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What is Grief?

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Grief is generally associated with suffering a great loss. Grief can be caused by the loss of a loved one or even the realization of an impending loss (such as a terminal illness). Grief is not characterized by a single emotion; as a matter of fact, grief usually consists of a wide variety of emotions that ebb and flow as time passes. People grieve differently and for different lengths of time, but all grief is marked by periods of intense emotional pain.

Common Symptoms of Grief

A Feeling of Numbness
Most grievers will report a sense of disbelief or numbness at the very beginning of the grief experience. This initial period can vary in length of time for each individual, but is generally brief. Both physical and/or emotional numbness can be experienced. The numbness may actually be the body and mind's attempt to protect itself from the intense emotions. In time, most individuals will find that they can begin to sort through the thoughts and emotions, and the numbness will pass.

Did You Know

That every year 11.6 million adults in the U.S. lose a parent? (That is 5% of the total population in this country, making parental loss the single most common cause for bereavement.)

Emotional Roller Coaster
Many grievers experience a wide variety of emotions that may go from highs to lows. Examples of some common feelings are anger, guilt, remorse, relief, sadness, restlessness, numbness, fear, and forgetfulness. In addition, grievers will often cry at unexpected times. These emotions are often stronger than the sense of rationalization. For example, the griever may consciously know that it is silly to cry at a sad commercial, but the emotions override the rational thought.

Changes in Sleeping and Eating Patterns
Grievers often report that they are not able to sleep or that they sleep all the time. Eating patterns are often affected in the same way. Either the griever reports no appetite or that he/she wants to eat all the time. The physical effects are often startling, as grievers can lose or gain a lot of weight in a short period of time. Again, the extreme emotional response to grief affects the body as a whole and has very real physiological consequences.

Recovering from Grief

Some cultures have prescribed grieving rituals that guide the griever through the process and end after a certain amount of time. However, most of us in Western culture do not have a plan or pattern for grief... We deal with it as it comes, and each individual grieves differently. There are certain steps that one can take to begin the recovery from grief. These include the following:

  • Recognize and feel the pain
  • Give yourself time to heal
  • Talk about your loss with people you trust
  • Be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself
  • Pamper yourself
  • Do not isolate yourself during holidays and anniversaries
  • Seek help from others (join a grievers' support group or speak with a counselor)
  • Help others who may be grieving
  • Look for the gifts in your life
  • Don't lose hope
  • Trust in the process of grieving (the process is what heals you)

Find the Hope Again

Grief is natural and it is powerful, but it does not need to consume your life. Let MyExpertSolution help you navigate the waters of grief and help you find your way back to the life you want. Our experts are caring and capable, and they understand the nature of your suffering. Ask for help and begin to find the hope in your life once more.

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