Loss and Grief
Loss and the resulting grief you experience can be one of life’s most stressful events and can be a complex emotion to live with and tricky to navigate.
Loss can come in many forms, such as:
- Divorce or relationship breakup
- Loss of health
- Losing a job
- Loss of a dream
- Loss of a friendship
Even smaller life transitions can trigger feelings of grief to surface. For instance, graduating college, changing jobs, or moving away from home or into a new apartment can be some situations that may bring up feelings of grief and loss.
What to Expect
The grieving process is a highly individual process that looks different for everyone, which means there is no right or wrong way to experience a loss. Feeling a wide range of emotions is common when dealing with loss, and there isn’t a set amount of time when it comes to how long or when these emotions will appear.
Some emotions that may appear when experiencing a loss are:
While this isn’t an exhaustive list of all of the emotions, you may face, intense and often quickly changing feelings are a normal and common reactions to loss.
However, it’s also important to understand that absorbing the impact of a loss is a process that takes time. While you may never stop missing your loved one, the pain and intense emotions ease over time and allow you to go back to your daily life.
Living with Grief
Learning how to cope when you experience loss is vital to your mental health and wellbeing. Grieving death and implementing coping skills can help you through the process of coming to terms with loss in your life while taking care of your mental health.
Myths Surrounding Grieving
Ignoring these feelings will help me move on faster
Ignoring the pain or other uncomfortable feelings associated with loss may be a short-term solution but usually only worsens the feelings of grief over time. Instead, have patience and allow yourself to feel and process the emotions that come up while deal with your loss.
It may also be helpful to reach out to a friend for support or a mental health professional who can help you process and deal with these emotions and feelings surrounding your loss.
Grieving shouldn’t last more than a few months
There isn’t a specific timetable for the grieving process, and how long it takes to accept loss can significantly vary from person to person. Trying to cut the grieving process short may lead to adverse mental health problems in the future.
However, if the distress you feel from your loss is negatively impacting your life and not decreasing over time, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. Many mental health professionals are trained in helping people navigate the often complex emotions surrounding grief and loss.
I have to ‘be strong,’ or else I’m weak
Crying, feeling sad, or lonely is a common and normal emotion to feel and does not mean that you are weak. On the contrary, showing others your feelings can help other people who are also dealing with loss.
Moving on with your life is disrespectful to the loss you experienced
Moving on means that you have processed, accepted, and come to terms with what has happened – it doesn’t mean that you have forgotten the person you have lost. In fact, moving on while keeping the memory of someone or something you lost is a beautiful way to honor the loss you experienced.