Grief is a natural response to loss.
It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is lost, or when the expectations you have for your life no longer seem realistic or are being realized. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief will be. You may associate grief with the death of a loved one—which is often the cause of an intense type of grief—but other loss also causes grief, including:
> Divorce or relationship breakup
> Loss of health
> Losing a job
> Loss of financial stability
> A miscarriage
> Death of a pet
> Loss of a cherished dream
> A loved one’s serious illness
> Loss of a friendship
> Loss of safety after a trauma
> Selling the family home
Losing someone or something you love or care deeply about is very painful. You may experience all kinds of difficult emotions and it may feel like the pain and sadness you’re experiencing will never let up. These are normal reactions to a significant loss. But while there is no right or wrong way to grieve, there are healthy ways to cope with the pain that, in time, can permit you to move forward.
The single most important factor in healing from loss is having the support of other people. Even if you aren’t comfortable talking about your feelings under normal circumstances, it’s important to express them when you’re grieving. Sharing your loss makes the burden of grief easier to carry. Connecting with others will help you heal.
Therapy is an effective way to learn to cope with the stressors associated with your loss and to manage symptoms with helpful tools and techniques. It is especially important to seek help if you:
> Feel like life isn’t worth living
> Wish you had died with your loved one
> Blame yourself for the loss or for failing to prevent it
> Feel numb and disconnected from others for more than a few weeks
> Are having difficulty trusting others since your loss
> Are unable to perform your normal daily activities