|Grief itself is a
normal process. Its the price we pay for having relationships with others in our
What is Normal?
By definition normal means
midway between two extremes. As with any other process grief has its range of
median reactions with areas of extreme on either side.
Here are some emotions
which survivors may experience. Keep in mind that these emotions are normal in nature and
should become less severe and less frequent as time passes.
The fact that you feel
these emotions should not cause undue alarm. You may, in fact, feel things that are not
listed here, and thats OK, too.
Probably, no one person
will feel all of these symptoms, and no two people will feel any of the symptoms with the
same level of intensity at the same time.
- abnormal eating patterns (cant eat; cant stop eating)
- dazed feeling
- relief (yes, and guilt for feeling it, too)
- sleep disturbances (cant sleep; fear of sleeping)
Is Professional Help Needed?
There may be times,
however, when weve been stressed beyond the scope of our resources and our emotions
fall into one of the extreme zones.
This is when the price of
grief can be too high for any one person to pay. Even the most supportive of families or
groups may not be able to help a survivor pay the emotional price of the loss of a loved
one. Its at this time that professional help should be considered.
There are some red
flags that signal an inability to cope with grief. If you observe these in yourself
or others, professional help should be suggested.
may not see these signals in ourselves pay particular attention to what others say to you.
If you feel you may fit into this category, you may want to ask a trusted friend or
relative to read through this list and give you their honest opinion:
In addition to these flags,
if you have suffered several losses in a short period of time your emotional symptoms of
grief may be within the normal range, but you may not have a sufficient reserve of
emotional strength to deal with them. You may consider some professional counseling in
this instance even if you feel you are handling things pretty well.
social workers, and others who have been trained in grief and loss should be readily
available to everyone. Check with your primary care physician, your insurance carrier,
your HMO, or your state or local departments of social services.
There should be no
hesitation or stigma attached to getting help dealing with the emotions caused by loss.
- apparent absence of grief
- hyperactivity and prolonged restlessness
- assuming the symptoms of the one who died
- psychosomatic illnesses
- emotional numbness
- abrupt or severe changes in lifestyle
- self-destructive behavior
- long-lasting or very deep depression
- continued inappropriate emotional outbursts
- thoughts or talk of suicide
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