Grief is a complex amalgamation of emotions ranging from sadness to anger that everyone experiences throughout their lifetime. Everyone endures a unique, yet valid grieving process. Many cultures even have a variety of grieving rituals and traditions such as sitting Shiva or attending 40-day memorial services to facilitate the grieving process. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve the loss of a loved one and there’s no set amount of time that makes it easier for mourners to move on with their lives. In many cases, grief never fully subsides, but it can become increasingly manageable over time. A combination of grief counselling and proper self-care techniques can help you manage your grief.
In order for grief self-care to be effective in helping you navigate this difficult period of your life, it’s important to understand the source of your grief. Oftentimes, people tend to associate feelings of grief with the death of a loved one or close friend. But the reality is that grief isn’t just the result of a death. Grief signifies the loss of something that was important to you. It can be anything, whether it’s a person that you cared about or the end of a relationship.
Both circumstances are perfectly valid reasons for feeling a sense of grief. During this difficult time in your life, it’s important not to lose sight of yourself and administer proper self-care techniques to help you get through it. Allow yourself as much time as you need to grieve the loss that you’re feeling and don’t let anyone try to make you feel guilty for it. Most importantly, accept help when it’s available.
Your friends and family are there to help you get through this difficult period of your life, so let them. Communicate with them and let them know that even though you’re not ready to go back to being yourself just yet, that you’ll let them know when you are.
Types of Grief: Normal Grief vs. Complicated Grief
As mentioned, there’s no universal grieving process or mechanism. Everyone grieves differently and in their own time. There is, however, a difference between normal grief and persistent complex bereavement disorder, otherwise known as complicated grief.
Normal grief consists of common symptoms that most people who are grieving feel. Unlike past beliefs, grief isn’t linear. In fact, you might jump back and forth between stages and there’s no appropriate length of time for grieving. You’ll experience a wide range of emotions including disbelief, sadness, anger, guilt, fear, and anxiety. Those feelings can also manifest themselves physically and take a massive toll on your health if they’re not taken care of.
Normal grief can quickly cross over into complicated grief when all the abovementioned symptoms start taking over your life indefinitely. Complicated grief is associated with self-destructive behaviour such as self-harm, distancing yourself from your loved ones, sabotaging your professional life, and so on. Other symptoms can include severe anxiety, complete and utter denial of the situation, and the inability to move on with your life.