Loss is a natural part of life. From the moment we are born we begin to experience loss. We lose the comfort and safety of our mother’s womb, we lose our childhood innocence, we make and lose friends, we lose pets, and sometimes family members. As adults, we may lose homes, jobs, loved ones, or even our dreams. But, we do not have to lose hope.
Since life itself is intricately connected with loss it is critical to understand how to process and work through and find peace through loss. Every loss is significant, but we do not always feel entitled to our pain due to internal and external pressures. In the extreme, such as in the case of complicated bereavement, unprocessed loss and grief can adversely affect many areas of our lives. In an effort to survive we suppress the pain and might be fooled into thinking that we have moved past the grief only to discover later that our difficulties and blocks are linked to the unprocessed grief.
Symptoms of Prolonged Grief and Bereavement
If the following scenario sounds familiar, you may be experiencing the symptoms of unhealed grief;
You have lost something or someone in your life and even after some time you don’t feel like yourself. Things feel off. You are not sure why you are irritable all the time. You’re not thinking about the loss, but you feel sad and unmotivated. You suddenly have an onset of symptoms that seem to be worsening over time that were not there previous to the loss.
Grief can be felt emotionally, physically, and spiritually;
Emotional: Waves of sadness and crying, lack of motivation, irritability, fatigue, indecision, foggy thinking, confusion, detachment, numbness, anger, avoidance, isolation, and more.
Physical: Somatic symptoms such as fatigue, aches, and pains, heartache, etc..
Spiritual: Anger at God, disconnect from a higher power, disconnect from your purpose, mistrust in the process of life, and feeling lost to name a few.
Some of these feelings are normal after a loss and if felt and processed can lead to a healthy movement through the grieving. However, if not worked through these feelings can become prolonged and may even worsen over time.
It is therefore important to understand how to process and transform through grief and loss. By facing the loss you can;
- Learn tools for effective coping.
- Bring your feelings to the light for healing.
- Have more compassion for yourself and others.
- Share your innermost feelings in a safe and validating environment.
- Discover the positive within your loss.
- In time, learn to accept and make peace with the loss.
Loss is an inherent part of life and can be painful and disorienting. If honored and worked with it can also help recognize our internal strength and resilience.
Please note that the information on this page is the opinion of the author and is not meant as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment by a professional. It is intended for informational and educational purposes only.