Struggling with grief? Here’s how to help yourself
Although we each deal with grief in our own individual way, there are some
broader pointers which could help if you are struggling with your grief.
Firstly, acknowledge that there are stages to grief. This is normal when we are
dealing with bereavement.
Treat these stages as phases, and they are fluid, coming and going until we are
healed. These stages of grief can take place at any time in life. So, it is
important to recognise them and identify our triggers
Next, reflect on what has taken place up to this point – how have you dealt
with your loss so far?
It is important to recognise there are different types of grief – such as
complicated grief (when our relationship with the deceased has been
conflicted/difficult) or anticipatory grief (we have expected the death to take
place due to a terminal illness, for example).
There is also disenfranchised grief, when we may not feel we have the ‘right’
to grieve, and often find ourselves grieving alone as we find ourselves
responding to society’s expectations
Sudden death can bring different challenges, as we are in a state of shock, so it
is important to seek outside help if possible (a GP could help here as they have
access to resources such as support groups for the bereaved.
Prolonged grief may need further support, such as medication and therapy, so
it may be useful to seek help if you feel you are not making progress with your
feelings of loss, as depression can set in and grief can become chronic.
Express your grief in a way with which you are comfortable – writing, creating
something, talking to the deceased. If you prefer to work through the grief on
your own, then the internet offers support which is confidential and does not
need to include your family or friends.
There is no time limit to grief and comparing our grief to the experience of
others is futile; although finding a confidante who can just sit and listen and
not judged is useful. This helps us to make sense of our past and have hope for
The feeling of loss never goes away. It needs to be integrated and given a
space in our lives. We can learn to accommodate it.