly care about disappears. Grief can snare you after a breakup, a job loss, a crushed goal, or any significant shift that makes you feel like a piece of your heart is missing. It's not just about losing someone to death, though.
However, grieving is not a universal experience! It obviously doesn't play by the book and it doesn't adhere to the rigorous script. It might appear and feel differently for every one of us since it is as varied as the people who experience it.
Sometimes the tears come in a heavy downpour that won't stop. Other times, it's that persistent, subtle pain in your chest. It might be a jumbled-up collection of feelings, like a bag of mixed sweets, including sadness, rage, guilt, perplexity, and even relief. Understanding grief involves more than just putting up with the suffering; it involves figuring out how to get through it, discovering moments of hope amid despair, and finally, healing.
STAGES OF GRIEF
Understanding the stages of grief can help you better comprehend the complicated emotions related to loss. Grief is not a linear process, and not everyone goes through all of them. It's important to keep in mind that these stages are not set in stone and that people may go through them in different sequences or return to them in the future. These stages, according to Kubler Ross, are as follows:
Denial - Denial is similar to the initial shock you experience after hearing the news. Your mind is trying to shield you from the full impact of the agony. It can be difficult for you to accept what just occurred. It's possible for you to say things like, "This can't be real," or "I must have misunderstood." You could stay away from locations, things, or people that make you think of your loss. For instance, you might stay away from their favourite chair or area after losing a loved one.
Anger - The loss's sorrow starts to manifest as denial starts to wear off, frequently provoking fury. This rage may be directed towards oneself, other people, the predicament, or even higher powers, through feelings of unfairness, grudge, or annoyance. There can be thoughts like, "Why me?" or "Why them?". Questions like, "Why did this have to happen to me?" or "It's not fair!" can cross your mind.
Bargaining - Bargaining or negotiating is similar to a desperate attempt to turn back time and reverse the loss. You keep replaying the "what if" possibilities in your head as you try to make sense of everything. You might discover yourself promising something or attempting to bargain with a higher power. For example, after a breakup, you might reflect, "If only I had been a better partner," or after losing your job, you might vow to work even harder if only you could keep it.
Depression - Depression is the low point, the deep valley in your emotional landscape. It's like a thick grief that surrounds you constantly. Although it's an essential stage, it can be very difficult. You can experience intense grief, lose interest in activities you formerly found enjoyable, and become socially isolated. It's like a cloud that follows you about and casts a gloomy hue over everything.
Acceptance - Acceptance does not imply that you are instantly at peace with the loss. It indicates that you've accepted the reality of what transpired and accepted its place in your life's narrative. It's like learning how to carry a big load more easily. You can start looking for ways to honour and commemorate the things or people you've lost. It could be done by planning a memorial, contributing to a cause important to you in light of your loss, or simply cherishing your memories without feeling too bad.
Keep in mind that these stages are not universal. Some people might not experience them at all, and the process of grieving can resemble an up-and-down roller coaster. It's all a part of the process, and it's acceptable to ask for assistance from loved ones, close friends, or professionals as you move through these phases.
HOW GRIEF AFFECTS OUR MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH
Grieving can negatively impact both your mental and physical health. It's like this emotional cyclone that can rock you to the core and has an impact on every part of your being, not just your head. It’s important to understand that sorrow isn't only about feelings. It has a cunning way of affecting your physical health by way of what is known as the mind-body connection. Real physical reactions can be brought on by your ideas and emotions.
Impact on Mental Wellness:
Common Mental Health Challenges: Grief frequently brings along a few unwelcome mental health companions. Anxiety and depression are widespread. It's like there are always these dark clouds over everything, making it difficult to enjoy anything or even get out of bed. You can experience anxiety or find yourself stuck in a cycle of depressing thoughts.
Sleep issues: Ah, sleep, or rather, its lack. Your peaceful night's sleep could become a battlefield due to grief. You might struggle to go to sleep, stay asleep, or have nightmares that cause you to wake up in a cold sweat.
Cognitive Issues: Grief also affects your ability to think clearly. It's comparable to attempting to concentrate on a book when a noisy concert is playing next door. You might have trouble remembering things, focusing, or making decisions.
Impact on Physical Health:
Stress and the Immune System: Grief is like a stress marathon, and stress is bad for your body. Your immune system may become weakened, making you more prone to sickness. As a result, you could notice that you feel sick more frequently.
Changes in Appetite: Grief can be a challenging dinner companion. It may cause a decrease in appetite in certain people, which could result in weight loss. Others may view it as an unlimited buffet of emotional eating that might result in weight gain.
Fatigue: Grief's emotional toll can leave you feeling completely spent. It feels like you completed a marathon while still sitting on your couch. You can constantly feel physically worn out.
Heartache: This one is crazy; grief can literally impact your heart. Your risk of developing heart issues including high blood pressure or even heart attacks may increase. It serves as a reminder of the close ties between the mind and body.
All of this may sound quite gloomy, but it's important to realise that even though grieving can be extremely painful, it doesn't have to last a lifetime. It takes time, support, and self-care, but you can start the process of both emotional and physical healing.
TIPS AND TECHNIQUES TO COPE WITH GRIEF
It can be tremendously difficult to navigate the grieving process, but there are some strategies and tactics that can help.
1. Allow yourself to grieve
Giving yourself permission to grieve is an essential first and foremost part of coping with grief. Recognising and accepting your feelings, no matter what they may be, is essential. Give yourself permission to experience any emotions that come up, including sadness, rage, guilt, and even brief feelings of relief. Keep in mind that mourning doesn't have a certain timeline. It is not something you can arrange or rush. To communicate your feelings and thoughts, you can think about maintaining a Journal. Your emotions may be given a secure release through it.
Simply described, grief is the emotional reaction to loss. It's the dreadful sensation you have when something or someone you strongly care about disappears. Grief can snare you after a breakup, a job loss, a crushed goal, or any significant shift that makes you feel like a piece of your heart is missing. It's not just about losing someone to death, though. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate rest are all recommended. For emotional resilience, proper nutrition and sleep are essential. Consider using mindfulness techniques to keep your focus on the here and now. These techniques can aid in controlling frenzied thoughts and anxiousness. Further, exploring creative outlets, such as writing, music, or art, can give one a way to communicate feelings that are hard to put into words.
3. Set attainable and realistic goals
Your motivation and energy may be sapped by grief. You can rediscover your feeling of direction by setting reasonable goals. Start by setting small, doable goals. It may be as simple as rising from the bed, taking a shower, or making breakfast. Setting up a daily regimen can offer structure and security during tumultuous times. Keep track of your progress by noting all of your successes. Celebrate all your accomplishments, big or small.
4. Seek Assistance and support from friends and family
Lean on your network of supporters, including friends and family. Tell your loved ones what you need and how you feel. Never hesitate to ask for assistance or just someone to listen. You might find friends or members of your family who can relate to your situation and can provide a feeling of acceptance and approval.
5. Remember and Honour the Loss
It can be incredibly helpful to find methods to honour and remember the person or item you've lost. You can establish individual rituals or customs in remembrance of them. It can be lighting a candle, going to a special location, or hosting an annual event to remember. Consider undertaking initiatives or undertaking efforts that preserve their legacy. This can also entail continuing their work or contributing to causes they had a strong belief in.
6. Having self-compassion and patience
Coping with grief is not a straightforward process. Be kind to yourself and work on your self-compassion. Be mindful of your internal discourse. Substitute self-criticism with self-compassion. Recognise that you will have both good & bad days and it's acceptable to experience joy or laughter occasionally among your pain.
7. Seeking Professional Help
Remember, it is a show of strength and not weakness, to seek professional assistance if grieving becomes unmanageable. Consider seeking online therapy or online grief counselling from a qualified mental health practitioner at MentAmigo seeking support to cope with grief. In some circumstances, a doctor's prescription medicine might help manage depression or anxiety symptoms. Professionals or therapists who have dealt with grief and bereavement can provide insightful perspectives and empathy, tailored according to the unique individual needs.
We, at MentAmigo understand that grieving can be a difficult process to undergo. Our therapists will help you throughout the grieving process and help you build strategies for coping with grief and navigating through your loss.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Keep in mind that everyone's path through grieving is different. These strategies and advice serve as a starting point, but you should modify them to fit your unique needs and situation because it is a very individualised experience. It's a difficult emotional landscape, and it's acceptable to experience the whole range of feelings that go along with it. Grief serves as a tribute to our affection, ties, and priceless memories. It serves as a witness to the wonder of the human experience as a whole.
Navigating or coping with grief can be a rollercoaster ride, and it's normal to occasionally feel lost and confused. It's acceptable to ask for assistance and to give yourself permission to heal at your own pace. Keep in mind that dealing with grief requires learning to live with it rather than getting over it. It will also give you the opportunity to discover the glimmer of hope, the warmth of love, and the assurance of better days ahead in the quiet moments when you feel the weight of your sorrow. In the midst of loss, we can find the fortitude to recover, develop, and discover purpose, because grief is a part of our common human experience.
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