In many ways, grief is like depression. Although the two share many similarities, there are also some important differences. Depression is an illness. People who are depressed have a constant feeling of sadness, they don’t enjoy things the way they previously did and they find it difficult to be positive. With grief, you may expect your feelings of loss and sadness to come and go a bit more readily. Also, people who are grieving are usually still able to look forward to the future.
Almost all of us will face bereavement at some time during our lives. Although grief is often devastating and one of the toughest things you will need to deal with, it is actually a natural process and a healthy response to loss. There is, of course, no single way to grieve. We are all different and you are likely to go through the process in your own particular way. Also, there is no specified length of time that it should take.
Initially, your loss may make you feel shocked or numb. For a time, you may even feel that you are walking around in a something of a daze. Alternatively, you may find that you become overwhelmed by feelings of sadness. You lack energy, even to the extent of feeling exhausted. All this can be more than a little distracting, and you may find that you have become pre-occupied to the point where you forget things or lose things.
Quite difficult emotions may come up. You could, for instance, feel anger – even towards your loved one that has died. You may then go on to feel guilty about your feelings of anger, or you may feel guilty about something else – perhaps something that you may have said or done. You may even feel guilty for not having been able to stop the person’s death. These are all perfectly normal feelings. There is nothing wrong with questioning events around the death. And feelings of anger certainly do not make you a bad person.
At first you may find that you are neglecting yourself or your family. You may not want to get out of bed or you may not want to eat properly. You may feel that you are unable to focus on your work or deal kindly with the people around you. You may even simply feel that you are unable to go on without the person you have lost.
No, you are not going mad! Even these responses are quite normal – provided that they do not last too long. But, if they do, it may be time for you to get the help that will enable you to better cope with your loss.
Grieving does need to take some time. Hypnotherapy, and its related disciplines, can be effective in helping you through the process. Because many of the issues around grieving are largely created by your particular style of thinking, you will find that you really do have the ability to make the changes necessary to gradually take back control of your life – and to do so safely and without the use of drugs.
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These days grief seems like walking on a frozen river; most of the time he feels safe enough, but there is always that danger he will plunge through.
David Nicholls, One Day, 2010