Many people find solace in sharing their grief with family and friends; others find solace by attending grief support groups offered in every community through their local hospice even if you did not have hospice services. If you are feeling overwhelmed and concerned about your own grief process over time, seek professional help.
When someone dies suddenly, our first response is often denial, then shock, confusion, and pain. Fatal heart attacks and strokes, car accidents, and suicide can leave family members troubled and searching for answers. In these cases, family members may be left with unresolved issues, such as guilt, anger, anxiety, despair, and feelings of emptiness.
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Sometimes we have to learn to forgive ourselves and our loved one who died. Grief affects our whole being—physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. Each of us will have different symptoms. If you have had a previous loss, you may experience grief this time in a similar or different way, depending on the situation, your relationship with the deceased, and other significant emotional factors in your life at the time.
Culture, religion, and social norms influence what we are comfortable showing to others and even what we are comfortable admitting to ourselves. There is no road map for dealing with grief. There are stages that most people go through, but they are not a linear progression from stage 1 to stage 2, etc. And we might go back to a stage years later, such as loneliness and isolation or depression. We often feel uncomfortable when approaching someone we know who is grieving. It is hard to know what to say or do.
Here are some tips:. Taking care of yourself in difficult times is hard.
Trusting your own process will help you to do what you need to do in order to best take care of yourself. Acknowledging your feelings—good and bad—will help you to cope better with whatever is happening. Read, journal, get support, cocoon, or do whatever is nurturing for you. Family Caregiver Alliance FCA seeks to improve the quality of life for caregivers through education, services, research, and advocacy. Through its National Center on Caregiving, FCA offers information on current social, public policy, and caregiving issues and provides assistance in the development of public and private programs for caregivers.
For residents of the greater San Francisco Bay Area, FCA provides direct family support services for caregivers of those with Alzheimer's disease, stroke, head injury, Parkinson's, and other debilitating disorders that strike adults. Center for Loss and Life Transition www. National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization www. Hospice Foundation of America www. All rights reserved.
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Mood changes over the slightest things. Unexpected outbursts or crying. Feelings of restlessness and simultaneous difficulty concentrating on a task at hand. Talking to pictures. Conversing with the deceased in a special place. Sleeplessness or troubling dreams.
Assuming mannerisms, traits or wearing clothes that were favorites of the deceased. Emotional regression and even bed-wetting, which can be very upsetting for teenagers. A need to retell and remember things about their loved one, to a point of repetition that becomes a burden to others.
The Ways We Grieve | Psychology Today
An inability to say anything, or the need to be overly responsible. You can also do a good deal to help yourself. Active, healthy grieving requires balance—balancing the time you spend directly working on your grief with the time you spend coping with your day-to-day life; balancing the amount of time you spend with others with the time you spend alone; balancing seeking help from others with caring for yourself.
Focusing too strongly on any single side of these pairings is getting off-track.
Experiencing Grief as a Teenager
Here are some things others have found useful in their healthy grieving. Choose the ones that fit for you, or make up your own methods of self-care.
- Blooming Idiots!
- VITAS Healthcare.
- Popeye Classics #14.
- Dorothy And The Wizard In Oz.
Remember that grieving is an active process, it takes energy that will likely have to be temporarily withdrawn from the usual pursuits of your life. Treat yourself with the same care, tolerance, and affection you would extend to a valued friend in a similar situation.
For more information on the grieving process and how to help yourself or someone in grief, here are a few excellent resources:. Check out and print off our flyers — here and here! If you are experiencing a psychological crisis outside our working hours and cannot wait until we are open, please call the Crisis Clinic at