Bereavement: Dealing with Grief
Grief is the range of emotions we can go through after loss. It’s normal, personal and affects everyone differently. It’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to feel after someone you know has died.
Some of the most common symptoms can be shock or feeling numb, overwhelming sadness with lots of crying, exhaustion, anger, or guilt.
These powerful feelings may appear at different times, change, pass or reappear unexpectedly.
Grief is a form of stress, and as with other types of stress, it can produce physical symptoms as well as emotional ones. Exhaustion, we mentioned, can be physical and mental, often alongside disturbed sleep or senses of restlessness or hyperactivity. You may overeat to find comfort, not want food, or feel sick. Aches, pains, and panic attacks are other ways that stress can show itself physically.
As we said, grief is a personal experience, and we all feel it differently, but there are five generally recognised stages which you might be familiar with.
- Denial – shock, disbelief, and confusion about what has happened.
- Anger – blaming yourself or others
- Depression – feeling tired, helpless, and hopeless
- Bargaining – asking the ‘what if..’ questions
- Acceptance – being able to move forward
While the grieving process is natural and normal, it’s important to say that there is help available if your feelings become overwhelming and impact your health or your ability to function day-to-day.