On Thursday May 12th, Don gave us a presentation entitled; “ Processing Loss “
Don’s topic of discussion this past Thursday most likely hit home with a lot of those in attendance.
For those of us that struggle with mental health issues, and even those of us who don’t, dealing with loss is never easy.
Don began by quoting that old saying “ nothing is ever certain but death or taxes “. But he corrected this statement by saying there is only one thing certain in life. Loss. There are all different kinds of loss. You may experience the loss of :
-normalcy; due to Covid
– a family member
– your independence
The moment that the loss happens, it takes your breath away and you may shut down. But you must move on, adjust, and feel the feels. Returning to normal can take time, or it may go quickly.
When it comes to grief, there are five phases of grief.
1) Denial …this denies the overwhelming and emotional pain of loss, and finds you wondering how to move forward. If you have broken up with someone, you may be convincing yourself that your partner will come back to you. Or if you have lost a job, you might be convinced you’ll get a call from your old employer asking you to come back. Denial is a natural reaction that helps you process your grief in your own time.
2) Anger….This anger serves a purpose. You may find yourself thinking why me, what did I do to deserve this? You may find yourself angry at life itself. You may start feeling guilty about your anger, which may make you even angrier.
3) Bargaining…this will help you hold onto hope during intense pain. You may find yourself thinking, what if I had done something differently to prevent the loss? Guilt may become part of your bargaining, as you may think if only things had played out differently.
4) Depression…..during the processing of grief, eventually things will start to slow down and we start to process the grief more fully. During this time you may tend to pull inward.
5) Acceptance…reaching acceptance isn’t about being okay with what happened. It’s more about accepting, not struggling, and acknowledging what has happened.
When you are processing grief, you may start questioning yourself, and worrying what you’re doing is not enough, or that you are doing it wrong.
There is no correct way of dealing with grief, no set list of steps. We all unique and process grief differently.
You may ask yourself, how should I be feeling? Your mind and body will be telling you what to do to process the grief. There is no specific or linear order of grief. There are no deadlines or timeline to your processing of grief.
If you find yourself depressed when dealing with your grief, just remember that dealing with depression during your grief isn’t equivalent to clinical depression. People that do not have clinical depression will come out of grief depression. Eventually the good memories you have of the person you lost will squeeze out the pain.
Most of grief is short term. Just remember to be gentle with yourself.
Not every day will be better than the one before. After all of this, no matter how deep the valley, you will be okay!