“There For You”
Bereavement is a distressing but common experience. Sooner or later most of us will suffer the death of someone we love. Yet in our everyday life we think and talk about death very little, perhaps because we encounter it less often than our grandparents did. For them, the death of a brother or sister, friend or relative, was a common experience in their childhood or teenage years. For us, these losses usually happen later in life. So we do not have much of a chance either to learn about grieving – how it feels, what are the right things to do, what is ‘normal’ – or to come to terms with it. In spite of this, we have to cope when we are finally faced with the death of someone we love.
We grieve after any sort of loss, but most powerfully after the death of someone we love. It is not just one feeling, but a whole succession of feelings, which take a while to get through and which cannot be hurried.
Process of Bereavement
In the few hours or days following the death of a close relative or friend, most people feel simply stunned, as though they cannot believe it has actually happened. They may feel like this even if the death has been expected. This sense of emotional numbness can be a help in getting through all the important practical arrangements that have to be made, such as getting in touch with relatives and organizing the funeral. However, this feeling of unreality may become a problem if it goes on too long.
Soon, this numbness disappears and may be replaced by a dreadful sense of agitation, of pining or yearning for the dead person. There is a feeling of wanting somehow to find them, even though this is clearly impossible. This makes it difficult to relax or concentrate and it may be difficult to sleep properly. Dreams can be very upsetting.
People often feel very angry at this time – towards doctors and nurses who did not prevent the death, towards friends and relatives who did not do enough, or even towards the person who has, by dying, left them. Another common feeling is guilt. People find themselves going over in their minds all the things they would have liked to have said or done.
Toronto Grief Therapy
Firstly, one must realize that grief if not a state but rather a process. Bereavement counselling can be helpful for the ‘natural’ grieving process. For most bereaved individuals, the difficult journey through grief will ultimately conclude in an acceptable level of adjust to life without their loved one.
However, when the grieving process becomes complicated, grief therapy is used. When the grieving process is prolonged, exaggerated, creating physiological reactions this may affect an individuals normal functioning. Treatment includes a dual focus on coming to terms with the loss and on finding a pathway to heal and re-identify oneself.
Complicated grief is a distressing psychological condition with negative health and life quality consequences. Grief is typically under-diagnosed, minimized as a factor affecting mental health and function. One may experience a psychological protest against the reality of loss and a general reluctance to make the adaptations to life in the absence of the loved one.
Bereavement can lead to depression, anxiety, panic, ptsd, sleeping disorders, eating disorders, and cognitive impairment. Treatment is necessary to help alleviate symptoms. Psychotherapy is most effective in assisting bereaved individual eventually achieve a greater quality of life.
If the death of a loved one was unexpected, such as a tragic accident or suicide, the bereavement process this that much more difficult. Therapy is absolutely necessary to process and heal from the trauma.