Bereavement and loss can hit us hard. The greif and pain of losing a loved one, the emptiness, the loneliness. It can take time to learn to adjust to loss. We often feel that grief is not something we can control or ‘put right’. We can feel that it is a hopeless situation and it can affect every aspect of our lives.
Types of loss
As well as bereavement, we can experience feelings of loss at other times, for instance, the end of a relationship, during a divorce or break up. In addition, we can experience feelings of loss at the end of a special friendship or when we lose a job, maybe through redundancy.
How might I feel?
Initially, it is not unusual to feel numb or ‘dazed’ as the shock of what has happened takes over. Feelings can be over-whelming and we can feel that we have no control over our emotions as they swell and spill over in an outpouring of our grief.
We can feel shocked, sad, hopeless and sometimes angry. For instance, angry with someone, a situation or angry with ourselves about something we did or didn’t do, said or didn’t say. Our emotions can then turn to feeling guilt or ‘if only’ thoughts.
What do other people say about it?
Clients often say that it can be difficult to talk to family and friend in these situations because they are conscious of protecting their feelings and they try to avoid upsetting them. As a result, they sometimes feel that they don’t have anyone to really open up to or discuss their emotions with.
Ways in which bereavement and loss could affect me…
Loss can affect our relationships; we can get angry with others. People don’t know what to say to us and we can assume that people are avoiding us or don’t really care. We can feel anxious as we contemplate the change and uncertainty in our lives.
If a loved one has passed away, we can question our own mortality and that of friends and family.
It is not unusual to feel low or depressed.
Self Help, what can I do?
Try to recognise your feelings as ‘normal’ and to remember that we all experience loss in different ways. There are no right or wrong ways to feel and there is no time limit on how long you feel bereft. Clients often say, ‘I should have cried when he passed away’ or ‘I should be over this now’. This self-imposed pressure only adds to the hurt.
How can we support you?
We have specialist bereavement and loss counsellors who can support you and give you the space to talk through your feelings.