Have you suffered from a major loss in recent past? Maybe it wasn’t so recent, but maybe you’ve just put off dealing with it for a while and been unsure what you could do about it? If so, I have some suggestions that will help you get through it.
Who Suffers From Grief and Loss
As I have mentioned in a previous post, everyone suffers losses in their lifetime. They aren’t just limited to losing a loved one or major relationship. They include financial losses, health losses, displacement from natural disasters and tragedies, relocating to a different part of the country, and the list goes on and on. Not all of these losses affect each person in the same way, but they are all losses nonetheless.
How To Tell If You Need Help Coping With Grief
You can tell if you have sadness when you think about the loss, or if you have guilt feelings with respect to the loss. Sometimes people get angry as a reaction to grief, while other just deny that they’re suffering. If you have denial about it, you can only tell because others think it is an issue. Regardless of what your symptoms are, you’re probably not accepting of the loss in some way. That doesn’t mean you don’t tell yourself everything is okay, but it’s more about how you feel when some memory of the loss is triggered. This is where it’s crucially important to be honest with yourself, otherwise you’re probably just giving into denial.
The 5 Things You Can Do In Coping With Grief
Once you do realize you are suffering from grief and loss, there are some concrete things you can do that I’ve found for myself and my clients are really helpful:
Frontload Your Social Support Network: What this means is that once you realize you’ve suffered a significant loss, don’t just isolate. When you talk to friends and loved ones, as them to reach out and call or text you on some ongoing basis. This is because as someone who is dealing with grief and loss you aren’t likely to reach out to others, so if they call or contact you it takes you off the hook for initiating contact.
Keep a Journal About Your Loss or Loved One: Not every loss requires this or lends itself to this, but if you’ve lost a loved one having a special place or time to write about them can help you process the loss fully and completely. It could be a special notebook or book with blank pages you can make entries in and dedicate to your loved one. Making regular entries or when you are feeling particularly sad can really help.
Read About Grief and Loss: Doing this will help you realize you aren’t the only one who suffers from this, and read books and articles that are designed to be helpful (like this one). If you learn new ways to cope with your grief you can adopt them for yourself and pass them on to others who might benefit from them.
Make Self-Care a Priority: Whatever you have done in the past to take good care of yourself, by all means make sure you are doing it now. That is because at this time you need more support than at most other times, so make sure you are eating nutritious meals, getting enough sleep (or rest if you can’t sleep), exercise regularly, etc.
Consider Grief Support Groups: This is not for everyone, but most people can benefit from attending groups where others have suffered major losses. There are various organizations and churches that offer these, so doing a Google search in your area can be a good way of finding out about these.
What I Can Do to Support You
I have helped well over a hundred people who have suffered some kind of major loss, as well as dealing with losses of my own that have led me to adopt numerous ways of helping others in getting over their losses. If you want to find out more about how I might be able to help you as well, I encourage you to give me a call at 512-374-0100 or email me at email@example.com. You can also fill out the form below and I will contact you about arranging a time when we can talk about what to do to help you overcome grief and loss. Whatever you do, know that although others may not have experienced the same exact loss as you, they can relate to the feelings however unique you may feel they are.
About the author: Scott Kampschaefer, LCSW is a private practice therapist in Austin, Texas. He has an extensive background in working with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and grief issues at a clinic for older adults with these disorders in Austin. He now works with adults and adolescents of all ages in private practice.