At some point in or life, we will all experience grief and loss. While we may hope for some predictable path, the truth is that grief is different for everyone. It comes in waves. It’s unpredictable and sometimes it feels like you’re losing your mind. While it doesn’t look the same for everyone, the good news is that it gets better.
If you’re dealing with the emotional rollercoaster of grief and loss, it’s important to be prepared for some of the things you might experience so you can remember that they are perfectly normal. So, let’s take a look at grief in detail and understand some of the common ways that it can impact us all, even if it doesn’t feel all quite the same to each of us.
- The grief will change as time moves on: Grief and loss can follow you around for a great length of time, often times, forever. The thing to remember is that it will shift as time passes. It might not ever go away, but as you take it with you everywhere you go, you will start to feel as though the load isn’t quite as heavy. First it’s in snippets of moments, then it’ll be hours, and maybe even days without feeling its weight. You will notice gradual changes as time goes on. You might also feel really annoyed when people tell you to “give it time.” That’s ok too…just be where you are right now.
- You might feel disconnected from others: After a loss, many people feel like they’re on a totally different and wavelength than others. If you need time alone, or in small groups with those who you are closest to, take it. When you feel ready, you can begin to connect with others again.
- There might be times when you feel as like you are losing your mind: Whether it’s your thought process, dreams, or emotions, you might feel like you are totally losing it. Some people notice that they become easily irritable or overly emotional about things that have nothing to do with the loss. You might burst into tears in the grocery store and have no idea why. Try to remember that grief is draining your energy and making your day-to-day tasks harder. This is a normal part of grief and it will get better.
- You might cry more than you even thought possible: Whether it’s concentrated crying spells over hours, or spurts over days, or weeks or months or even years, you may come to the point of realizing that you never knew your body could produce this many tears. Allow yourself to cry as much as you need to.
- You might not want to do anything: This can be a normal part of grieving, and it can span from lying in bed all day to not wanting to be around other people. You might feel that you’ve lost all of your energy and motivation. This can be perfectly normal for some time but it could also be a sign of depression, which is very common in the wake of a loss.
- Feel what you feel when you feel it: The final piece of advice is that you need to give yourself a break. Grief can make everything so much harder in your life. Go easy on yourself. Take it slow and reach out for help if you need it.
Grief and loss can make us all feel as though our life has changed forever. The reality is that it probably has, and life may never feel like it did before the loss, but it will get better. Understand that grief may never go away but the weight will be easier to manage over time. You will find yourself able to enjoy life again. You will find energy to do all of the things that you need and want to do. You aren’t crazy. Just give yourself time and space to feel what you need to feel, and do what you need to do (or not do).
If you’re feeling stuck in grief or overwhelmed by the pain, grief counseling can help. Our therapists can support you as you move through the process of grief and find your new normal.