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  • Lyn Reed

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.

These are:

- Denial

- Anger

- Bargaining

- Depression

- Acceptance

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 future.

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.

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