by Ashwin Segkar and Rachel Hannam
Grief is the price we pay for love — The Queen.
This blog post has been inspired by the lovely comedienne, Jordan Kadell. Six years ago, Jordan’s family suffered a devastating loss when her brother died in a terrible accident while overseas celebrating finishing high-school.
Jordan explains how she has learnt to live with her grief and the anxiety that resulted from it. Have a listen to our recent ABC interview with Jordan.
Whether it’s through death, estrangement or a break-up, we can’t avoid grief in life. However, there are things we can do to make it more bearable.
But first, it’s important to acknowledge that there is no one way to grieve. Everyone experiences it in their own way and for their own length of time. And it’s important to know that grief is marked by a range of changes to your mental, emotional, physical and social life.
These can include:
- Feeling tired and fatigued for no good reason
- Feeling anxious
- Isolating yourself from others
- Becoming irritable and intolerant
- Being confused and forgetful
- Being tormented by disturbing thoughts and images
- Feelings of sadness and distress
- Losing your appetite
- Having trouble sleeping
- Feeling that life has lost its meaning and purpose.
The severity of your grief can be affected by a range of factors, including:
- How close you were to the person you lost
- The way in which they departed
- The amount of support you have around you
- Your existing mental and emotional skills in coping with grief.
As you’re grieving, it can be useful to embrace the practice of acceptance. Accept the thoughts and feelings as they arise. Don’t try to force them away, or speed them along. As much as possible, avoid trying to medicate them with short-term fixes, such as drugs or alchohol.
Instead, make more deep-rooted changes that will help you work through the process.
- Talk to friends and family about what you’re feeling
- Find a counsellor who specialises in grief and loss
- Look after health. Make sure you sleep, eat and exercise properly
- Get back to doing some of the things you enjoy
- Hold your own ritual for acknowledging the contribution of the person you are grieving over. You might write them a letter or hold a small ceremony
- Join a group for people experiencing what you’ve been through
- Avoid ruminating on things you regret but can’t change. Perhaps words you didn’t say, or things you didn’t do. Forgive yourself and let go.
The fear of the pain of grieving can cause some people to harden their hearts and avoid opening up again to the wonderful relationships and experiences that life still has to offer.
By grieving, realise that you have not made the choice to shy away from life. You’ve embraced it.
Carry that strength with you through the grieving process and you will find the weight of your grief diminishing over time. Accept that a life without suffering was never part of the deal, but instead return to those activities and people that give your life meaning, in spite of that pain that might arise from time to time.
At North Brisbane Psychologists, all of our counsellors have training and experience with processing and dealing with grief and loss. Call today if you need to know more about who to book in with: 0478 789 321.