Grief and Loss…Carrying on when it feels impossible…
Are you struggling with the loss of a loved one, and even though time is passing you still feel lost and overwhelmed, as if life has been turned upside down?
Maybe you’ve experienced loss in some other part of your life and just can’t see how things will ever be the same again?
We all experience loss at some point in our lives and we all grieve differently. There’s no road map for how to deal with it, nor how long the feelings will last. It can be incredibly difficult to pick yourself up after a loss (or losses) that leave you feeling confused and stuck in painful thoughts and emotions.
It can feel like time has stopped – that the world keeps on turning but you just don’t know how to (and may not want to) carry on without that someone or something that made life what it was for you.
Picking up the pieces is hard and you may wonder what’s left after the devastation of losing someone or something that was so important to you. Whether that’s a person, your work, your health, or something you’ve always wanted in life but have come to realise now won’t happen.
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I’ve achieved more personal growth than I thought possible. I’ve increased my self-worth, self-esteem and self-awareness. Working through trigger issues such as grief and anger, I’m now able to behave in ways that are more emotionally healthy for my children.
Gemma, Therapist, Cardiff
How can Counselling help with Grief and Loss?
Feelings of grief that follow a loss are natural but that doesn’t mean they’re easy to deal with. Maybe you’ve experienced the loss with others but we as all grieve differently, you may not be able to talk about your feelings, or may not want to put pressure on someone else who is also grieving.
The range of emotions in grief are vast – you may feel (or have felt) numbness, confusion, shock, disbelief, anger, denial, guilt, regret, shame and despair, on top of the overwhelming sadness. Anniversaries are particularly difficult and it’s easy to feel lost inside these powerful emotions. In more complicated grief, you might notice other symptoms like anxiety, low mood, loss of confidence or a growing reliance on alcohol, drugs or something else.
Counselling can’t bring back what is lost, but I can help you work through these thoughts and feelings and make sense of them in a way that’s meaningful to you. Our sessions can be a focus point to help you reflect on where you are now, to gain some clarity and help reduce the sense of feeling lost. Although the grief may never go away completely, we can work to find ways that reduce it’s intensity and help you do what feels impossible right now – carry on with the rest of your life.
How We’ll Work
You may have heard of the 5-stages of grief and loss*. This is just an outline of the grieving process and you probably won’t experience each in stage in order but it can be a useful guide to our work:-
This is a natural ‘defence’ that can help manage the initial shock and pain of grief. It can be accompanied by a feeling of numbness and you might find yourself getting on with things as you normally would as your mind tries to process what’s happened.
As the numbness wears off, the overwhelming pain can be masked by anger. That can be directed outwards (towards people or things) or inwards towards yourself.
3) A Need to Regain Control
In the face of hopelessness and vulnerability, your thoughts may turn to what could have been; you might find yourself thinking about what you could (or should) have done to avoid it or made the situation different somehow. This can bring up feelings of guilt, regret, blame and shame.
Thoughts and feelings of hopelessness and despair can be overpowering and stop you from being able to do things, or they can be in the background, so you feel as if you’re just ‘going through the motions’ of life.
This looks different for everyone; it could mean you’ve reached a point where the emotions aren’t so intense anymore, or it could be that you’re starting to see a way forward in life and are beginning to get some enjoyment from life again.
* Based on the model devised by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1969).
If you think this approach could benefit you, please get in touch.
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