Grief is a natural response that occurs when we experience loss. It is a universal experience that everyone goes through at some point or another throughout their life’s journey. We grieve because something or someone that we love has been taken away from us, and the pain that we experience as a result is that of grief itself. This blog speaks about the experience of grief and how you can navigate grief in a compassionate way if have experienced the loss of something or someone important to you.

What is grief?

Many often think that grief is restricted to experiencing the death of a loved one. However, the reality is that any form of loss can bring about grief. This can include losing a job, ending a relationship, loss of health or financial stability, a miscarriage, or the death of a pet.

The emotions that can result from grief can be very overwhelming and isolating. One may experience a mix of emotions such as anger, sadness, shock, disbelief, guilt, happiness, and relief. Making sense of these complex emotions can be challenging, and many people often question whether they are grieving in a healthy way. The fact is that loss is a very personal experience, and everyone will grieve in a way that is particular to them. 

Coping with grief

How we cope with loss depends on several factors, including our personality and coping style, our life experiences, our religious/ spiritual beliefs, as well as the nature of the loss itself. The truth is that there is no right or wrong way to grieve, or even a normal way to grieve for that matter.

Grief is a process which needs to unfold in its own way. This also means that how long one experiences grief for is also very personal. Some people start to feel better within a few weeks or months, whereas for others, grief may be a long-term or lifelong experience.  

Pain Associated with Grief

The pain associated with grief can sometimes disrupt a person’s life in a way that impedes their social and/ or occupational functioning. One may find it hard to go on with their life after suffering the tremendous loss of someone or something that is important to them.

This may include struggling to go to work or continue with one’s studies, wanting to isolate oneself, or lashing out at people close to us. Where grief is prolonged and/ or significantly getting in the way of you being able to live your life, it may be beneficial to seek psychological support to help you come to terms with the loss that you have experienced. 

It may be helpful to think of grief as occurring in cycles rather than something that happens in a linear way. There are days when you might feel that you are coping well, and others where you might feel as if the grief is too much to bear. Everyone moves through grief at their own pace, and accepting that you have experienced such a loss does not mean that you are forgetting about your loss. Rather, it means that you are taking care of yourself by acknowledging the loss, and allowing for the healing process to start taking place.

Give yourself permission to feel and express your emotions without judgement, establish a routine, and find healthy ways to navigate grief while continuing to live your life.

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Pamela Borg is a counsellor who enjoys working therapeutically with adults experiencing various issues. These include general mental health and wellbeing, gender, sexuality, relationship issues.