Bereavement and Grief

WHAT IS BEREAVEMENT AND GRIEF?

Bereavement/ Grief can be defined as the time we spend adjusting to loss. These losses are not restricted to the death of someone close to you as they can include other life altering losses such as loss of your physical health, your job or home. There is no right or wrong way to feel during this period, nor any time limiting what has happened, learning to adjust to life without that person, job or home and trying to get along as best you can.

Losing someone important to you is one of the most difficult things a person can go through in life. Grief is a natural reaction and it can shake everything up – your beliefs, your personality and even your sense of reality. It manifests itself in a huge number ways. Some people get angry, some withdraw into themselves and sometimes it can become more serious and lead to depression.


SYMPTOMS OF BEREAVEMENT & GRIEF

  • Sorrow
  • Longing
  • Numbness
  • Sadness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Hopelessness
  • Loneliness
  • Despair

Stages of Bereavement

There are four stages of bereavement that people frequently go through. Not everyone experiences all these stages, in the same order or time points but most of us will go through them at some point:

  • Accepting the loss happened
  • Experiencing the pain that comes with grief
  • Adjusting to life without what you have lost
  • Putting less emotional energy into your grief and moving on

You can compare grief to waves on a beach. Sometimes those waves are calm and gentle but sometimes they are so powerful that they can knock you down. This can lead to you not wanting to get out bed, forgetting to take care of your hygiene or appearance and not eating properly. It could lead to you starting to drink more alcohol, take drugs, or act recklessly and even start to have suicidal thoughts. If you begin to see these symptoms you need to seek help.

Grief and depression share many common symptoms. The main difference being that grief generally comes on in waves and a grieving person is able to forget their sadness for certain lengths of time whereas depression is like a cloud that hangs over everything and never goes away. Grief can turn into depression and if this happens it is important to seek help from your doctor or see a therapist.


WAYS TO TREAT BEREAVEMENT & GRIEF

  • Time: While initially a huge shock that may change your life completely, bereavement and grief naturally gets better over time as you manage to come to terms with your loss.
  • Speaking to a therapist. Bereavement therapy and therapies such as CBT can provide support during these very difficult times Talking about your loss can assist you to adjust to your new life and guide you through the stages of bereavement whilst offering support. Therapy can give you strategies that suit you to help deal with your loss and ways to overcome this and move forward with a positive attitude in your life.