Despite knowing that death is inevitable, the loss of a loved one shakes us to the core and produces strong emotions that can range from sadness to despair and even guilt. Such pain can be extremely overwhelming, which is why some people take a very long time to move past the death of a loved one or end up never truly overcoming it.
It is entirely natural to experience grief when losing something or someone. It can happen at the end of a relationship when a pet dies, or when you are going through massive changes in your life. However, the loss of a loved one brings on a much stronger form of grief called bereavement.
For most of us, grief will eventually pass, but if you feel physical and emotional pain is still present after a long time, it may be useful to speak to a therapist.
At UK Therapy Guide, our affiliate counsellors are trained to help you understand your feelings, move on from the loss and continue living your life.
Symptoms of grief
Even though loss affects each person differently, to some degree, we all experience the same symptoms when going through the loss of a loved one.
On an emotional level, losing someone you love sparks up feelings of disbelief, profound sadness, worries and fears, anger triggered by the need to blame someone or something for what has happened or even guilt over things we did or did not say or do.
Grief is perceived as an emotional process, but it can also trigger a range of physical symptoms, such as nausea, fatigue, insomnia, weight changes and low immunity.
What we often get wrong about grieving
There is no right or wrong way to mourn the loss of a loved one, and the way you grieve is highly influenced by your personality, life experience and beliefs. However, we often misunderstand grieving.
Ignoring your pain, for example, won’t make it go away and being strong isn’t guaranteed to protect you or anyone else. The healthiest way to cope with grief is by acknowledging your feelings and coming to peace with them. If you move on with your life, it does not mean you suddenly forget about the lost ones, but simply accept facts as they are while keeping the memory of your loved one alive.
How can counselling help me overcome losing a loved one?
Therapy has proven to be very effective in overcoming grief, reducing the chances for developing a mental health condition such as depression or PTSD. A grief therapist can help you understand the stages of grief, and connect you with your feelings, developing skills that will ultimately help you further in life.
Therapy won’t make you forget your loved one or skip through the painful feelings, but it will help you accept the events and continue living a healthy life. A professional counsellor will help you set and achieve goals such as:
- Accepting the loss of a loved one
- Identifying which parts of the experience were more traumatic
- Dealing with trauma
- Talking openly about your loved one
- Expressing your emotions in a healthy way
- Coping with the changes that happen after losing a loved one