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Grief | Moving on and Living with Your Sorrow

Counseling for grief, Fayetteville NC, grief counseling Fayetteville, NC, grief counseling near me, therapy for grief, Counseling for overcoming grief Fayetteville NC

Grief | Moving on and Living with Your Sorrow


Losing someone or something precious happens to all people. It can be an awfully painful experience, even traumatic, so it is natural to grieve. Grief can overwhelm you for a while or for a long time; there is no “prescribed” time as to how long you should grieve. If it is overstaying, though, for many months and not showing any sign of abating, there could be more to it than meets the eye. It isn’t natural for grief to last for a very long time or for the emotion to worsen. If this happens, it is time to see a professional.

Despite the great love or need for the one you lost, moving on must happen sooner than later. Unfortunately, people heal differently. So, you may not heal as fast as the others. When other people involved in the loss, like family members, are already showing signs that they are already healed, while you are still struggling with grief, you may worry. Your worry is justified. Complicated or lingering grief isn’t only unnatural, it is also unhealthy.

When grief becomes complicated, it can be very difficult to let go and move forward on your own, even when you know in your heart that you have grieved long enough. Before your complicated grief becomes worse or starts to affect the different aspects of life, seek the help of a counselor.


Get to Know Your Bedfellow

Losing someone or something you dearly love, or need, can be very traumatic, especially when it happens with suddenness. It is like being hit by a truck – the pain is indescribable. It can throw you off balance. That’s what grief is all about. It is a natural reaction to a traumatic loss. It takes time to grieve, but there is no exact time as to when it should end. This depends on certain factors surrounding what you lost or the episode that led to the loss.  Despite how scary it sounds, grief is a necessary process that helps you adjust to the loss or to its acceptance.


According to Parkes and Bowlby, it is common for the grief process to go through the following phases:


Phase I – Shock and protest – includes numbness, disbelief and acute dysphoria

Phase II – Preoccupation – includes yearning, searching and anger

Phase III – Disorganization – includes despair and acceptance of loss

Phase IV – Resolution


There is, however, no precise duration as to how long each phase should be. This also means that these phases are not distinctly separated from one another. This is because there are several variables that may affect grief. This is also because people are unique, and so is their grief. There are people who grieve immediately after and there are those who grieve later. There are people who hold on to their pain for a much longer time. Even natural pain takes time to fade, and so does “unnatural” grief.


The Grief That Never Goes Away

When the cause of the trauma or pain isn’t “natural,” the reaction may also not be natural. It may become complicated and it may lead to the type of grief called “complicated grief. Complicated grief is also called “persistent complex bereavement disorder.” It is the usual kind of grief. It is “debilitating and doesn’t improve even after time passes,” says the Mayo Clinic. It is persistent, and the pain can go on and on. According to Deborah Khoshaba, Psy.D of Psychology Today, “…acute grief can gain a foothold and become a chronic, debilitating health condition that worsens over time, rather than improve. Some people are more vulnerable to it if they have “pre-existing emotional health conditions, multiple stressors, emotional dependency, or substance abuse issues…”

Complicated grief can be overextended to 6 months or more, then it is considered as a “chronic” type of grief. It is “unnatural, just as the “inhibited,” and “delayed” types.  Inhibited grief can be caused by certain factors that encumber the expression of the pain and the subsequent acceptance of the loss. On the other hand, delayed grief is the type that’s typically experienced by over-confident and self-sufficient people who believe that grieving is only for the weak. 

You may want to keep your grief to yourself but living with it for too long is pointless. You could be nurturing your grief because you do not want to be disloyal to the memory of the person you lost. Or you could be allowing grief to grip you because you feel that it is the way to keep him/her alive. Sustaining the grief can’t help you accept the reality of loss. Ignoring your hurt can only result in it haunting you longer. To really heal, facing your grief is important and necessary. The symptoms of grief and/or trauma can be difficult to process on your own. If there are signs of complicated grief, it is best to seek professional help.


Signs That Grief Isn’t Leaving You Soon

The memories of a loved one you lost can be enshrined in your hearts, but they cannot be the core of your existence and your future. There is so much to be done and so many opportunities in your lifetime. It is okay to grieve when you lose someone you love, but it should not consume you. It is natural to mourn a great loss, but you must not allow it to perpetually bind you, so that you cannot pursue your goals and dreams anymore or live a fulfilling life.

To move on, it is crucial to seek help as soon as you notice the signs and symptoms of complicated grief. What are these red flags of complicated grief that you must pay attention to? Help Guide shares some of these signs and symptoms:


  • Intense longing and yearning for the deceased
  • Intrusive thoughts or images of your loved one
  • Denial of the death or sense of disbelief
  • Imagining that your loved one is alive
  • Searching for the person in familiar places
  • Avoiding things that remind you of your loved one
  • Extreme anger or bitterness over the loss
  • Feeling that life is empty or meaningless


Moving on: Is it possible?

Experiencing all the pain and going through grief are necessary in the healing process. The pain may blur your vision of the future. It may distract you from your life goals. It can weaken your resolve to continue functioning. Be encouraged, though, by the fact that it is possible to live and have a meaningful life despite loss. While overcoming the hurtful feelings caused by the end of a marriage or relationship, the demise of a loved one, or the loss of a job isn’t easy, be comforted by the fact that it can be done.

During your grief, you may think that healing is not possible. It is. You can heal. The process can be slow, but it will come. Take comfort in the fact that there is a reward for those who patiently wait. While the process of healing can take time, even in natural grief, the knowledge that it is possible to live with and move forward with your sorrow can be empowering.

While patience pays, and grief has no timeline, do not delay seeking help from a counselor or therapist. If the pain or trauma is taking a very long time to heal and it is slowly diminishing your life gains and achievements, the best thing to do is seek professional assistance from a trustworthy counselor or therapist. You can find a good therapist/counselor independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC.


Moving on and Living Again with Professional Assistance

Most people cannot be courageous all the time, especially after a grievous loss. Serious loss can leave you feeling hopeless, helpless and scared. You will grieve for the loss; there is nothing wrong with that. Be vigilant though if your grief starts to manifest some of the serious signs and symptoms that it is “unnaturally” overstaying beyond several months or becoming complicated.

While you deserve a pat on the back for bravely standing up during your circumstances and supporting your loved ones at this heartbreaking time, you also deserve to mourn like the others. When healing is taking a long time, it is good to acknowledge that you too may need help. Like anyone else, you can benefit from the assistance of a counselor, especially when your pain seems to be overextending beyond several months. In this time of extended sorrow, remember you can turn to a counselor/therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC to help you. Call today!

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Fayetteville, NC (North)

Counties: Cumberland, Bladen and Sampson Counties, NC

Areas: Fayetteville NC, Ft Bragg NC, Pope Field NC, Silver City NC, Linden NC, Bunnlevel NC, Erwin NC, Dundarrach NC, Rex NC,and Wade, NC

Zip Codes: 28311, 28395, 28390, 28356

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Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office, Fayetteville, NC

422 McArthur Road, Suite 2
FayettevilleNC 28311

Our Mailing Address:

PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311

Choose your Therapist

  • 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, Medicare, and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Fayetteville, NC