If you have lost your loved one, you have likely experienced grief. Grief is an emotional feeling of sadness or sorrow. The loss of something or someone brings it on. For example, the end of a long-term relationship, like a divorce or the death of any family member, can cause grief.
Grief is not thought of like a full-body experience. But just as grief affects your mental health, it also has physical aspects. Of course, physical symptoms can not come with each kind of grief. But intense grief—for example, caused by the death of a child or partner—can bring about side effects that feel more physical than anything else.
Everyone grieves individually, but there are some commonalities in the stages and the order of feelings experienced during grief.
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Table of Contents
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Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand
Build a life beside grief rather than seeking to overcome it
What does grief do to your body?
Grief increases pain, which worsens the health problems you have and causes new ones. It damages the immune system, leaving you drained and vulnerable to infection. In addition, the heartbreak of grief increases your blood pressure and the risk of blood clots.
What are the stages of grief?
Your feelings happen in stages as you come to terms with the loss. You can’t manage the process, but it’s helpful to know the reasons behind your feelings. All people experience grief individually. Though it is not considered the ideal way to think about your grief, you have heard of the stages of grief.
When you first learn about your loss, it’s normal to think, “This isn’t happening.” You feel shocked or numb. This is a fast way to deal with the rush of strong emotion. It’s a defense mechanism.
As reality sets in, you’re faced with your pain of loss. You feel helpless and frustrated. These feelings next turn into anger. You might direct it to other people, a higher power, or life in general. But, to be angry with your loved one who died and left you alone is too.
During this stage, you live on what you could’ve done to stop the loss. Common thoughts and feelings are “If only…” and “What if….” Then, you try to beat a deal with greater power.
Sadness sets in as you start to understand your loss and its effect on your life. Symptoms of depression include sleep issues, crying, and a decreased appetite. In addition, you feel overwhelmed, regretful, and lonely.
Depression feels like the fixed landing point of loss. However, if you feel lost here or can’t appear to move past this stage of grief, talk with your mental health expert. A therapist helps you work through this period of coping.
Acceptance is not surely a happy stage of your grief. It does not mean you’ve moved past the grief or your loss. It does, however, mean that you’ve received it and have come to understand what it means in your life now.
Can grief make you physically weak?
Grief is tough work and, as noted above, takes a toll on our bodies. 4 For numerous reasons, including poor eating and disrupted sleep patterns, grievers usually experience low energy levels, fatigue, or weakness in their muscles.
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How is long too mourn?
No normal amount of time to grieve. Your grieving process depends on your things, like your personality, beliefs, age, and support network. In addition, the type of loss is a factor. For example, chances are you’ll grieve deep and harder over the unexpected death of a loved one than, say, the end of a relationship.
With time, the sadness reduces. Finally, you’ll be ready to feel happiness and joy along with grief. Finally, you’ll be ready to return to your daily life.
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Need professional help
In many cases, grief doesn’t get better. You are not able to accept the loss. Doctors call this “complex grief.” Talk to your doctor if you have the following:
- Trouble keeping up your normal life routine, like going to work and cleaning the house
- Thoughts that life isn’t deserving living, or of harming yourself
- inability to stop blaming yourself
Your therapist helps you examine your emotions. They can teach you coping skills and help manage your grief. If you’re depressed, a doctor prescribes medicines to help you feel better.
Alternately, try these things to help you come to terms with your loss and begin to heal:
- Give yourself some time. Accept the feelings and know that grieving is a process.
- Talk to others. Spend some time with friends and family.
- Take care of yourself. Regular exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep to stay healthy yourself.
- Return to your hobbies. Get back to your favorite activities that bring you happiness.
- Join a support group. Speak with others who are grieving. It helps you feel more connected.
The important key to understanding your grief is realizing that no one experiences the same thing. Grief is so personal, and you feel something strange every time. It would help if you had several weeks, or grief can be years long.
Suppose you decide you need help coping with feelings and changes. In that case, a mental health expert is a good resource for vetting the feelings and finding a sense of confidence in these heavy emotions.
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