All of us will grieve the loss of loved ones during our lifetime. While the pain and suffering may feel overwhelming at times, most people can integrate their grief into their lives in a way that allows them to still carry on with daily activities in a fairly healthy way. One of my favorite anonymous quotes is "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain." However, some losses such as unexpected, sudden death, or violent death, or death of a child can lead to the experience of grief being longer, more complicated, and more traumatic. Sometimes, with a traumatic loss, a person may feel like they will never dance, laugh, smile again. New this year is the official diagnosis of Prolonged Grief Disorder. Prolonged grief disorder was added to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders) for people who are still grieving one year after experiencing a loss, unable to return to everyday activities. It is expected to apply to around 4% of bereaved people.
Having the support of family and friends is significant in coping with loss. But there may be thoughts or things that you are not comfortable sharing with your loved ones for fear of what they might think. It is important to be able to share our thoughts and tell our stories as we learn to live with grief. A Grief Counselor/Life Coach can provide this support, empathy, and guidance to help you to develop coping skills and to help you to find meaning in your life.
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, you or they should seek professional help:
Using alcohol or drugs to cope
Withdraw from family and friends
Continuing physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches, or nightmares
Lack of caring for self or others in your care
Anger that doesn't lessen with time
These are but a few of the troubling symptoms associated with complicated or prolonged grief. While the grief journey is different for everyone, no one should struggle alone. Please reach out if you are struggling. If you know someone who seems to be having difficulty coping with their loss, please gently encourage them to seek help. Speaking with a Grief Counselor/Life Coach can be a turning point. If you would like to set up an appointment, please call 717-319-7318.