Grief is an overwhelming painful emotional response to an important loss. Grieving or bereavement is triggered by the death of a loved one, but can also be associated with other loss such as separation or divorce, the decline of health and physical capability, the loss of a job, money or status. Bereavement can be felt in a situation where we have lost something precious and our sense of safety or predictability is shaken. The associated feeling of devastation and isolation could affect every part of our daily functioning.
We each experience grieving in our unique way and there is not a right or wrong way to bereave. Bereavement is a normal reaction to an important loss, and has a profound impact on our physical, emotional, cognitive, behavioural and spiritual aspects of our lives.
When we are bereaved, we experience a range of intense feelings such as disbelief, distress, despair, sadness, helplessness, anger, anxiety, fear, panic, guilt, remorse, regret or even numbness. We feel overwhelmed… it is all too hard! We can be tearful and experience emotional, physical, mental and spiritual chaos. Acceptance of the loss seems impossible. We can’t sleep, and we lose our appetite or eat too much. We may even have suicidal thoughts. We wish to shut down, to end this unbearable ache.
We can’t think straight, we feel confused, we are preoccupied with our loss, we loose interest in previously enjoyable activities. Our motivation may be low. At time, we may have vivid dreams or nightmares. We find it impossible to function in our lives the way we used to. It is difficult to concentrate, and we have a much more pessimistic outlook believing that our pain will never end.
At other times there may be feelings of anger. The anger may be felt consciously or unconsciously. It can be toward doctors and nurses, God, other loved ones, oneself, or even the person who has died. The grieving person may also experience feelings of guilt and remorse thinking: "what if I had done this or that?", or "I should have…", "I could have…", or "I wish I had…". In times of bereavement, emotions can be overwhelming, and the grieving person may experience confusing mood swings. Physically, we may feel a great deal of tension, feeling often tired, with low energy to do anything. We avoid places and people who would remind us of our loss while we treasure objects that are associated with the loss. These are all normal reactions to loss.
People deal with their grief and loss in a variety of ways. Some people may be open and public about their pain and want to talk about it, while others prefer to grieve silently, to be alone and quiet. The intensity and duration of the grief will differ for different people. Initially the experience is intense for a number of weeks and months. We can’t predict how long we will or should grieve. Different people will experience grief in completely different ways with different set of emotions. For some, bereavement is quickly resolved, showing few symptoms, while for others, it will take much longer. For most people who grieve, the symptoms of bereavement ease six months to two years after the loss.
The grief will come and go. Some days will be easier, while other days, you may feel crushed by the loss and be unable to function. At times, you may even feel guilty or shameful for feeling less grief. However, for your own good health and well-being, you can learn to respect your grief, to remember the love in a way that is important for you, and yet begin to resume your life in a meaningful manner.
The experience of bereavement, will be determined often by the circumstances surrounding the loss and your relationship to the deceased.
The death a spouse or partner can be especially difficult. You may feel that you have lost part of your identity and feel very alone in your grief, despite having many people surrounding you. You may have to deal with so many decisions such as funeral arrangements, finances, in a time when you are feeling most fragile and vulnerable. You may also have to support the children and others in their grief.
The death of one's child, is an emotionally devastating event which can be very overwhelming for a parent, regardless of the cause of death or the age of the child. it all feels so unfair and senseless. Often parents feel responsible in some way for the loss.
The death of a mother or father has a deep impact, regardless of what age the parent was or if the lost was sudden or not. It is natural to feel consumed by a combination of pain, fear, and deep sadness or even anger at such a significant loss. The way we grieve a parent will depend of many factors, such as the nature of the relationship with the parent, as well as our spiritual beliefs, previous experience with loss, and whether or not one believes it was their time to die. The loss of a parent may also mean the loss of a lifelong source of support which create a void.
Loosing a close person to suicide lead to intense grief reactions in parents, partners, children, siblings, relatives, friends, and others. Bereavement after a suicide can be more challenging than coping with other losses because of the associated feelings of shame, guilt, and rejection. There is still a stigma attached to death by suicide and the bereaved person(s) can feel very "alone" in their loss.
Bereavement is painful and exhausting. It is normal to want to avoid the feelings of grief. However, it can also be very healing to work through the sorrow gradually and allow the feelings to just be what they are with compassion.
We recommend in times of grief to pace yourself to adjust to your lost. Typically, you may feel lonely and isolated. It is important to take good care of yourself and to seek social support from friends and relatives. Taking time to bereave and yet still seek enjoyable and relaxing activities. However, if the grief is difficult and prolong or if there is complicated grief reactions, psychological counselling and treatment can be very helpful.
• if the lost is sudden, unexpected and perceived as “unfair”
• if the lost is a close important relationship such as a spouse, partner, child, close friend or parent.
• if we do not have access to social support
Talking to a psychologist while we are mourning and grieving can help us to clarify and ease the process of grieving. You can talk in confidence to a psychologist to seek greater clarity and support. Other times, when the grieving is complex, you can seek the help of a psychologist to prevent or alleviate depression.
If you have difficulty grieving, you will benefit by talking to a psychologist. The loss may have been caused by upsetting, traumatic, sudden circumstances. The situation could be complex and particularly distressing. It is recommended that you seek help from your doctor and/or a psychologist if you experience the following:
Grief counselling with our experienced psychologist can help you to heal; to come to term with your loss. Our psychologist provides a confidential, supportive and safe environment which can give you comfort and hope in times of confusion. You will be free to talk about what is happening for you, to express yourself in a climate of acceptance, compassion and non-judgment. If it is your desire, when you are ready, at your own pace, you may wish to be introduced to Mindfulness, Self-Compassion and Cognitive Therapy to help you deal with difficult emotions such as anxiety, anger, shame and depression.
The aim of Grief or Bereavement Counselling is to support you in your time of lost to promote healing.
Typically, our psychologist will first listen and encourage you to share your thoughts and feelings about your loss. The aim is to support you so you can grieve in your own way, at your own pace. We will be open to your individual needs. You may just want to talk in privacy and confidence with our psychologist who provides a safe, compassionate and caring environment.
Our psychologist will gently encourage you to re-engage with life in a meaningful way. If it is appropriate for you and when you are ready, you may want to explore some mindfulness and self-compassion practices to improve your mood and wellbeing. Our psychologist can assist you, also, to improve relationships, communication and to promote your core values and goals.
Grieving can be a time, also, when you may want, if you wish, to deepen your spiritual understanding. We provide an environment where you are free to explore your spirituality at your own pace, be it Christian, Buddhist or other spiritual views, in order to find more meaning in your lost. Grieving can be a time of opening to the mystery of life.
Our psychologist in a compassionate way will assist you to regain a sense of balance, to return to an active, meaningful, satisfying and enjoyable life. If you are referred to our psychologist by your GP, you may be eligible for a Medicare rebate. Ask our psychologist or your GP for details.
If you wish for more information or to make an appointment face to face at our office in the Gold Coast or Online anywhere in Australia,
ring 0427795721 or send an email to email@example.com
Burleigh Waters, Qld 4220