Dealing with Grief
Grief is the range of feelings and emotions you experience when someone dies. This is a normal reaction. But grief is also expressed differently depending on many factors – so you are unlikely to grieve in the same way as your partner, siblings or friends. This is normal, so don’t compare your feelings to others as this will not be helpful.
Grief produces lots of different emotions – often one after the other, but not in any fixed order
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Common feelings with Grief
Crying and tears.
This is very common especially at a funeral, but also at times before and afterwards. Tears can be caused by lots of different triggers – and this is quite normal.
The initial feeling of sadness is easy to see, but with time this can lead you to dwell on the past and focus on what you have lost.
Some of these feelings are normal to start with but with time should not continue to dominate your life.
What’s the point?
This is where anger becomes dangerous rage or suicidal thoughts creep in. If this is you, then seek help urgently – the Samaritans will talk about anything.
It’s not fair! Grief can make people very angry. You might be angry at the world, the doctors, at God, even at the person for dying. Or just angry.
This is a normal response to grief provided it does not turn in to a dangerous rage. With time, however, it is not good to remain angry for long and you may need to speak to someone or get help to move forward.
If someone has been ill for a long time, you may feel relief or happiness when they die. Sometimes people then feel guilty for not feeling sad!
This should not be the case – in many cases after a long illness, death is a welcome relief and this is a very valid response.
A common reaction to grief is to hide away on your own as talking to friends and family is hard. You think they don’t understand. This might be because you are all reacting differently, but even if family and friends are behaving differently in how they show their grief, most will actually be understanding and happy to listen or talk.
In general, being on your own for long periods of time when grieving is not good for you as you can go round in circles with the same thoughts and not benefit from conversations with others.
Some people feel nothing or become so busy they do not allow themselves to feel anything – it is their way of coping.
You may be working on ‘autopilot’ or not really have processed what has happened. In the short-term, this can be normal, and then you may experience other emotions later.
How long does Grief last?
This varies from person to person. It is very common for the death of a close family member or friend to impact you in some way every day for a year. But after 18 months for most people, their lives should not be dominated by grief except perhaps significant anniversaries.
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Getting help with Grief
After a few months if you feel unable to cope, if you still have intense emotions or are not sleeping, you have symptoms of depression or your other relationships are suffering then you should seek help.
How to get help:
- Talk to your GP
- Speak to a charity such as Cruse Bereavement Care
- Get help directly from a counselling service such as Mynurva
- If feeling very low and suicidal call the Samaritans
When to get help?
Delaying getting help can impact your family and impact your job which is not what a loved one would have wanted.