LOSS AND GRIEF
“Sadness is treated with human connection.”
― Pauline Boss
How Therapy for Loss and Grief Can Help
In therapy you are able to engage in healing conversation about your pain and have another person validate it, sit with it and honor it with you. It is possible for your nervous system to re-learn to want, need, and provide you with good things, yes, even at the risk of losing them again. With therapy, you will come to see that the fear of loss doesn’t have to dictate your daily decisions for you, but before you know it you are empowered to take charge of your life again in the new prevailing circumstances.
Therapy gives you a place where you can relax, learn about the grieving process and express your feelings openly. There is indeed space for them in the world. As your therapist I will be an objective companion, encouraging and supporting you along the way. It can be a great relief to have someone validate and accept your emotions and patiently provide guidance through them. Feelings are great a compass. They always show the way. Let's tune in to hear their message in you. In the midst of life's deepest struggles quite a lot of people also find themselves contemplating their suffering in the light of the spiritual realm. If you'd like me to hope with you or pray with you, that is also possible.
A DEEP, PHYSICAL HURT
Have you recently experienced a loss and feel emotionally overwhelmed? Are you ashamed of your sense of loss, since there are "worse things in the world"? Your pain is valid, no matter what it is. We live in an imperfect world where everyone goes through suffering at some point. My sincere wish is that you would feel liberated to reach out to get the help you deserve.
Grief is difficult to understand until you have experienced an important loss such as the death of a loved one. Until then, one does not really understand the depth of pain that comes with grieving. You hurt in a deep, physical way that can be felt all over you body. This pain feels unbearable at times. You may become frightened and try to distract or close off these emotions in fear they will take over your whole life. If you try to avoid the emotional process of grieving, often times you may experience increased anxiety, depression or obsessive compulsive behaviors. It is healthy and natural to mourn our losses. Over time, the grieving process becomes soothing and connects us to what we have lost rather than closing us off from it.
Are you experiencing some of these feelings?
Shock - the initial reaction of being stunned or numb, or difficulty making decisions
Disbelief - feeling that the death / other loss is surreal or did not really happen.
Helplessness - difficulty in performing activities of daily living
Hopelessness - feelings that life may not be worth living
Forgetfulness - unable to finish what is started, absentmindedness
Fearfulness - that someone else will die or that you are going “crazy”.
Restlessness - inability to sit still or maintain focus.
Anger - that the death has occurred or that the person has left them
Guilt - over what was left unsaid or undone in the relationship.
Shame - whether my grief is big enough deal to "get worked up about"
Emptiness - felt physically in the chest, stomach, or depicting other physical symptoms.
Pain - the experience physical pain (felt in chest, stomach or head).
Tearfulness - burst of emotions at Unexpected times.
Yearning or longing - aching for one more encounter or touch.
Depression - experience sleep / appetite changes / low energy / sad mood, etc.
Anxiety - feeling pressured to get control of emotions and be “normal” again.
Disappointment - in how the loss is handled (often poorly)
WHAT TO EXPECT
The process of grief typically has a natural flow that if allowed will take us where we need to go to heal. But too often we do not think that tuning in to our authentic feelings would result in desired outcomes and quickly learn to shut off problematic feelings instead. And they may go away momentarily by eating, drinking, shopping, gambling, speeding or other indulgent pleasure hits that make our brain release powerful pleasure hormones. But in the long run you will not be free of your pain by cultivating your pleasure trap that, by the by demands a stronger hit every time to experience the same release. Why don't you pause and reflect for a moment and seek the help you deserve. Together we can implement tried and true sustainable ways of coping and establish a healing plan that starts from the inside.
When you surrender to noticing and sitting with your actual feelings, the natural process of healing from grief goes something like this. Imagine that you are floating in a river; the water is rough and fast at first. You are tossed about crashing into rocks and almost going under. Then, the water gradually slows and smooths. You relax and are in the flow. Every so often, you hit a rough spot, but it doesn't last for long and you know this and are less frightened. It is painful, but there are Moments of peace and even Joy beside the pain. In time, you find yourself drifting into shallower waters. You come to shore and are able to walk again. You are in a new place and experiencing new things. You no longer feel so broken and become interested and engaged in life around you. You will never forget what was lost, but now the memories are integrated and internalized in a way that you feel connected and stable once again.
OTHER EXPERIENCES OF LOSS
The death of a loved one is the most common way we think of loss and grief, however, there are many other significant losses such as illness / injury, loss of a job, a beloved pet, divorce / separation, losing a good friend, aging, empty Nest syndrome, moving or losing one's independence that can cause us to experience grief. Many adults also grieve the absence of a normal childhood, if they had to grow up faster than naturally optimal or healthy. Regardless of what you have lost or what you are grieving, the process is much the same.