Bereavement is the experience of losing someone in your life. It can be losing a family member, a friend, a pet, or anyone else that is important to someone.
The biggest emotion that one feels when going through a time of bereavement is grief and under the umbrella of grief is a whole range of other emotions such as anger, sadness, and denial.
Bereavement is not the same for everyone, so the process of grieving will be different for everyone. You can feel grief for other things, too: the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, moving away, or someone else in your life going through something like a decline in mental health.
Sometimes death is sudden and unexpected, but other times people die slowly, and you watch the process of them fading. This can be really hard because you begin to grieve them while they are still there.
Sometimes people grieve when death is just a possibility and not even a certainty. Anticipatory grief is different than then grief that follows death, but it does have many of the same feelings and symptoms.
People spend a lot of time overwhelmed by anxiety and dread when experiencing anticipatory grief.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when dealing with this kind of grieving. First of all, you need to accept that it is normal.
You are losing something, and it is not wrong to grieve just because the person is still there. In the midst of it all, make sure to allow yourself to grieve. Second, take time to connect with others.
Whether you are talking to people in your family or going to support groups, it is extremely important to have people you can lean on and connect with both during the process and when it is over.
A secondary loss is anything lost because of a primary loss (the death of a person in your life.) Secondary losses can feel just as painful as the primary loss because it can feel like you are losing everything stable in your life, not just the one person.
Here are some of the most common forms of secondary loss:
When someone in your family dies, the whole structure shifts. If it is a child, the order of siblings has changed, and therefore, the dynamic has changed.
If it is a spouse, the roles you have to fill and the responsibilities you have change. When an immediate family member dies, it can feel like you lost the whole family structure.
When you lose someone that is important in your life, you do not just lose the person, but you lose everything you usually do with them and everything you hoped and planned to do with them.
If you were a parent and lost a child, you lose being a parent. If you were a brother or sister, you lose your role as a sibling. If you lose a spouse, you have to adjust to being single again.
Often when someone important to you dies, you can no longer see the good in the world or those around you. It can be hard to open yourself back up to those in your life because you are so afraid of losing people.
Often when you lose people, you are so completely focused on the pain, stress, and grief that you can not do much else. It is hard to remember to eat, let alone go to work or school. Grief can take every ounce of energy you have.
Grief, loss and bereavement are events that affect everyone at some point in their lives, and we each deal with these feelings in different ways.
It is crucial to remember that these feelings are common and that there is no shame in experiencing the emotions or physical effects listed below.
If you having experienced any of the following, and you feel these symptoms are having a significant negative impact on your life, it is time to consider counselling:
If you are struggling with feelings associated with grief and bereavement, Rehab 4 Addiction can help you make sense of your internal confusion. If you are struggling with grief alone, bereavement counselling aims to validate your feelings and offer non-judgemental support.
The first step towards healing in the bereavement process is opening up and talking to someone else about your feelings, whether that’s a family member, a colleague, a friend, or a trained counsellor.
Below we have listed the most common and effective types of counselling and therapy for you to consider:
Cognitive-behavioural therapy is a form of talk therapy that will allow you to learn about what you are going through, have a safe space to vent and process, and learn valuable coping skills that will help you handle your grief.
This kind of therapy is very common and goof for people who are ready to take action to help themselves process loss and get better.
Mindfulness allows you to take the time to identify how you are feeling and then take steps to help yourself feel better. Learning mindfulness can help you move towards acceptance and live in the present.
When going through bereavement, look towards the future or the past can be painful, so learning how to live in the moment can be extremely beneficial.
No matter what kind of grief you are going through, attending group sessions with other people experiencing similar pain can be extremely beneficial.
Often when people are grieving, they feel extremely alone, so having a support system of people who understand is vital to their recovery process.
Complicated grief is when someone feels unable to bounce back. Of course, in the beginning, daily tasks will be hard for everyone, but with complicated grief, it does not get easier.
Usually, you can identify grief as complicated grief about six months after bereavement, but it is different for everyone. There are a few factors that go into complicated grief.
It could be due to a person’s personality type, their relationship with the person who died, how or when the person died, or existing mental health conditions.
It is common to feel an overwhelming amount of emotions when dealing with grief, all of which come and go in various phases or sparked by different events and triggers.
Below is a list of what is known as the seven stages of grief:
Even if you knew that the person was quite possibly going to die when the day actually comes, most people will feel completely shocked and possibly not even believe that it actually happened.
When a person finds out someone has died, they often will begin to deny that it has happened. Often people will say things like "that can't be true" and "this must be a misunderstanding.'
The degree of anger depends on the person, but most people experience some form of anger when they are grieving. It may be entirely internal, simply verbal, or some people may resort to breaking things, getting aggressive with others, and possibly even hurting themselves.
At some point, people will try to bargain with God or the universe or someone in their life to get the person back. This is natural, and if someone you know is doing it, it is important to be there for them and for them but not convince them that bargaining will work.
People feel guilty when they lose someone, even if they had nothing to do with it. Most people will believe that there must have been something that they could have done to prevent the person from dying, or they may feel guilty for surviving when the other has died.
After people have finished denying it and being angry and trying to bargain, the sadness that has been overshadowed by other emotions will set in. Sometimes people experience sadness and sorrow, but other times people experience deep depressions.
It may feel like you or someone you care about will never get to this phase, but it does come eventually. The person may not immediately return to how they were before when they accept it, but they will begin to seem more and more like themselves again.
Just like any strong emotion, grief can create physical problems and symptoms in the human body. Here are some of the most common feelings:
When someone takes their own life, the grieving process for everyone left behind is different than it is for any other death. The symptoms may be different, but the degree and the process may be different.
Often people can feel angry at the person, extremely guilty, confused, and countless other overwhelming and conflicting emotions. When processing someone’s suicide, it is important to accept whatever emotion you feel.
It is also essential to have support from other people that have lost someone to suicide. You can consider going to a support group. Having people in your life who can relate to what you are experiencing can be extremely beneficial.
Losing a child can be especially difficult because no parent expects to outlive their child. It is a kind of grief that people do not expect ever to experience.
Losing a grandparent, a parent, or even a peer is more expected than losing a child. It is important to make sure to take care of yourself after losing a child.
Once again, support groups can be extremely beneficial as you will be able to make a support system out of people who can understand what you are going through.
When a spouse or partner dies, usually everything in your life seems to shift as there are lots of secondary losses.
It is important to give yourself time to grieve the primary and the secondary losses, but also remember that when you are ready to move on, there is nothing wrong with that.
You are not on a schedule, and there is nothing that you have to be feeling. Let your grieving process be your own.
There are a few things you can do to help yourself when seeking support. First, lean on friends and family in your life.
It is okay to depend on people right now, every if you have always seen yourself as strong and self-sufficient. Let people help you with whatever you need.
Second, lean on people outside of your friends and family. Go to support groups and talk to a counsellor. This can be a scary step, but the best thing is to force yourself to do it once, it will be a lot easier the second time.
At Rehab 4 Addiction, we offer high-quality bereavement treatment & counselling tailored to your individual needs.
To discover your road to recovery, call us today on 0800 140 4690 and start letting grief go.