Grief is the emotional response to any type of loss. Perhaps of a loved one due to death or divorce, but also the loss of a job, a pet, financial stability, or safety after trauma. Feelings of grief can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to know how to manage and overcome these emotions. It is important to have patience with yourself and others during this process as it is a healthy part of healing. If you are having trouble coping on your own, or know of someone who could use extra support, a therapist can assist.
There is no orderly process of passing through grief. Those "5 stages of grief" you may have heard about is an old outdated theory than has been proven to be an inaccurate representation of a person's very unique and individual grieving process. Everyone experiences loss differently based on their personality, culture, age, gender, values, and beliefs, among many other factors. Additional influences on the grieving process include the type of loss or how the person died, such as accident, suicide, overdose, illness, or homicide. And for some, it is unknown if the person is still alive or not, or if the death was intentional. And then we may be struggling with all the secondary losses that often result of something or someone that has been lost to us, such as a home or family.
Common symptoms of grief include:
Shock and disbelief: feeling numb about the event, having trouble believing it happened, denying it, or expecting to suddenly see the person you lost.
Sadness: crying, or having feelings of emptiness, despair, yearning, or loneliness.
Guilt: regret over things unsaid or undone, feeling responsible for the death or the event, feeling guilty for moving forward, or shame from feeling relieved by a person’s passing.
Anger: blaming someone for injustice.
Fear: feelings of anxiety, helplessness, and insecurity, or having panic attacks.
Physical symptoms: fatigue, nausea, weight loss or gain, aches and pains, and insomnia.