Have you recently experienced a loss and feel emotionally overwhelmed and out of control?

Grief is difficult to understand until you have experienced an important loss such as the death of a loved one.  Until then, one does not really understand the depth of pain that comes with grieving.  You hurt in a deep, physical way that can be felt all over you body.  This pain feels unbearable at times.  You may become frightened and try to distract or close off these emotions in fear it will take over your whole life.  If you try to avoid the emotional process of grieving, often times you may experience increased anxiety, depression or compulsive behaviors.  It is healthy and natural to mourn our losses.  Over time, the grieving process becomes soothing and connects us to what we have lost rather than closing us off from it.

Are you experiencing some of these feelings?

  • Shock– the initial reaction of being stunned or numb (difficulty making decisions)
  • Disbelief – feeling that the death is surreal or did not really happen.
  • Helplessness – difficulty in performing activities of daily living
  • Hopelessness – feelings that life may not be worth living
  • Forgetfulness – unable to finishing what is started, absentmindedness
  • Fearfulness – that someone else will die or that they are going “crazy”.
  • Restlessness – inability to sit still or concentrate or maintain focus.
  • Anger – that the death has occurred or that the person has left them.
  • Guilt – over what was left unsaid or undone in the relationship.
  • Emptiness – felt physically in the chest or stomach or other physical symptoms.
  • Pain – the experience physical pain (felt in chest or stomach).
  • Tearfulness – burst of emotions at unexpected times.
  • Yearning or longing – aching for one more touch.
  • Depression – experience sleep/appetite changes/low energy/sad mood, etc.
  • Anxiety – feeling pressured to get control of emotions and be “normal” again.

The grieving process has a natural flow of energy that if allowed will take us where we need to go to heal and become whole again.  Imagine you are floating in a river; the water is rough and fast at first.  You are tossed about crashing into rocks and almost going under.  Then, the water gradually slows and becomes smooth.  You relax and are in the flow.  Ever so often, you hit a rough spot, but it does not last for long and you know this and are less frightened.  It is painful, but there are moments of peace and even joy amongst the pain.  In time, you find yourself drifting into shallow waters.  You come to shore and are walking again.  You are in a new place and experiencing new things.  You no longer feel so broken and become interested and engaged in life around you.  You never forget what was lost, but now the beloved is integrated and internalized in a way that you feel deeply connected once again.

Other Experiences of Loss

The death of a loved one is the most common way we think of loss and grief, however, there are many other significant losses such as illness/injury, loss of a job, a beloved pet, divorce/separation, aging, empty nest or moving that can cause us to experience grief.  Regardless of what you have lost, the grieving process is much the same.   The more significant the loss, the longer the process will take.

How Psychotherapy Can Help with Grief and Loss

Even though well meaning, few people understand what it is like to grieve and most prefer avoiding the topic all together.  You may be feeling alone and sense that others are uncomfortable or inpatient when you discuss your feelings.  Therapy gives you a place where you can relax, learn about the process and express you feelings openly.  Your therapist will be an objective and knowledgeable companion who encourages and supports you along the way.  It can be a great relief to have a therapist to patiently provide guidance through complicated emotions.  You do not have to be alone on this journey.  Let us help!

 
Therapist in Columbia, SC; Counselor in Columbia, SC;  Anxiety, Depression, Grief, Postpartum, Eating Disorders, Couples and Marriage Counseling in Columbia, Irmo, Chapin, and Lexington, SC.