Saturday, August 31, 2019

Recovering from the death of a loved one


The death of a loved one is one is a hugely impactful and stressful event, and if you are like me you don't even like to think about losing someone so important to you that it will rock your whole world. While it sucks to think about it or talk about it, it is a fact of life that it's bound to happen. I truly don't think you can prepare for some losses, and I also don't think you ever stop missing someone. I believe you go on living because of course you do, but there is no magic cure for someone's absence on this earth. Some things make the grieving process a little easier though.

Don’t bottle up your grief
Bottling up grief is the most harmful thing you can do. Your body needs that release in order to move on and by bottling it up you’ll feel weaker and angrier longer. Allow yourself time to cry and don’t feel ashamed of doing it in front of family and friends or the world at large (hopefully you can make it to the bathroom if you feel a spell coming on at work because if you're like me you'd rather do about 489 dumpster dives in the heat of summer than cry in your office). Grief is completely normal, everyone grieves differently, and you need to give yourself some grace and let it out.

Seek support from family and friends
Having time to yourself is important, but you shouldn’t let yourself become a recluse because it's easier to be alone and not feel the need to attempt to explain how you feel to anyone. The loss of someone close leaves a huge hole, and that huge hole is made worse by cutting out the supports and connections you have around you. Spend time with friends and family and accept any support that they offer, whether it’s helping you to deal with funeral plans or simply cooking you a meal or doing your dishes and laundry. Accept that people want to do things for you in your time of need and let them, however you can. Some people are better at doing than talking. 

Use healthy self-medication
When we mention self-medicating, we often think of the not great/unhealthy methods like heavy drinking or drug abuse and while it's tempting to lose yourself in a haze of whatever, don't. Try instead to embrace healthy forms of self-medication such as exercise, laughter, or simple pleasures such as a hot bath. All these activities will provide an endorphin rush that will help you to feel better temporarily. Coping is done in a series of minutes strung together to make a day. Get through those minutes in small segments. 

Consider talking to a counselor
If you need to talk through your feelings, grief counseling could be worth trying. A counselor can act as a neutral party – there may be feelings that you don’t feel you can open up about to anyone else and a counselor will listen and not judge. Loss can create all kinds of complex feelings from anger to guilt. It's rarely ever a case of straight-forward sadness and it's hard to work through any issues you have related to someone who has passed when that person is no longer there. 

Consider joining a support group
Support groups could allow you to talk to other people who have dealt with similar losses as you. Having other people who can relate to you could help to combat the loneliness of grief. Look out for support groups local to you and support groups online

I hope you don't need it soon, but if you do, I hope it helps.

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