Health and Wellbeing

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The biggest myth about grief is that support is a one size fits all. Often people think there’s a ‘normal’ way to process the pain of loss of a loved one. After all we’ve all heard about the 7 Stages of Grief, we should just tick of each stage until we reach the end and we’ll be right! If only it was this easy, grief is complex and should be treated as such.

As a grief expert who counsels people on coping and rediscovering life, happiness and yes even joy again after loss, the most common question I’m asked is “Am I grieving normally?” In my many years of conversations with the bereaved it’s vital that people understand that grief is entirely individual and influenced by many factors.

One size doesn’t fit all.

There are many what I call Urban Myths about grief in society.

Urban Myths about grief such as:

  • Give it time, you’ll be right
  • Be strong
  • You must be happy they’re out of pain
  • Keep yourself busy
  • It gets easier

There is no set time frame for grief, there are just too many factors that impact your reaction to loss. Factors such as your relationship to the person lost, your beliefs about death, your normal emotional reaction to sadness and many more factors all determine the response to grief.

Some factors that determine your response to grief:

  • Your relationship with the person you’ve lost
  • Your religious beliefs
  • Your emotional reaction to change
  • Your normal response to sadness
  • The support around you
  • How you are seen within family and society e.g. are you the strong one, the emotional one

Due to these many different factors and people’s unique experiences in life, a trained professional is my advice and something I highly recommended to support you. Together you can both determine the best way to support you, and you alone.

Stop Comparing Your Grief to That of Others

I advise that you stop comparing yourself to others you’ve seen grieve. If you compare yourself to, for instance, your neighbour’s response to her husband’s death and wonder why she seemed better after a few weeks and you still feel so sad after months, you’ll feel the overwhelm rise up even higher and higher in your chest. Comparing yourself to others leads you to wondering why you’re still distraught and can’t move forward and often asking yourself if there something wrong with you.

Comparing grief only compounds the problem and can make things worse. As if you don’t have enough to worry about! It creates added pressure and confusion to the already exhausting grieving process. People are all so different and there are so many variations in their personalities and experiences.