Grief is like the ocean; it comes in waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.
~ Vicki Harrison ~
Loss is an inevitable part of life, and grief is the normal, natural response to loss.
The most important thing to understand about grief is that everyone experiences grief differently and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Nor is there a set timetable for grief.
Dealing with a significant loss can be one of the most difficult times in our lives. Our emotions, thoughts and behaviour can all be affected. We might experience intense waves of emotion including numbness, anger, guilt, sadness, yearning, anxiety and relief. Our thoughts may become confused and we might think we are out of control or that we are going crazy. And our eating and sleeping patterns may change and we might find ourselves withdrawn, restless, agitated, or simply exhausted.
There are many myths around grief, one of the most common being that we will “get over” our loss. In reality, part of us may always mourn our loss but, with time, the pain will lessen. Another myth is that life will “return to normal”, when in truth, part of the grief journey is learning to live a new kind of normal – seeing the world through different eyes and re-defining our place in it.
Whilst grief is a natural process sometimes grief can be particularly acute or complicated. This can happen where the circumstances of the death are sudden or traumatic or where personal circumstances make us particularly vulnerable. If you are finding it difficult to manage on a day-to-day basis, support from a caring counsellor who is knowledgeable about the grief process may give you the understanding and comfort you need. At Life and Loss, within the safety and confidentiality of the therapeutic relationship, you can share your intimate thoughts, make sense of what you’re feeling and clarify your reactions.
Seeing a grief counsellor may be appropriate if you've lost someone close to you, including a beloved pet, and:
- you feel uncomfortable with yourself or find yourself unable to function normally
- you have reactions from which you can get no relief, or over which you feel no control
- you wonder if your responses are normal, or if they’ve gone on too long
- you have thoughts or feelings you feel guilty about or you’re reluctant to share with anyone else
Grief counselling may also be beneficial if you are caring for someone who is ill or dying or if you are unsure how to help someone else who is grieving.