Coping with your Loss

Bereavement is a very sad and difficult time, and grief is a natural and normal response to the death of someone who was very important and significant.

Each individual’s experience of grief is unique, and will often depend on their own personality and the relationship they had with the person who has died, as well as the circumstances surrounding the loss.  There are also other factors, such as upbringing, beliefs or religion, age and our physical and mental health, which are all factors.

For many people, the feeling of grief is unbearable and overwhelming, however, it is a very important and necessary process.  The intensity of anguish can reflect the strength of the love and affection you had for the person who has died. You may feel shocked by the intense and extreme feelings and the pains can feel physical as well as emotional.

Often, people are taken aback by the feelings and emotions they experience during this time of sadness and people act in many different ways, which may not be typical of that person.  Grief is natural and consists of several key emotions:

  • Anxiety

  • Helplessness

  • Shock, numbness or disbelief are all very understandable emotions

  • Anger, including feeling angry at the person who has died for “leaving you behind”

  • Feeling withdrawn

  • Sadness

  • Guilt

 

These are a common response to grief and knowing this can help people to feel they are normal and it is important to know that these feelings will pass.  There is no time limit on how long someone will feel this way, some people will need longer than others.  You will eventually adjust to your loss and these intense feelings will ease.

Make sure you give yourself time to grieve and allow yourself a period of adjustment. Be patient. The following may provide some comfort:

  • Talking – Can help the healing process and soothe painful emotions.  Many people find comfort in sharing their story with others.

  • Sadness – You’re allowed to feel sad and crying helps your body to release tension. Don't feel ashamed to cry.

  • Sleep – Dealing with such intense emotions can make you very tired, be sure to rest whenever you need to.

  • Eat – A healthy, well-balanced diet can help you cope with your emotions. Try to avoid things that “numb” the pain, such as alcohol.  You may be left feeling worse once the affects wear off.

  • Some people, after losing somebody close to them like to have a keepsake made in memory of the person who has died, this can be a great comfort and might include preserving funeral flowers or having a cushion made from clothing belonging to the person who has died by way of an example.

 

Accepting help should not be seen as weakness and you may find it helps you to talk to:

  • Your family and friends

  • Your local hospital, Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

  • Your GP, many surgeries are able to offer counselling and for some people bereavement can trigger depression so it could be beneficial to visit your doctor

  • Many church parishes can provide a bereavement visiting team

  • Some funeral directors are able to offer bereavement support services

  • Cruse is the largest national organisation supporting bereaved people in the UK providing one to one support by trained volunteer support workers.

  • Private counselling is available and they will charge for their service. Usually the scale of fees is determined by your own income.

 

It is important for you to seek help if:

  • You don’t feel able to cope with overwhelming emotions or daily life;

  • The intense emotions aren't subsiding;

  • You’re not sleeping;

  • You're becoming dependant on alcohol or drugs;

  • You have symptoms of depression or anxiety;

  • Your relationships are suffering;

  • You're having sexual problems;

  • You're becoming accident-prone; or

  • You're caring for someone who isn’t coping well.

 

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