Recovering from loss
Sometimes changes in life, result in losses. When you experience a loss it is important to work through the associated thoughts and feelings. We call this grieving the loss. Grief is a normal and natural response to loss. People grieve over the death of someone they love and sometimes over life changes including changes in the family. Grieving is related to adjusting and adapting. Many people associate grieving with death. There are also other situations which may lead to loss and grieving. These include:
- Children starting school— this is a big step for parents and can leave you with a feeling of loss because your child is becoming more independent and moving on.
- Breakup of relationships — this can be a good or a bad thing depending on the perspective of both parties. However, either way it is a loss of how you may have felt your future was to be.
- Loss of a job——- this type of loss has become very familiar to many people. Losing your job can bring about feelings of great loss leading to depression. The structure of going to work and returning with a weekly wage is no longer taken for granted. The interaction with colleagues and friends at work is lost. This big change can be difficult to adjust to.
- Retirement-—many long to retire. Many more fail to prepare for it. You are in a routine of doing certain things in any given day and suddenly it all stops. Life can seem very different and unfulfilling. Loneliness and loss can become a very heavy burden when you feel you have no purpose in your day.
The negatives or losses in each of these situations are pretty obvious. The thing to remember is that with every ending there are new possibilities, and with new possibilities come endings. Endings are very important to consider and reflect on. Think about something that has ended for you recently. How did you feel? Sad, anxious, happy. What do you feel like when embarking on a new path? Anxious, stressed, happy or sad? These feelings are normal. It is okay to feel how you feel.
There are stages to the grieving process:
- Denial—- “this cannot be happening to me. I don’t believe it”.
- Anger—- directed at yourself and others.” It’s your fault this happened to me”.
- Bargaining— desperate attempts to regain control.” if I am good or do something good I can get it back “.
- Despair—– “I can’t live without…. There is nothing left for me”.
- Acceptance– surrender to reality.” this has happened to me, it’s okay to feel as I feel and I can get through this”.
These stages do not occur in the same order for everyone.