The Mental Health Minute – Grief and Loss
Grief is a natural reaction to loss. This can mean loss in the form of the death of a loved one, a divorce, loss of independence as we age or even loss of our sense of safety and predictability. Everyone responds to grief in their own way. People cry, laugh, busy themselves with work, throw up or even feel numb. Some recover quickly, while others take their time. Grief is a natural healing process and there is no “right” way to do it. However, trying to maintain self-care and daily routines, as well as having social support to help you through can be helpful. About 10-20% of people will require and seek professional support to assist with their grief.
After resolving the most intense symptoms of grief, people enter the lifelong stage of integrated grief. At this point, you have come to accept the reality of the loss and you’ve resumed daily life activities. This doesn’t mean that you miss your loved one any less, or that you don’t feel pain at the memory of your loss, you have just learned how to cope.
People talk about the “stages” of grief, but you do not have to go through each stage in order to heal. Some people resolve their grief without going through any of the stages and if you do go through the stages you may not experience then in a neat sequential order. Grief can be like a roller coaster, full of ups and downs and tends to be rougher at the beginning.
Other suggestions for dealing with Grief include; asking for help when you need it, talk about your feelings with those close to you, allow yourself time to grieve, talk to others with similar experiences (e.g join a support group), take care of your physical health; exercise, eat healthy meals, limit alcohol use, attend medical check-ups, maintain sleep routine etc. Do something you enjoy as part of your self-care.
If you are finding it difficult to manage on a day-to-day basis and are struggling to cope, it may be helpful to see a counsellor or other health professional. It’s okay to admit you are struggling with your grief.
Australian Centre for Greif and Bereavement – https://www.grief.org.au
Lifeline – https://www.lifeline.org.au