“It has been a year! It feels like it has been forever since the funeral! Why do I still feel so bad?” Does this sound familiar? Or maybe, “I was feeling on top of the world for months and now I can’t make myself get out of bed. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, and I feel so sad all the time! What is wrong with me?” Maybe you fall somewhere in between these two extremes and you only feel bad and sad sometimes but other times you feel like you are on top of everything.
That is the nature of grief. You are normal no matter what you are experiencing. Grief has a way of showing up whenever we think we have a handle on ourselves just to let us know that it is still there and hasn’t been resolved yet! If you are like me when you have good days you want to power through and get it all done! But then comes the grief that washes in like a tidal wave and all my emotional pride gets washed away. I am left feeling sad, bad, and disappointed in myself. I thought I had gotten through the grief unscathed.
The truth is that I was feeling better, so I stopped doing my grief work! Yes, grief work! I know nobody wants to intentionally do the work grief sends us to do but if we don’t, the tidal waves of emotional overwhelm will take us down its path instead of us planning a path for grief. For instance, have you ever wondered why you may be feeling anxious all the time when you have never struggled with anxiety before your loss? Maybe you have lost your sparkle, or life just doesn’t seem fun anymore, but you have never struggled with depression before. When we don’t give grief the attention it needs grief will get our attention in other ways.
So how do you know if your grief is being grieved as it should and not just being pushed down or ignored for more pleasant emotions and feelings?
- Go to a mental health counselor and ask them for a grief assessment. This mental health checkup for your brain and emotions is very similar to going to the doctor and getting a physical checkup. We want to have a healthy mind and emotions at any age.
- Go to a grief counselor and ask them to help you understand where you are at in your grief journey. They are equipped with ways to help you understand where you are and where you can go with finding purpose and meaning in your suffering. It is also part of grief recovery to tell your story to someone who can validate what you are experiencing.
- Grief groups are wonderful experiences for people just like you and me who are grieving and supporting each other in their journeys to exploring, educating, and adjusting to the losses that they are experiencing. Groups are great at connecting and encouraging each other through the loneliness and isolation that inevitably comes from loss.
- Phone a friend! Get dressed, go outside, go have that coffee date you have been promising to have for so long, and reconnect with someone who you love and trust!
If you are interested in any of these options, check out the resources below.
Grief support groups for parenting a grieving child and the loss of a spouse
Grief support groups for loss of any kind.
I hope to see you soon in one of these groups to connect and learn how to love the person you lost through your stories and the meaningful purpose that you find in your grief journey.
Kimberly Talmey RPC-C
Registered Professional Counsellor candidate
Canadian Professional Counsellors Association