Loss is a universal experience. Death and loss are a natural part of life. They are also a painful part of life. When it’s the death of a partner or the end of a long-term relationship you can be left heartbroken and devastated. A range of emotions is triggered, and these emotions wave in intensity and duration.
What you are experiencing is due to the loss. No matter how much you are told that your grief is necessary, natural or normal you must face the difficult challenge of living with these dark emotions. These may include depression, fear, bitterness, hurt and hopelessness.
Just like a physical wound, the pain of your grief needs attention. Counselling for grief provides a safe space for you to lean into your grief so that you can better understand it, heal from it and grow.
What is Grief?
Grief is the natural response to the loss of someone or something close to you. The landscape of this journey you are on is commonly known as the stages of grief. It is important to know that you do not travel through the stages of grief in a nice neat linear fashion, spending a fixed amount of time on each feeling. It’s more like a wheel. You may find yourself re-experiencing pain, but each time it transforms and you have a deeper understanding of your grief. Gradually it’s less painful.
You navigate your journey with grief in your time and in your own way. What’s important is to grieve. If your grief is unprocessed then this can lead to longer term emotional difficulties such as depression, anger, anxiety and addiction.
The Grief Landscape
There are five stages of grief:
After the initial shock, denial normally follows. You may try to carry on as if the loss had not occurred, cooking for two, going to make the phone call or burying your head in work. Often the denial is coupled with the feeling of shock and numbness.
Anger is a very important part of the healing process. It is vital that you let it in and feel it as much as you can. There is no need to suppress anger, and doing so may interfere with your healing process. The more you honestly feel it, the more it starts to go away. Under the anger is a lot of hurt and pain. You may feel abandoned and betrayed. These are all very normal feelings during the anger stage. You may become angry with yourself, with the person who left you, or with someone else that you are close to.
The bargaining stage is filled with regret and guilt. You try to figure out what could have happened if you had done something differently. Desperately you wish that you could turn the clock back and make a different decision, or really appreciate the relationship while it lasted. Perhaps you might even blame yourself for things you can never do over again.
Once you start focusing on the present, depression is what typically sinks in. It is very normal to feel an intense amount of sadness and depression. It is very normal to feel depressed when you focus on that void and emptiness that is currently in your life. Depression can become even greater when you really start to realise that the person or thing will never come back. The finality of it all is very hard to accept and let in.
Acceptance is acknowledging that there is a piece missing in your life and then integrating that fact into your life. It is not about moving on and being fine with the loss. It is about making new relationships with other people and also with yourself. During this stage, you may start to reach out to others and become more involved in your life. Friendships and relationships will start to change and evolve. Life will take on a deeper meaning because you have given the grief time to heal.
Causes of Grief
Death is not the only time we experience grief. You may recognise these feelings when a romantic relationship comes to an end, you move home, leave a job, lose a pet, are diagnosed with a life changing condition or have a life changing accident.
How I Work With Grief and Loss
Your experience of loss has a specific meaning and is unique. The way in which each person grieves is different; there are no rules. It takes some time to work through your feelings. You may not be able to grieve until some time after the loss. This may be months or even years. It is, however, so important that you do take the time to grieve. Being able to share some of your feelings with a counsellor who can understand and accept them can be a great comfort and relief.
Grief counselling gives you the opportunity to experience your grief in a safe and controlled place. I support you to move you through the times you feel stuck in the past trying to find a way out of the pain and hurt. At the same time, I will also help you to honour the stuckness and be compassionately curious about what meaning there might be for you in this. You will learn how to trust the dark emotions of grief to guide, heal and transform your life.
Grief counselling helps you reach a more peaceful place of acceptance with your loss, gradually moving forward with your life.
Contact Me Today to Talk
Find out more about counselling can support you through grief and loss. Call 07535 864836 or click the Get in Touch button for a FREE 15-minute consultation. I will get back to you as soon as possible.