When to Seek Help
Immediately following a death, you might feel overwhelmed by your grief. Many of the thoughts and feelings you might experience are normal. [link to: What is “normal” grief]. At times, it might feel like too much to handle and as if your grief will never stop. Here are some things to know about how grief can be helpful:
- Grief serves a very important purpose for each of us in a different way
- Grief allow us to take in and acknowledge the person who has died
- At first, grief could take form as denial or a separation from the idea that a person is gone forever
- Over time, we may slowly begin to understand and accept the loss that we have experienced. This allows us to make sense of the loss on our own timeline and in our own way
Eventually, the goal can be to bring that person into your life in a new way and find a new normal that includes your loved one in a different way.
As you continue your life, you may notice that the feelings you had immediately following the death come back at different times. You might experience them when certain milestones, such as an anniversary, graduation, or wedding, approach. You could also experience these feelings spontaneously as you remember your loved one and what he or she meant to you.
There are many things you can do that may help you to begin to feel better. Remember that your grief has its own timetable and that everyone's way of grieving is unique. A few helpful tips:
- Cry it out. Talk it out. Write it out.
- Talk with people who are supportive and give you the time and space to begin healing.
- Look at pictures of your loved one and remember your times together.
- keep a journal of your feelings and thoughts.
- Ask for hugs. Be open to the love and support of those who care.
- Treat yourself in ways that make you feel cared for and that are distracting.
- Take care of your body/strength: Get plenty of rest. Eat well and regularly. Exercise. Have regular check-ups.
- Make healthy choices regarding alcohol and other drugs.
- Find ways to relax, such as with music, quiet time, watching TV or a movie.
- Try something new like a class or hobby.
- Join a grief support group.
- Do something that honors your loved one: planing a memorial tree, enlarging a photograph and framing it, giving back to your community.
It’s important to allow yourself the time you need to experience your grief. Sometimes it could take one or two years to start feeling like your self again. Often, it’s difficult to get through the first year and have to experience birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries without your loved one for the first time. Sometimes, grief can become complicated, and it can be difficult to find a new normal on your own. If you don’t feel better over time or you feel like your grief is getting worse, it might be important to seek professional help. [link to: when help can be harmful]