Grief is a natural and ongoing response to loss, whether it is the death of a loved one or pet, a relationship breakdown, or loss of material possessions. Grief can be an ongoing and unpredictable process but with time and therapy, hope can be regained for the future.

The experience of grief and loss

Grief and loss is a normal part of life. We all respond to loss differently, and each individual’s journey and depth of grief is unique. There is no right way to overcome grief and loss, and the process of mourning can last for years depending on the nature of loss and your personal approach to recovery.

For some people, mourning and grief is hidden as we attempt to cope with the painful feelings and carry on with life as normal. For others, grief can be a debilitating and deeply paralyzing experience as we come to terms with life in a new way.

 

Common signs of grief and mourning

Some common experiences of grief include:

  • Feeling out of control of your emotion, or that your mourning comes in “waves”;
  • Shock or disbelief that things have changed;
  • Longing or sadness for things to return to the way they were prior to loss;
  • Anxiety, worry or despair that you will never be content with life again;
  • Difficulty letting go, moving on, or starting fresh;
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches or nausea;
  • Changes in diet or sleeping patterns.

Many people may turn to alcohol or substance use, compulsive behaviors like spending or gambling, and other unhelpful coping mechanisms to shoulder the burden of grief. However, with time and appropriate therapy, you can enjoy the fullness of life once again.

 

Grief and loss does not always come from the loss of life. It can be the loss of a close relationship in the case of divorce or estrangement, a job or circumstance, or a material possession like a house.