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Express your emotions in a creative way
As a way of dealing with grief, it is very important not to keep the emotions inside. If you don't feel like talking to anybody, try writing something in your journal, or making a tribute to the person/pet/thing you have lost. Sculpt something; write something; paint something; compose a song. There are so many creative ways in which you can express yourself.
Grief can really be debilitating. You might think that everything is over and that there is no purpose to anything. But you are still there, and you need to take care of yourself. As a way of coping with grief and loss, eat healthy meals, sleep on a regular basis, and try to move as much as you can (exercise, hike, swim...).
If you are not sure how to handle grief, try understanding the reason for it. Even though it might seem it will never end, grief does end at some point. Or it becomes easier to come to terms with it. But first you need to understand what exactly you are going through.
You should be going through roughly five stages:
Af first, you are in denial and can't accept what has happened. Then you are angry because it happened. Later on, you begin having thoughts like, "If I'd done that, it would have been different," and it follows a lot of 'what ifs'. Then you fall into depression. And the final stage is accepting that something has happened.
But you shouldn't be too much worried about the length of each one. It varies a lot, so don't be concerned with that.
Here is the page that will explain to you more thoroughly what you are going through, stage by stage.
It's a fact that one cannot stop grieving whenever they want. If you are experiencing grief long after the loss, please seek professional help, since it can be harmful to your psyche and physical health:
Intense longing and yearning for the deceased;
Intrusive thoughts or images of your loved one;
Denial of the death or sense of disbelief;
Imagining that your loved one is alive;
Searching for the person in familiar places;
Avoiding things that remind you of your loved one;
Extreme anger or bitterness over the loss;
Feeling that life is empty or meaningless.
This condition is called complicated grief, and is different from clinical (major) depression because you can still experience joyful moments during the grieving period, whereas nothing of the sort can be felt during clinical depression, where a person is devoid of all feelings of happiness. The professionals know best what are the stages of grief and the stages of grief and loss and how to deal with them.
If you are not sure how to cope with grief, the answer is simple, ask for help. In such a difficult moment, it is very important to be with someone. You should try and lean on the ones that love you and care for you. You don't need to maintain the appearance of somebody who is strong; you are allowed to feel grief like everybody else.
Sometimes people don't understand the grief symptoms and don't know how to help you with dealing with it and may say some wrong things, but don't be angry at them - simply tell them what you want and need and help them understand you.
Do not try to avoid your feelings, or ignore them. They won't get away just by ingoring them. You need to acknowledge your feelings, because unresolved grief can lead to many psychological and health complications and complicated grief treatment.
You might come across people who think that only crying and screaming (common grief symptoms) means that you are sad and grieving. But people can also grieve withut shedding a tear. It all depends on a person.
Also, you can't decide when you can stop grieving, since that is not even a choice; it's a process. So, don't let other's opinion on when you should stop grieving get to you.
If your grief becomes so overwhelming and you don't think you can deal with it by yourself, try visiting a therapist or a grief counselor. They might be able to help you by hearing you out and offering you their point of view as they do know the answer to the "what are the stages of grief" question and how to deal with them.
Grief can sometimes be overwhelming and might take some time to go away (it can take months or even years for it to pass). So, if the feeling is persitent, and you don't think that people around you can help you much, try joining a support group, where people have been through similar things like you. They might be able to hear you out and help as the supervisors which are part of those groups know more about the stages of grief and loss.
If you feel that you are going through any of the phases of grief or the stages of grief after a breakup, try buying the How to Survive the Loss of a Love book. This book might help you understand your feelings and teach you how to ease your pain.
When someone you know goes through phases of grief, and if you how to handle grief, and you want to help, don't say general things such as: "If you need me for anything, just call me." Grieving people usually don't know what exactly they need.
You can offer something more specific instead, like, taking out the trash, bringing in the mail, walking the pets, something recurring. Help them with some daily routines.
One of the best ways of dealing with grief and loss, or to help someone deal with it is choosing words wisely. Even though you mean well when you say certain things, it is better to leave some things unsaid. For example, don't say:
"I know how you feel"
They are in a better place now
It's all a part of God's plan
They (the deceased) wouldn't like to see you like that
Anything that sounds like a command, like, 'you should', or 'you will'
Don't promise them that they'll feel better in no time
Don't suggest that distraction will help them get over it
Never tell them that it was high time they got themselves together
Never suggest that God would have never given them so much burden if He thought they couldn't handle it.
If you experienced grief as well, never compare that to their own, and don't expect they should be going through the same things as you.
If you are not sure how to cope with grief, or help someone cope with it, show love as love is much better than any complicated grief treatment. Show them that you love them and that you care about them. Be there for them whenever they need you. Assert yourself sometimes, too. Be the one who will stay by their side, and manage others who want to show support, because there are not many people a grieving person can handle. They should be focused on how to get through it, not to reassure other people that they are fine.
Check these solutions if you feel that your grief has turned into depression
If you are not sure how to overcome grief and if you believe that your grief has turned into something more serious, like depression, please check our solutions to depression which might be of great help to you.
If your children want to know about death, tell them, and try not lying to them. They are curious to know something that has been unknown to them, and it is for the best that you, in the best way possible, tell them the truth. Because, for instance, when you say that you have lost your husband, they might think that he should be found or that he should come back.
Try explaining death to them in 'child terms', so that they can understand.
It is important to explain to your child that grief doesn't necessarily need to be continuous and that there might be sporadic moments of happiness and joy, and that it is okay to feel that way. They need to take a break from depressing feelings of grief.
It is very important to value the child's opinion. Yes, they are small children, but their voice counts too. So let them take part, for instance, in a funeral; let them participate in the choosing of a casket, flowers, etc.
Let them give a tribute to that person the way they see fit. They might want to write something for that person, that could be included in the service, for example. Don't let them feel left out.
Let your child talk and remember the person that died. That way he/she will heal faster. Let them keep something of the deceased person as memorabilia if they please. Do not make it taboo to talk about a deceased person.
Explain to your child all about the memorial service so that they can decide whether they would or would not participate. If they choose not to, then ask them whether they want to pay tribute to that person in a different way.
Children, like adults, grieve differently. Some may cry, some may not. Some may talk about the deceased person, some do not feel like talking. Either way, that does not mean that they suffer any less than ones who express their grief openly. So respect whichever style in which your child is grieving.
If your child is suffering for a very long time, and just as intensely as at the beginning of the grieving process, and cannot come to terms with the loss, you might want to take them to a counseling session or a support group, so that they might be able to help.