How Grief Can Show Up on the Daily
Experience More - Subscribe to Our Weekly Events Newsletter
By Elena Bishop
When we think of grief and loss, we typically think we only experience it when someone passes away.
The thing about grief is that it can come up in the most unlikely scenarios - feeling a certain way without understanding “why all the emotions?”
And if we don’t address it correctly or flow through the grief process, it can keep us stuck in an uncomfortable emotional state.
What is Grief?
Some examples of grief and loss are during the breakdown of a marriage, when expectations of having a child don’t match the reality, the ending of a job role, moving homes, or having to share custody of your children.
When we feel a situation is out of our control, when we experience an outcome that we weren’t prepared for, or say goodbye to a certain way of life as we know it, it brings up a sequence of emotions to help us emotionally process this new change.
What is the Grieving Process
There are 5 different emotions that we transition through. But the funny thing about the rules of grief is there are no rules!
We can experience them in any order - there is no set duration for each stage, varied intensities, and we can encounter one phase more than once. This will all keep repeating unless the concern has been resolved in our minds and our emotions have processed our feelings to make sense of the new reality.
This isn’t in any order but they will be numbered from 1 to 5 so it’s easier to remember!
The first is denial. Denial is a survival mechanism that keeps us safe emotionally. If we are in denial about a particular situation happening, then we are still able to function at our ‘normal’ capacity. We are still able to focus on daily tasks without thinking too much about what is causing us grief.
Second is bargaining, this is when you reflect upon the situation and analyse if you could have done something different to alter the outcome. Some examples are ‘if only I tried harder”, “I wish I had stood up for myself more”, “I would give anything to go back and change time”, and if I am religious - it can be begging your chosen god or belief system to answer your prayers.
Number three is feelings of anger; anger at why this is happening to you, anger at the people around you that are treating you this way, anger that nothing goes right in your life, anger at yourself because you wish you had done things differently. This anger can show up in many different ways, sometimes it is displaced anger. Have you heard that saying “you take things out on the people closest to you?“ If you have been numb or in denial for some time, then it can present as a “rage haze” where it feels like everything is too much, like a huge explosion, you feel you just snap ... and depending on the anger you are feeling (and your relationship with anger) it can be irrational and even some sensations of blackout.
Next is depression - feelings of sadness about what is happening. It can be a longing for the way that things were or a desire for people to be back in your life again. This depression and sadness can feel like overwhelming fatigue; carrying on without addressing the grief can lead to psychological burnout and exhaustion. It can have profound effects on our mood on how we process our current situation and impacts our hope about what the future looks like for us. This depression can also be intertwined with a fear of the unknown, feeling we are so overwhelmed with things being out of control that it’s almost like we shut down emotionally.
Now, the good news! Acceptance and forgiveness. This is accepting the current situation as it is, and learning to live with your new reality. Forgiving yourself. Being compassionate to yourself. Being kind to yourself about the turmoil you have been experiencing. Give yourself a break. Almost like a sense of peace, because you have had the time and space to process what has happened. This also leads the way to feel in control over your own life again.
Seek Support for Grief and Loss
We think with grief, we should just forget and move on – just get over it!
But, we shouldn't. Grief is about learning your new reality, addressing your underlying feelings and permitting yourself to process what is happening - in your own time. Grief is like a glitter bomb; no matter how much you try to clean it all up - it will always be there ... somewhere.
Your success & happiness will lie in how you flow through the 5 stages - you will come out the other side stronger and in control again.
Would you like to speak to someone about the issues raised in this article? Elena at Supportive Therapy is a qualified and experienced practitioner who listens to you with compassion, understanding and patience.
Contact Elena on: https://supportivetherapy.com.au / [email protected]
Book an appointment today at https://supportivetherapy.com.au or call text: 0447 015 571
74966 - 2023-02-22 03:28:48