Psychiatrist Blog

What is grief and how to cope with the loss of a loved one

woman feeling grief

To put it simply, grief is the feeling of sadness, sorrow, or despair that someone feels when a loved one dies. It is a natural human response to loss and is a life-long process that, unfortunately, no single human is immune to. People of all walks of life experience grief in their own unique way. Shock, disbelief, denial, anger, anxiety, and depression are among some of the symptoms that one typically experiences in the emotional roller coaster that takes off shortly after experiencing a death. The initial period following death is likely the hardest. It is not unusual to question many things as part of this process. What is the point to life? Could I have done something different? Could this have been avoided? Don’t even get me started on the feelings of regret. All the while, you are trying to maintain a household, take care of your children, or hold down a job. Life still moves on while you are stuck limbo. So how can one help themselves move forward through this plethora of uncharted emotions?  

There are so many resources – books, articles, medical professionals –that are available to help you with your grieving process. Not everyone will require the same kind of support when it comes to grief, but there is one main concept in common. This is processing your emotions. Reading about grief, journaling, and psychotherapy are a few methods used to help people face their feelings and work through their emotions to develop healthy coping techniques and an acceptance of a new normal. A new normal without the significant person in your life. There are also some situations in which the feelings of depression, despair, yearning, and poor sleep patterns are prolonged and complicate the grieving process. While medication is not for everyone, in this situation medications such as antidepressants, anxiolytics, and sleep aids may be useful to help ease these symptoms. 

It is important to acknowledge that everyone grieves in their own unique and individualized manner. There is no right or wrong way to move through this journey. What you are feeling is completely normal, but we can help. Always reach out, and know that you are not alone. Pacific Neuropsychiatric Specialists specializes in Adult and Adolescent Psychiatry as well as psychotherapy and counseling to help you get through this difficult time.


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