Whilst we may often think of grief resulting from the death of a loved one, any loss can cause grief. These losses may include divorce or the break up of a relationship, a miscarriage, loss of a pet, loss of our health, a job, a cherished dream, a friendship, financial security, or selling the family home.
Grieving is a highly individual and personal experience and the way in which we grieve can depend on many different elements. These include our personality, our life experiences, our faith, the nature of the loss, our resilience and coping style. Grief can be like a roller coaster – with ups and downs. Powerful feelings can come unexpectedly some more intense and longer lasting than others. Feelings can range from shock and disbelief, to guilt, sadness, anger, fear and frustration. Physical symptoms are also common such as weight loss/gain, insomnia, fatigue, nausea, aches and pains. Forgetfulness and poor concentration are also symptoms of grief. All of these feelings are perfectly normal and there is no right or wrong way to feel. Sometimes people can feel guilty about their anger – but it is okay to be angry.
It is important not to go through this alone and to talk and share your feelings. This may be with family and friends or you may prefer the support of a counsellor. Counselling can offer the space and time to talk through your feelings and overcome obstacles to your grieving. Allowing yourself time to experience your feelings is very important even if, at times, they are difficult. For many people their faith, prayer, meditation or going to church can be a great solace in times of loss. Support groups where you can share your sorrow with others who have experienced similar losses can be also be of tremendous help.
It is vitally important that you take care of yourself when you are grieving. You are coming to terms with a major upheaval in your life so give yourself permission to take things a bit easier. Your energy may be low, so do not place too many demands on yourself and make sure you get enough rest and sleep. It is important to look after your physical health by eating healthily and getting some exercise each day. Don’t rush things and put off making major decisions such as moving home or changing jobs for at least six months to a year.
Dr Geraldine Sheedy is Director of SouthWest Counselling Centre Killarney. SWCC provides affordable professional counselling to children, adolescents adults and couples – both at its Killarney Centre (Lewis Road) and at Kenmare Family Centre. firstname.lastname@example.org. Kerry LifeLine provides FREE counselling and support to anyone feeling suicidal or bereaved through suicide. email@example.com To make an appointment call 064 6636416.
SouthWest Counselling Centre is a not-for-profit organization. All funds raised through fundraising go directly to service provision.
Please support us at The Ring of Beara Cycle on 23rd May 2015. Contact the Centre on 064 6636416 for more information.