Grief is a normal response to the experience of loss of any kind, such as loss of a family member, loved one, friend, and losses connected to major life transitions such as marriage, divorce, kids going away to college, graduation, moving, job loss, and aging. Dealing with a significant loss can be one of the most difficult times in a person's life.

Grief is highly individualized, based on our unique personality and life experiences, as well as the nature of the relationship with the deceased, how the death happened, the support system available, our past experiences with loss, and our religious and cultural background. There is no one right way to grieve.

Grief is not an illness from which a person recovers; rather, it is a gradual process of transformation. In death or change we find that many facets of life are different and it is challenging to find our bearings. A new normal must be found, as we learn to integrate the loss and live in a world that is permanently altered.

It is important to note that the grief process is not linear, but is more often experienced in waves. Grief can wash over us in a huge overwhelming tidal wave of emotion and then ebb away to a more manageable set of feelings. Patience with the process and allowing feelings to come without judgment can help.

The length of the grief process is different for everyone. There is no predictable schedule for grief. Although it can be quite painful at times, the grief process cannot be rushed. It is important to be patient with yourself as you experience the feelings and your unique reactions to the loss. With time and support, things generally do get better.

There are many ways to grieve and to learn to accept loss and change. Taking care of yourself, seeking support, and acknowledging your feelings during these times are ways that can help you cope. Try not to ignore your grief. Regular talk therapy can help you learn to accept the loss and, in time, create a new life.  Having a safe place to share your feelings during this challenging time can be the best gift you give to yourself on the road to healing.  Be kind to yourself. Be gentle with yourself. And seek the support you need to once again experience your life.

Referral source - National Institute of Mental Health

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