The emotional reaction produced by the grief process includes many feelings labelled as negative: anger, anxiety and fear, guilt, depression. Some general ways of dealing with these are:
- Practicing forgiveness
- Speaking to someone either informally in friendship or formally in counselling
- Having specific strategies to manage one aspect of your grief. For example with anger you may try talking to an empty chair, imagining the person sitting there and you are expressing your displeasure (well shouting) at them letting them know how you feel and why. More information in the blog How to deal with the emotions of grief.
Journaling is way of putting your feelings onto paper. This can help you sort through and identify them, release them, and express your hurts without lashing out at others. It can stop the thoughts from swirling around in your head. Learn more about journaling.
Verbally voicing your feelings to a ‘safe’ family member or friend is good. You will need to choose someone who loves you unconditionally, no matter what you express and can hold confidentiality. Don’t be surprised if you tell the same story over and over again as you process what has happened and how you are feeling.
For those who are Christians, you are encouraged in the Bible to take your distress to God. There are numerous examples of people crying out to God in their distress (often telling Him what they think of Him), especially in the book of Psalms. The eBook ‘7 Days of God’s love – encouragement for those who have experienced the end of a relationship’ has examples of this. Click on the button below to access it.
Complicated or stuck in grief
Healing from grief is two-fold: the pain decreases and ability to function increases. When the ‘feelings of loss are debilitating and don’t improve even after time passes,’1 you may be stuck in your grief, or more technically have ‘complicated grief’.
Some signs of this are:
- You can’t accept what has happened
- Or its all you can focus on
- You withdraw from others
- You no longer do what you normally would
- Or you are overly involved with work or a hobby
- You have a dependence on drugs, alcohol or medications
- You may experience physical illness
If you need help to process, or you think you are stuck in complicated grief, accessing specialist grief support services can help. You can talk to your GP, a counsellor or mental health professional for recommendations in your local area.
- Mayo Clinic, 1998-2016 Complicated grief – definition Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/complicated-grief/basics/definition/con-20032765 accessed 7/10/16