Processing Grief

While it may be common for us to experience grief at one point or another, each individual occurrence of grief is an overwhelming experience. The death of a loved one, a romantic separation or break up, loss of job, and loss of a home are just a few events that can cause grief. Many people report feelings of numbness, emptiness, deprivation, intense sadness, or prolonged negative emotions throughout the grieving process. It can elicit many emotional, psychological, and even physical outcomes. While each loss is unique and each person grieves differently, there are a few common reactions that accompany the grieving process. Here’s what to expect:

  • Denial
  • Confusion
  • Shock
  • Sadness
  • Despair
  • Yearning
  • Anger
  • Humiliation
  • Guilt

Depending on the event or loss, the lasting impact of grief will vary. Feelings associated with getting over a break up will differ from experiencing the loss of a loved one. Generally, feelings of grief dissipate with time. But occasionally, grief doesn’t get better. If you or a loved one have trouble maintaining a normal routine or are unable to accomplish daily tasks, consider seeking therapy. The following elements may be indications that professional help is necessary:

  • Inability to return or go to work
  • Trouble keeping up with personal hygiene
  • Trouble maintaining healthy eating habits
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Prolonged feelings of depression and thoughts of self-harm
  • Experiencing Incessant self-blame or guilt

The process of grief is unpredictable. It manifests differently for everyone and does not move at a fixed pace. But it is important to recognize that time will help subdue the grief. Allow yourself time to heal. As you are experiencing the grieving process, it will help to stay in communication with loved ones around you. Reach out to family members and friends who will support you. Consider joining a support group to talk to others who are grieving to get insight and advice on their processes.

Seeking therapy will also provide you with professional guidance and support. If you or a loved one are suffering from prolonged feelings of despair or depression, please do not hesitate to reach out for help. Our therapists at Counseling California can help you navigate loss and grief and come up with healthy solutions. Find a therapist for you in our online directory.

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Featured Therapist 

Donna J. Shanahan M.A.

Donna J. Shanahan, MA

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist 
Pasadena, CA 91101

I am a Marriage and Family therapist in private practice. I work with individuals, couples, and families in short and long-term psychotherapy. We work together to explore memories of the relational dynamics of the individual’s family, the feelings those dynamics created for the individual as a child, and how the individual now relates to those feelings and memories.

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