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Bringing Grief to a Close

Grief, counseling for grief, counseling for loss, grief counseling Fayetteville NC, CCS

Bringing Grief to a Close

 

Losing someone or something you love is one of the most painful and stressful experiences you can go through. When someone you know or someone close to you dies, your life turns upside down. It is difficult to make sense of it, and things can seem to lose meaning. The structure of your world may feel as if it is going to collapse.

Experiencing the loss of someone or something significant to you means experiencing grief. Grief and mourning are natural reactions to loss, which can affect your thoughts, feelings, behavior, beliefs, health and relationships with people around you. As you grieve, people may be inclined to say that grief has stages of healing you and that you will get over your grief given a timetable. Within a certain time, the pain, sadness or nostalgia are all supposed to be behind you.

This is not how grief works. In actuality, grief has no timeline. It can continue in subtle ways throughout the future – even if you seem to have moved on. It can take time to adjust and learn to live life without the one you lost.

 

Living with Grief

Grief is not an event, but an experience. It is an overwhelming sense of loss that provokes pain and deep longing. The roller coaster of feelings can include a range of reactions, such as anger, confusion, sadness, helplessness, hopelessness, guilt, etc. The sense of loss is so entrenched that you sometimes may not be able to breathe, eat, sleep, work, maintain relationships, or meet responsibilities.

The overpowering emotion of grief is often associated with the death of a loved one, which in many cases, is the cause of the most devastating type of grief. Other events may, however, also trigger a sense of grief, including the following:

 

  • Divorce, separation or relationship breakup
  • Illness
  • Job termination
  • Bankruptcy
  • Miscarriage
  • Loss of personal dream
  • Retirement
  • Death of a pet
  • Damaged friendship
  • Relocation
  • Graduation from school

 

Whatever loss is being grieved for, it is a personal experience that is not to be shameful about.

 

Factors Influencing Grief Response

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. The manner by which grieving is experienced depends on several factors. For instance, a person’s reaction to grief may depend on their age. Young children may not fully understand the meaning and finality of death, although they may keep asking difficult heartbreaking questions. Adolescents are likely to be traumatized by the loss, and grief may be filled with anger and bitterness. Older people can comprehend the loss, yet they tend to grieve longer. Men may also grieve differently than women. A closer relationship may also contribute to a deeper grief.

The nature of death can influence the manner of grieving, inducing a different grieving pattern. The past may also affect a person’s grieving reactions. For example, a person who was taught to repress emotions cannot fully process the loss through grief. There are also differences in the ways varied cultural groups express grief. How a grieving person is being supported may also affect a person’s grief response. Grief is expressed both privately and in the social community.

It is important to recognize that grief is a common experience that needs to be processed. There are no short cuts or no way to avoid grief. It cannot be forced or hurried. The length and depth of your roller coaster feelings depend on any or some of these factors. Even during brighter days or when you think you are “done” grieving, the painful feeling may surge from time to time when triggered.

 

Impact of Grief on Your Emotional and Physical Health

Like other human responses, grief can have behavioral, emotional and physical implications. The emotionally painful experience of losing a loved one can have a significant impact on both mind and body.

 

  • Fatigue – Grief can be physically exhausting, consuming a tremendous amount of energy that often results to muscle tightness, body pains and lethargy.

 

  • Cognitive Impairment – Studies have shown that grief can reduce your memory performance and concentration.

 

  • Sense of Isolation – The intrusive thoughts about the loss can be encumbering and cause you to feel disconnected, isolated, or alone.

 

  • Depression – Grief can trigger depression and anxiety attacks.

 

  • Substance Abuse – People who grieve have a greater risk of abusing substance and alcohol.

 

  • Cardio and Immune System Diseases – The stress hormones released during times of grief can cause damaging effects to the heart.

 

Research establishes the link between the experience of grief and poor health. It disturbs the immune system and results in a range of physical illnesses. Grief can also be a precursor to several emotional health issues, such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, self-harm, and sleeping and eating problems.

 

Grieving Healthily

Losing someone you love, regardless of circumstances, can be an unbearable pain. The grief that follows is often accompanied by all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions. It can also disrupt your physical and emotional health. Behind all the pain and sorrow, grief can bring about opportunities. It prepares you to come to terms with your own mortality and allows you to mature and grow as a person. It can be an enlightening experience that teaches you about empathy and understanding so you can be more caring for others. Other benefits include:

 

  • Closer family ties
  • Stronger community spirit
  • Feeling of relief that a loved one is at peace and free from pain
  • Maturity
  • Deeper appreciation of life and memories
  • Acceptance of responsibilities
  • Greater self-confidence

 

Grieving your loss is also a much-needed exercise to release the energy that should have been directed to the person, object or experience you have lost. In doing so, that energy is re-invested elsewhere, otherwise a part of you remains tied to the past. In the process, you gradually let go of your need for your lost one.

Healthy grieving is about maintaining balance. It is balancing time between working on your grief and living your day-to-day life. It is balancing the amount of your time between others and yourself. It is balancing between seeking help from others and taking care of yourself. Concentrating too much on any single side of these combinations can put you off-track. If this happens, seeking intervention in transforming grief into a motivation (via a therapist) may benefit you.

 

Saying Goodbye to Your Grief

You have many choices in accepting the reality of the cause of your grief to come to terms with your loss. Struggling to accept, confront, or deny the painful and exhausting feelings are a sign that your grief is more than the “usual” mourning. Keep in mind that avoiding the pangs of grief is not a viable long-term solution. You are not helpless, and you are not alone. If your grief starts to impair you in several areas of your life, you may need to seek the assistance of a professional independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC.

Ending grief does not mean forgetting your beloved or ceasing to love them. In fact, you will not be the same as you were before. Grief is a process to find a new life order for yourself. You may be surprised to feel the pain eventually easing up and finding yourself anticipating the future with some enthusiasm. With professional intervention, you will begin to see the new dawn. If you will not allow distractions to stand in the way of seeking professional help from an experienced counselor independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC, you can alleviate your grief, as hope and acceptance gradually replace the darkness, despair and desolation of losing someone or something precious. Call today to schedule your first appointment.

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services

Counties: Cumberland, Hoke, Bladen, Sampson, and Robeson Counties, NC
Areas: Fayetteville NC, Ft Bragg NC, Pope Field NC, Hope Mills NC, Raeford NC, Rockfish NC, Sliver City NC, Linden, Cedar Creek NC, Bowmore NC, Autryville NC, Parkton NC, Bunnlevel NC, Erwin NC, Dundarrach NC, Broadway NC, Pineview NC, Lumber Bridge, NC, Rex NC, Lemon Springs NC, Johnsonville NC, Eastover NC, Stedman NC and Wade, NC
Zip Codes: 28301, 28302, 28303, 28304, 28305, 28306, 28307, 28309, 28311, 28312, 28314

Counseling Information

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Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office, Fayetteville, NC

422 McArthur Road
FayettevilleNC 28311

Choose your Therapist

  • Shnika Davis LCSW, LCAS-A

    Specializes in: (Ages 6+) Depression, Substance Abuse, Life transitions, Grief and Loss, Trauma, Anxiety, Adjustments Disorders, Family, Couples and Marriage
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Fayetteville, NC
  • Becky Clark, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Anxiety, Depression, Individuals, Couples, Geriatrics, Criminal Justice, Stress Management, Loss and Grief related to death, disability, divorce, deployment, “empty nest”, retirement and other major life transitions
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare Select, and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Fayetteville, NC