Have you suffered a loss recently? Do you find yourself in deep sadness due to a loss that might or might not be recent? Has this loss fundamentally impacted your life to the extent that you are unable to carry on with your day-to-day routine? Does it feel like being thrown off balance where you cannot focus on work or personal relationships? Are you unable to process the experience of loss, and as a result, it seems to be taking over your life?
Maybe you have tried to shut the grief by suppressing how you feel, hoping that it would go away. Or it very well could be that you feel guilty and berate yourself for grieving too long and not being able to bounce back to your usual self. Or that you might have tried other unhelpful coping mechanisms to mask your grief and deal with the loss, only making matters worse.
It's crucial to understand that grief stemming from loss can look different from person to person. Just as the very definition of loss can vary. Grief resulting from the loss of a loved one passing away is natural- whether it’s a person or a pet. But grief could also be due to a loss wherein a relationship has ended due to separation or divorce. It can also be due to estrangement from a family member. What's more, loss of relationships with friends or family, perhaps because they have moved away, or the loss of health and the ability to do things, as usual, can all result in grief.
Additionally, grieving can very well be for what is lost, not necessarily a person or a relationship but also a place, often home or somewhere you felt safe. Big moves or sudden changes can result in a sense of loss and grief. The typical understanding that grief is primarily an emotional response to death is too limited. In reality, grief intrinsically is a response to someone or something being lost or gone.
Grief can no doubt leave you feeling overwhelmed. It's important to understand that loss and grief are a part of life, and all of us will experience them in some form or another. While some, through the support and help of friends and family, can find a way to cope and deal with loss/ bereavement, others might find it challenging to live and process grief and the plethora of emotions it brings. And that's perfectly alright. What's important is to understand that there is a solution, and with the help of a registered psychologist, you will be able to make sense of your loss and grief. A trained mental health professional is qualified to support you through the process of grief and at the same time guide you at your own pace so that you are able to deal with the feelings of loss. Grief counselling happens in a safe and supportive environment where you can confidently share your feelings and seek help.
So, whether you have lost a loved one or are dealing with the loss of another important aspect of your life, grief counselling can help you find meaning and understand its significance, gently and securely. Seeking help to manage grief can allow you to harness your inner strengths, enabling you to learn useful coping skills that make you feel better.
Loss and grief can leave you with myriad emotions, including sadness, guilt, anger, loneliness and anxiety. These are perfectly natural reactions, and they occur when responding to loss. What's more, other emotional and physical manifestations of grief could result in exhaustion, difficulty focusing, loss of appetite, upset stomach, muscle tension, altered sleep patterns and continuous crying. Additionally, you can also feel a lack of faith or a need to search for meaning, resulting in an exploration of religion or spirituality. As mentioned earlier, grief can result in a range of emotions. But what's crucial to remember is that there is no right or wrong way of grieving.
You should consider seeing a professional psychologist when you cannot function at your natural pace, whether at home or work, despite several weeks/months of having suffered the loss. When the symptoms, for instance, a lack of concentration, depression, or the feeling of emptiness, seem to worsen, disrupting your life as you knew it before you suffered the loss.
Grief is a natural response to loss and, to a large extent, inevitable for all human beings. Moreover, grief is a powerful emotion that, as a society, makes us uncomfortable, and therefore we are taught to suppress or deal with it hurriedly. In reality, grieving requires an attitude of assurance that is suggestive of - "as long as it takes" where it's beneficial to practise self-compassion and love instead of berating oneself for one's feelings. It's helpful to keep in mind that we grieve differently, and opting for professional support to cope or make sense of it is more than alright.
Unsure about asking for help?
You may have some concerns about grief counselling.
What to expect in grief counselling?
Grief counselling happens in a safe environment that allows you to share details of your loss, emotions and feelings. This space is for you and your therapists to set some therapy goals, which could include, for instance, expressing your feelings at your own pace regarding the loss and eventually identifying the complicated emotions like shame, guilt and or anger. Grief counselling also is about helping you accept the loss and come to terms with it. With the help of your trained mental health professional, you can learn helpful coping techniques that allow you to deal with your loss and grief.
How long is too long for grieving?
There is no right or wrong way of grieving. Your grief is valid - irrespective of how recent or long ago you experienced your loss. We all grieve differently, and our response to loss is unique. Therefore, instead of being harsh or suppressing your feelings, it is beneficial to give it time and seek help so that you can learn positive coping skills and process your grief in a safe and supportive environment.
At Ward & Associates, we believe that a positive alliance is imperative for any healing to take place. Ours is an approach that is based on the individual needs and requirements of our clients. Together, we will begin this journey of healing where you will find us at every step with you, whether it's setting your personal goals or inculcating the skills that ensure your growth. Our trained therapists at Ward & Associates are competent, sensitive and encouraging with a client-centric approach. The therapy sessions aim to provide you with a safe and supported space where your healing and wellbeing can take precedence.
It is beneficial to remind yourself that grief is not a weakness or a failure. More importantly, it is not your fault. If you reach out for help, we promise to be there for you.
If you're looking for anxiety and depression counselling in Sherwood Park, Ward & Associates Psychological Services is here for you. We specialize in individual counselling for adults, teens, and children and couples counselling and trauma counselling for first responders. We also offer online therapy for clients residing in Alberta. Contact us to learn more about our services or to book an appointment.