Grief that accompanies the death of a loved one can cause a painful, emotional and physical journey. As a survivor, your world has taken a sudden turn into unexpected territory. You may have never felt such intense emotional and physical pain, nor experienced the depth of sadness and depression as a result of your loss. During this time, you may even question your sanity.
The following circumstances can make your grieving more intense, complicated or difficult.
- Your relationship with the deceased was unstable.
- You have experienced many deaths over a short period of time.
- The death was unexpected, sudden or violent.
- You did not view the body.
- You witnessed the death.
- You have experienced prior mental or physical illness.
- You did not receive adequate support.
Even if you have not experienced these situations, you may encounter difficult grief. Given time and support, most people are able to work through the grieving process in a healthy way. When your grief is intense and shows no signs of lessening, however, it may be beneficial to find someone who can help during this difficult time.
Should you consult a professional counselor?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may want to consider consulting a professional. The greatest indication of requiring additional assistance comes from your own sense of need. Do you feel your grief is overwhelming?
- It is important to be able to express yourself. Do you feel you are suppressing your grief by not speaking about it?
- If you are assuming the role of caregiver, have you put your grief on hold to take care of others? Do the additional responsibilities make you angry or resentful?
- Are you coping with your grief by drinking alcohol or taking more prescription or over-the-counter drugs? Are you engaging in reckless behaviors?
- It hurts to lose someone you love. Perhaps you are now fearful of getting too close to anyone again. Does this pervasive fear prevent you from getting close to anyone?
- It often helps to keep your grief at bay by staying busy. While everyone needs a respite from grief, running away from it is unhealthy. Do you think that by keeping too busy, you are avoiding your grief?
- Following the death of a loved one, it is normal for your thoughts to focus almost entirely on the person you lost. Have your thoughts over a long period of time been preoccupied constantly with the death of your loved one?
— Adapted from an article by Nancy E. Crump, M.S., Certified Grief Counselor
Published | Category: Grief Support.