Grieving is an important and healthy process when getting over a traumatic experience. It is normal to have a period of time to dwell and come to terms with serious situations such as the diagnosis of a serious illness, a divorce, or the death of a close friend or family member. Grieving can be a difficult time for many, but there comes a point when normal grief turns into something unhealthy. Here are some things to look out for, some tips on how to grieve in a healthy way, and how to know when you should seek help.
Make sure that you are maintaining your overall health
It is quite common when people experience grief that they let go of their health. It’s important to remember to eat healthy, exercise, and get enough sleep. Letting go of your health, to the point that you experience other medical problems, is only going to intensify your situation and make it harder on you. Staying healthy inside and out is also great for your mental health.
Don’t isolate yourself
Although you might be tempted to grieve on your own, don’t allow yourself to. Sharing the grief with others, or allowing others to help you, is important. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have some alone time in the grieving process because everyone needs some alone time once in awhile. But too much alone time may lead to greater depression and elongated grief time.
Don’t suppress what you are feeling
The emotions that you are feeling are going to come out eventually, and it does nothing but postpone it if you decide to keep all of your feelings inside. If you need to cry, then cry. Don’t feel bad either if you feel like you should be crying and you don’t. Grieving is a very personal experience to all of us. Don’t pay attention to what anybody else says is the “proper way to grieve,” because there is none.
This includes yourself and others. There is often no one to blame for the experiences that are causing us grief. Placing blame sometimes makes it easier for people to cope with traumatic experiences, and for reasoning as to why those traumatic experiences occurred. Even though it can help people make sense of it, it is not an effective form of grief.
How to tell when your grief isn’t normal
People experience grief in a variety of ways, and exhibit different symptoms, such as weight loss or weight gain, change in appetite, depression, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. But when these symptoms become extreme (ie. extreme change in weight, depression over long periods of time) then they should not be overlooked. You may experience some of these symptoms for a short while while grieving, but if they are long term, it is definitely time to seek help. It is also time to seek help when your grief turns to anger or violence, because these are unhealthy.
Going to a counselor or a psychiatrist is something you should never be ashamed of, especially in times of grief. It is possible that professional help will aid you through your grieving process. Even if you are not experiencing “extreme” symptoms of grief, maybe you just think that you would like a little extra help getting through the normal grieving process, and counselors can help you with that.
Grieving can be particularly hard for people. It is never fun, but it is something we will all have to do, probably many times in our lives. Grief can be measured on a very large spectrum, and no one will experience it the same. Even though, as was stated earlier, there is no “correct way to grieve.” there are certainly times when grief can be dragged out and become unhealthy. Grieving is a long process, but when it takes a toll on your long-term mental health, then it is time to seek help. Here is an article with a bit more on unhealthy grieving. If you feel like you need to see someone to help you through the grieving process, come into Corner Canyon Counseling today.