Grief and Loss
The loss of a person, a pet, a relationship, a home, an ability, or any other experience or part of your life can be difficult, if not devastating. While everyone’s experience of grief is unique, grief is typically associated with feelings of sadness and can also bring up feelings of anger, guilt, and regret. You might find yourself having multiple, seemingly conflicting feelings at once or oscillating from one feeling to the next. This is common in the grieving process.
While there are different theories about how people move through mourning, one thing is clear – the grieving process works on an individual timeline; how you come to understand and process a loss will be different from how someone else approaches a similar loss. Some will face the loss head on, while others will approach the grieving process in small, palatable doses. Bereavement is a cognitive, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual process. How you think, feel, act, connect to others, and connect to your faith or a higher power (or not) can all influence how you grieve. Your progress can be intensified by preexisting mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, as well as the experience of prior losses, potentially creating a cumulative effect. Grief is termed “complicated” when it interferes with daily functioning for a prolonged period of time. Traumatic grief can occur following the experience of a trauma and is typified by increased arousal and hypervigilance, along with other symptoms typically associated with trauma.
If you are concerned about coping with a loss, or if it feels like you’re becoming depressed as a result of your loss, grief counseling might be important to consider. At Gatewell, we can help you work through the intense feelings associated with your loss so that you can get back to living. Grief counseling often uses principles from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help you examine your thoughts around the loss, as well as take specific actions that will help you cope more effectively. In tandem with grief counseling, it is important to engage in regular self-care, to seek out social support, and to practice patience and self-compassion with yourself.