Most people appreciate that grief is a natural response to loss. It can be one of the most difficult experiences that we face. What is less well known is that grief, in and of itself, is not actually an emotion. Rather, it is a combination of a number of different emotions, thoughts, and feelings, such as anger, sadness, numbness, hopelessness, despair, and even joy and relief, which can cause guilt and shame. People can often cycle through these seemingly polar opposite states in a relatively quick fashion. For instance, it’s not uncommon for someone to feel really sad in one moment, angry in the next, and then relief followed by guilt for feeling relief. Or, any other combination of these states. This can often leave the person confused as to why they feel the way they do.
While many people do not need the help of a professional to help navigate through grief and loss, others find that they need to get perspective or clarity on how they’re handling the grieving process. Or, there are times when the loss of a loved on is traumatic in some way, in which case, normal grieving may not occur. Rather, a form of complicated grieving takes place, which can render the person overwhelmed.
Sometimes, grief can also turn into depression. A few of the distinctions that help differentiate between the two is when the person becomes really negative and critical towards him/herself (their self value is compromised), they are too debilitated to function in many of their usual activities, or they might be seriously pondering suicide.
If you or a loved one is struggling with issues of grief and loss and are wanting extra support, or are wondering if it would be helpful to come in, please feel free to contact me.