Have you experienced a loss? Grief is a normal, but often, very painful response to loss. There are many reasons we can experience grief in our lifetime. Grief can impact both the mind and body, making it difficult to concentrate or even get out of bed. These are a few examples of experiences that can cause grief:
* Death of a Spouse/Partner
* Death of a Child
* Pregnancy Loss or Miscarriage
* Death of a Friend
* Parental Alienation
* Loss of Relationships
* Losing a Family Member to Addiction
* Loss of a Job
* Long-Term Illness or Disability
* Chronic Pain
* Death of a Beloved Pet
I argue that ALL grief is "complicated" because we are unique and complex human beings. Everyone grieves differently. The stages of grief (listed below) are very real, and yet, are not always experienced in a linear way. A person may jump from one stage to another and then back again, or may skip a few and then return. Grief is like an ocean wave, as one begins to feel relief it is not uncommon for it to unexpectedly come tumbling over dragging one back into the pain, this can feel disruptive and disorienting.
* Denial - The first stage of grief is denial. This happens when one feels disbelief that the loss has occurred. It is not uncommon to feel shock or numbing during this time. Denial can act as a protector to keep a person from becoming overwhelmed by grief.
* Anger - The second stage of grief is anger. Anger is a response related to the fact that a person's life has been changed forever. Anger may also be a response to feeling loss of control, feeling that one is all alone in the world, that others don't understand, or feeling abandoned. This stage often begins when a person begins to 'thaw" and emotions begin to surface. For example, after the funeral when everyone else moves on with their lives and you are realizing that yours will never be the same.
* Bargaining - The third stage of grief is bargaining; this is an attempt to avoid pain by negotiating. For example, making a deal with a higher power. Regret or guilt may sneak in at this stage with the "what ifs?"
* Depression - The forth stage of grief is depression, during this stage one may feel like withdrawing from others and isolating. You may feel overwhelmed and hopeless.
* Acceptance - The fifth and final stage of grief is acceptance. Acceptance is not saying that the loss is ok but rather that you will be ok even with the loss.
* Societal expectations as to what grief "should" look like
* Moving from year one to year two - everyone expects you to be "over it" and chances are you're not! This is normal, by the way!
* Fear that if you heal your will forget your loved one
* Not having a support system that wants to hear about your loved one
* People are uncomfortable with pain, especially pain cause by the death of a loved one. This can leave a grieving person feeling invalidated and isolated.
If left unresolved, symptoms of grief can turn into anxiety, depression, and chronic physical issues. Therapy can provide an outlet that allows you to begin your healing journey. These are some examples of how therapy can be helpful during the grieving process:
* Explore Fears about Healing from Grief
* Building a Support System That Allows You to Process Your Grief
* Learn Coping Skills to Manage Uncomfortable or Distressing Symptoms Related to Grief
* Learn to Embrace Your "New Normal"
* Learn to Move Forward While Keeping your Loved One's Memory Alive.
For the loss of a Child:
For Infant & Pregnancy Loss:
For Pet Loss:
Inner Insight Counseling LLC - Therapy in Beaverton for Grief and Loss