How to deal with grief

DEIDRE SAYS: Bereavement is, unfortunately, a universal experience. We will all lose someone we love during our lives – often several times – and that means we will all have to deal with grief.

Yet grief remains one of the most devastating and least understood emotions.

Grief is a feeling of intense sorrow caused by someone’s death. It affects people of all ages and genders but no two people will share exactly the same experience of it.

People often aren’t sure if their feelings are normal, or don’t know how to talk about their grief, meaning far too many suffer in silence.

Even if you’ve been through it before, you might have a different experience next time, depending on your relationship with the person you’ve lost, the circumstances of their death and what else is going on in your life.

STAGES OF GRIEF

There are generally thought to be five recognised states of grief, which include shock and disbelief, anger, depression, apathy and signs of recovery. 

People don’t necessarily feel all of them, or progress through each stage in a logical fashion. It’s absolutely normal to see-saw between them or even to repeat a stage.

It’s really important not to try to suppress your feelings, as this can delay healing.

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Shock

When you first find out you’ve lost someone, it’s common to feel a sense of disbelief or numbness. 

Expressions of Grief

Grief isn’t one constant feeling, but acute pangs of loss and pining which can be triggered by a recollection, like a photo. 

You might at times feel moody, guilty, or even angry about what has happened. 

Depression

You might feel hopeless or bleak, realising that you can’t bring your loved one back and that life has changed forever.

Stress

Grief can be very stressful, making you anxious and accident-prone. It’s important to be gentle with yourself.

Recovery

In your own time, you’ll come to accept your loved one’s death. 

SHARING YOUR FEELINGS

It’s really important to talk about your feelings – suppressing them could lead to lasting depression.

It can feel hard to share your grief as other people might not know what to say to you or may even avoid you. But don’t let yourself be isolated by their fears. 

A trusted friend or family member is always a good place to start. But if that’s tricky, the Dear Deidre team can always help.

The Good Grief Trust will also be able to link you up to local bereavement support. 

More information is available in our Coping with Bereavement support pack. 

Whatever your worry, you’re not alone. The Dear Deidre team of experienced counsellors will be able to recommend your best next steps to help get your life back on track. 

For a support pack and personalised advice, email us at [email protected] or for a prompt response, message us on Facebook. 

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