Dealing with grief is difficult for all of us. Grief is a natural response to a loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. The more significant the loss, the more intense your grief will be. The grief of a loved one’s loss is often the cause of the most intense type of grief—but any loss can cause it. Sometimes people are not even aware that they are grieving. It doesn’t have to be the loss of a some “one”, it can be the loss of some “thing”.
You might grieve after moving away from home, graduating from school, or a change of career, or the loss of a much loved pet. If the person, animal, relationship, or situation was significant to you, it’s normal to grieve the loss you’re experiencing. This is part of life’s cycle but there are ways to help cope with the pain and, eventually, to find a way to pick up the pieces and move on with your life. It may not seem that that is possible today, but it is.
When you’re grieving, it’s important to take care of yourself. Accept you have had a loss and that it can cause stress to your system, not just emotionally. It can quickly drain your energy reserves. Combat stress and fatigue by getting enough sleep, eating right, and exercising. Don’t use alcohol or drugs to numb the pain of grief or to lift your mood artificially. By looking after your physical and emotional needs you will help yourself to cope.
Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel. Your grief is your own, and no one else can tell you when it’s time to “get over it.” Let yourself feel whatever you feel without embarrassment. It’s okay to be angry and to cry – or not as the case may be. It’s also okay to laugh, to find moments of joy, and to let go when you’re ready. But only you can decide when you’re ready.
Some people try to suppress their grief, but they can’t avoid it forever. In order to heal properly, you have to accept that it has happened. If you try to avoid those feelings of sadness and loss, you will prolong the grieving process and unresolved grief can lead to complications such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems. You can express your feelings in a creative way. For example, you could create a journal and write about your loss. If you are worried about anyone reading it, simply paint or draw over it. Some people use the journal to write a letter saying the all things they never got to say. Others make a scrapbook or photo album that celebrates the person’s life.
You will never forget the person but over time, the pain eases. If the grief is prolonged, it can start interfering with your ability to do basic daily tasks. You may have feelings of intense sadness, bitterness and anger that seem to worsen, and difficulty thinking about happy memories. If this is the case, it’s important to seek help.