Loss and Grief Support
Understanding Your Feelings of Grief
Grief is a normal reaction to loss that can literally turn your world upside down. Your emotions, thought processes, behaviours and physical well-being are all affected by grief. Most people who suffer a loss experience one or more of the following reactions:
Numbness - Shock
Anger or increased irritability
Frustration or annoyance
Inability to concentrate
Change in appetite – eating more or losing appetite
Sleep disturbances – sleeping too much or not at all
Sudden mood swings
Lack of energy
The Grieving Process
There is no ‘time limit’ for resolving feelings of grief. Everyone goes through the grief process at his or her own pace and it is important to have realistic expectations about the various reactions you will experience. For example, you can expect that:
Your grief will take more energy than you would have ever imagined
It will involve many changes and will be continually developing
Your grief will entail mourning – not only for the person you lost – but for all the hopes, dreams and unfulfilled expectations you held
You may have a combination of anger and depression that results in irritability, frustration, annoyance or intolerance
You may have a lack of self-concern and if you find suicidal thoughts are increasingly in your mind, see a doctor or phone our Family Support Counsellor for support
You may experience grief spasms (acute upsurges of grief) that occur suddenly, with no warning
You may have trouble thinking and making decisions, find that you are pre-occupied and forgetful
You may begin a search for meaning and may question your religion and/or philosophy of life
Let yourself grieve – it helps.
There are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ ways to grieve. There are no rules or set timetables. Have no expectations and take all the time you need to grieve in your own way.
Self Care is Essential
Grief is exhausting
Look after yourself as well as you can. Don’t compromise on this. Make sure your daily routine includes regular and nutritious meals and snacks, lots of water to drink, rest and sleep and exercise – even if it’s a brief walk outside to the letterbox and back at first. Consider massage, as many find it deeply relaxing. Avoid using alcohol or drugs or other risks to ease your grief – they can easily become another problem to have to sort out. Keep in touch with friends and family and ask for help.
Find ways to let what is inside, out:
Talk it out with someone you trust
Journal / write it down
Find whatever works for you.
If for any reason you find that you are not managing your loss and grief and would like professional guidance, please contact our Family Support Counsellor on 09 407 7799.