…I’ve learned that in the course of our life we leave and are left and let go of much that we love. Losing is the price we pay for living. It is also the source of much of our growth and gain.” Judith Viorst.
What is grief?
As, Ellen McSweeney, wrote in our blog about Grief & Trauma, the process of “grief includes any situation where change and loss are happening.” She adds, that major identity shifts, leaving home or changing and losing jobs, also bring about grief. In a separate blog entry, Ellen reminds us, in another one of our blogs, that grief and love go together. Loss of a relationship we care about brings pain precisely because of our loving feelings towards that person. In therapy, one of the first experiences of grief can come when we recognized that we are leaving the old self that brought us to therapy and welcoming the person we are becoming.
Normal vs. complicated grief:
Grief not only affects us emotionally. Our bodies react to grief by robbing us of our usual levels of energy, causing changes in our sleeping and eating habits, and at times, our emotional pain can gets expressed through physical pain and discomfort (headaches, upset stomach, etc). We may also find ourselves having difficulty with concentration, memory, and making decisions. Spiritually, it’s normal to experience conflicts with our religious beliefs, anger at at higher power, and a loss of sense of meaning and purpose.
At times, people may find it very difficult to heal after the loss of a loved one. When we have had traumatic losses or a our relationship to the deceased/lost one has been complicated, the grieving process can become truncated. We call this complicated grief or persistent bereavement disorder. Therapy can help you process your loss, find acceptance, and eventually move forward with your life.