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Thread: how do you handle grief?

  1. #101
    Senior Member Miri's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you handle grief?

    Hi Ellie, I came across this, maybe it might help a bit.

    While there’s no right or wrong way to grieve - whether it's the loss of someone
    or something important to you - there are healthy ways to deal with some of the
    emotions you may be feeling.

    Step 1: Acknowledge your feelings

    When you've suffered a loss - for example the death of someone close to you,
    the end of a relationship or the loss of a job - you need to acknowledge the pain
    you’re feeling and allow yourself to grieve. Feeling sad, angry, lonely or frightened
    are all normal reactions, so allow yourself to feel them. You don’t have to keep
    up a brave face for others.

    After the death of her son, Liz felt that she had to ‘hold things together for my parents
    who weren’t coping at all well, I didn’t allow myself to feel what was going on’. She
    believes this made things harder for her.

    If you try to ignore your feelings or bottle them up, they won’t go away. They may
    even become worse and trigger other emotional health problems, such anxiety
    and depression.

    Step 2: Get support

    Support from others is one of the most important factors in healthy grieving.
    Sharing your grief will make it easier to bear; being isolated can make it unbearable.
    It’s not weak to need support.

    When Charlie’s mother died, ‘So many people kept telling me how brave I was, how
    well I was coping, but what if I’ d been in bits? I feared they might walk away if
    I asked for help’.

    Don’t be frightened, ask for support, from friends, relatives, others in a similar situation
    or, if you feel you need it, a professional counsellor or therapist.

    Some people want to help, but don’t know what to do or say. Even if they’re close to
    you, they may find it hard to know what you need. Give them a hand and try and let
    them know how they can help you.

    Step 3: Let it out

    Talk about the loss you’ve suffered, your thoughts, memories and emotions, with
    friends and family. In the case of bereavement, talking might help family and friends
    too if you’re all suffering the same loss. Try to think of the good times you’ve had rather
    than dwell on the things you can’t change. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to people
    close to you, try other routes. You could contact your GP or a bereavement counsellor.

    Some people find it helpful to write down their thoughts and feelings. Liz kept a journal
    or diary, ‘there were things I just I couldn’t say to anyone else but I needed to get them

    It can also help to write a letter to the person you've lost containing all the things you
    never got to say. Barbara found this helpful after her long term partner suddenly left
    her for someone he'd just met. 'I wrote letters to him pouring out all the hurt and
    anger - then I tore them up and put them in the bin. It helped get it out of my system'.

    If you’re struggling to find the right words, try expressing your feelings visually
    by drawing, painting or putting together a collage.

    Step 4: Letting go

    Grieving is a natural process, but problems can arise if you get stuck at one stage,
    for example refusing or find it hard to accept your loss. If someone close to you
    has died and you find yourself keeping the person’s room exactly as it was,
    or laying the table as if that person is still there - creating a 'living memorial' to
    that person - you are in denial and will find hard to get on with your life. Similarly
    if you can't accept that a relationship is over. To deal with your loss in a healthy
    way, you need to find ways of letting go.

    It’s not about forgetting or betraying the person you loved, or discounting the time
    you spent together, you can still keep their memory alive if you want to. Rather it’s
    about finding good ways to say goodbye. One way of doing this is to think of a
    commemorative or ‘goodbye’ ritual that will be meaningful to you.

    If it's a person you've lost, writing a goodbye letter to that person can help. If it’s a
    broken relationship, this may be the letter you never send, but just writing it may
    help you reach closure.Or you could think of another 'goodbye ritual' such
    as releasing balloons with messages tied to them or sailing paper boats with
    candles in them down a river. There's no fixed way of saying goodbye, it's
    a matter of finding something you feel comfortable with.

    Step 5: Prepare for difficult times

    The anniversary of when you met, birthdays, the anniversary of a death or break
    up, the date when a baby would have been born, if you had an abortion – these
    can all be difficult occasions to get through. Try and prepare ahead for these.
    Arrange for other people to be with you if you don’t want to be alone. It might
    help to commemorate them in some way, either on your own or with friends and
    family. Likewise if you’re grieving for the baby you’ll never have, you may find it
    hard to see people with children, so you might want to put these meetings off until
    you’re feeling a little more robust.

    Step 6: Don't cut yourself off

    If you can, try not to hide yourself away all the time, but keep up with some
    of your usual activities. Gabe, when he was made redundant, kept up with his
    tennis. ‘I made myself play each week even though it was an effort to get myself
    there in the first place. I forgot everything for a little while and I felt better for it’.

    Keeping social and active will also help in the slow process of rebuilding your life.
    When you feel up to it think of new activities you could try, things you might never
    have done before your loss. Doing new things can help replace that bit of yourself
    you feel you have lost.

    After the breakup of her long term relationship, Barbara's world was
    shattered. 'I got through it by pouring my heart out to friends, and when I'd
    been through the worst I started to think of new things socially I could do that
    would enable me to move on. I joined a film club and made some new friends - it
    enabled me look forward instead of back'.

    Step 7: Look after yourself

    You might not feel much like eating or looking after yourself when you’re grieving,
    but it’s really important to make sure you do. As well as keeping up your strength,
    there are foods that are good for mood such as omega 3 found in oily fish, flax
    seeds and walnuts. Sleep can be disrupted when you’re grieving, but try not to
    let it worry you, just make sure you lie down and get some rest even if you aren't
    actually sleeping. Try and keep physically active, exercising if you can, as the
    endorphins your brain produces can help you feel better.

    Alcohol and non-prescription drugs can sometimes seem like a good way of numbing
    the pain. They may give you a temporary boost, but they can actually make things
    worse by interfering with the natural process of grief, so 'drowning your sorrows' isn't
    going to help.

    If it’s difficult to focus at work or college, tell your manager or supervisor what has
    happened. It might help to organise short days for a while, or reschedule deadlines.

    Go with the flow

    Take your time, feel it when it’s right for you. Don’t listen to others who tell you
    it’s time to ‘move on’ – or worry yourself that you should be ‘over it by now’. Your
    feelings will go up and down – but as long as you are noticing some improvement
    as time goes on, you are doing OK. Don’t feel guilty if you find yourself laughing
    or feeling happy – that’s OK too.

    Step 8: Making sense of things

    Perhaps you don’t think of yourself as a religious or spiritual person – though even
    people who aren’t religious can sometimes find solace in prayer or being in
    a religious place when they suffer a loss. Conversely, you may feel that your faith
    or your beliefs have been shattered as a result of what's happened.

    If religion and spirituality don’t help, or are not for you, communing with nature,
    reading an inspirational book or some poetry, looking at art or listening to music
    can all be helpful – if nothing else because they can give us that feeling of
    connection and meaning.

    When grief feels too much to bear

    Over time, your intense feelings and emotions should lessen. If they don’t or
    they’re getting worse then you may need outside help. if you constantly feel like
    life’s not worth living, feel increasingly disconnected from others or find it impossible
    to carry out normal, everyday activities, then it may be time to contact a professional
    counsellor who can help you work through your emotions and feelings.

    Step 9: Dealing with feelings of anger and guilt

    It’s common to feel anger and guilt after suffering a loss. You may feel angry
    with yourself for not doing enough, at the person who’s gone for leaving you
    or the manager whose job it was to sack you - or blame someone else in some
    way. Or you may suffer unbearable feelings of guilt or regret about things you did,
    or didn’t do but which are too late to do anything about. In most cases these feelings
    will pass, but there are things you can do to help yourself.

    Managing guilt and regret is about looking at the situation in a different way.
    Your natural response is to blame yourself, but try and find at least four other
    possible ways of looking at the situation. For example, you rowed with your
    mum the night before she died. Does that cancel out all the loving times you
    had together? Was there any way you could have predicted what was going to happen?

    Or perhaps you regret being such a conscientious worker, when it seems your only
    thanks was redundancy. Would you really feel better about yourself if you hadn't
    given it your best? Think of what you achieved while you were there, how it has
    increased your skills and how it might help you find another job.

    Bereavement - lift the burden of guilt

    Guilt is one of the more painful and sometimes unexpected aspects of bereavement.
    Perhaps you blame yourself for all the things you should or shouldn't have done
    before or after the person's death. Or feel their death is somehow your fault or
    even a punishment for being a bad person'. Then there's survivor's guit ('It should
    have been me that died') or feeling bad about moving forward with your life.

    Although feeling guilty is a natural part of grief, looking at it through fresh eyes can
    help you put it in perspective. Imagine looking at it from someone else's point
    of view – those of a friend or an objective observer. Or what you might say to a
    friend in the same situation. If you feel responsible for the death of someone you
    were close to, imagine what that person might say to you now.

    Comfort yourself with the thought that someone you cared about, and who cared
    about you, would not want to see you suffer all your life or be unhappy. We all have
    things we wish we had or hadn't done. Write down your regrets and your need to
    be forgiven by that person. You could even write it in a letter to that person. Write
    down too what you have learned from the experience and how you will use it to move forward.

    Overcoming grief: a self help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques by Sue Morris (Constable & Robinson).
    Living with Loss: a book for the widowed by Liz McNeill Taylor
    notmyown likes this.
    He is God and we are not.

    Quote Originally Posted by notmyown View Post
    Miri, for being Mary Poppins. (inside joke, but no, really! she's kind and no nonsense!)

  2. #102
    Senior Member notmyown's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you handle grief?

    Quote Originally Posted by tourist View Post
    That's kind of sad. That brings to mind something that happen when my dad died. At the time I lived in Maine and Dad lived in Florida. A few months after he died I checked my email, something back then I only did every 3 or 4 months just to clear out unwanted junk mail. There was a letter that my dad had wrote to me a couple weeks before he died asking when I was going to see him again. Now, I'm still not sure when that will be but hopefully it's not sooner rather than later. I had a tear in my eye as I deleted the email.
    the day mom died i got that belated birthday card in the mail. i told my sisters, mom's accountants, i wasn't cashing the check she sent. my practical sisters scolded me (in the nicest way) saying, mom wanted you to do something for yourself you don't normally do! take a picture of the check if you want to, and get it to the bank! lol

    that brought tears, thinking your dad's last message was basically, i love you, son, and can't wait to see you.
    i hope it's not too soon, too, but that's me being selfish wanting you around here for all of us who love you, Jerry.
    Miri, tourist, GaryA and 2 others like this.

  3. #103
    Senior Member laura_charlotte's Avatar
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    December 16th, 2012
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    Default Re: how do you handle grief?

    Quote Originally Posted by tourist View Post
    I fully agree. We should treat others, especially family members as if it's the last time we see them because one day it will be.

    Best advice for every family member everywhere, anywhere, anytime. Love this so much!
    Last edited by laura_charlotte; August 1st, 2017 at 09:02 AM.
    tourist, Magenta and notmyown like this.

  4. #104
    Senior Member tourist's Avatar
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    Default Re: how do you handle grief?

    Quote Originally Posted by notmyown View Post
    the day mom died i got that belated birthday card in the mail. i told my sisters, mom's accountants, i wasn't cashing the check she sent. my practical sisters scolded me (in the nicest way) saying, mom wanted you to do something for yourself you don't normally do! take a picture of the check if you want to, and get it to the bank! lol

    that brought tears, thinking your dad's last message was basically, i love you, son, and can't wait to see you.
    i hope it's not too soon, too, but that's me being selfish wanting you around here for all of us who love you, Jerry.
    Thank you for your kind words that deeply touched me.
    GaryA and notmyown like this.
    M & M's melt in your mouth and not in your hands.

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