It’s hard to come to terms with the death of a loved one. We cannot believe this situation, we hope it is just a bad dream. There is a feeling of regret, harm and loneliness. The mourning period is very difficult and painful. During this time, it is worth understanding your emotions and reaching for support. What exactly is mourning and how do you deal with it?
Grief after loss - what is it?
Grief after the loss of a loved one is nothing more than a reaction to someone’s departure. The feeling of connectedness and the awareness of irreversible loss make this time very painful. It is associated with physical and mental suffering.
In addition to sadness, regret, a sense of injustice, fear, anger or – often – guilt, there are problems with everyday functioning. A grieving person neglects his daily duties, it is difficult for him to focus on tasks, he has problems with appetite. Thoughts constantly revolve around the deceased, many questions and regrets arise, for example: “Why did this have to happen to him?”
Mourning the loss and depression
While grief and depression have much in common, there are some differences between them. The similarities are:
● sadness and depression;
● loss of interest in things you used to enjoy;
● unwillingness to act;
● social withdrawal, reluctance to interact with other people;
● feeling lonely and misunderstood;
High self-esteem and suicidal thoughts are a red light that signals depression. In the event of mourning, the sense of injustice is directed outside – the person blames the environment and fate among others. In depression, however, a person believes that everything is to blame for his helplessness or hopelessness.
A depressive episode may develop in mourning. Then you should seek support from an appropriate psychotherapist or psychiatrist.
Read more: Depression
Mourning also increases insomnia. The body under the influence of fear and anxiety, very typical for this period, is energized and stressed. Therefore, all kinds of sleep problems arise – from trouble falling asleep to dreams involving a deceased person.
Grief after the loss - stages
Mourning has a beginning and an end despite initial doubts about a positive future. With time, however, there is acceptance and learning to live anew.
The stages of mourning are divided into several stages.
1. Shock and denial – a period of agitation and disbelief. Losing a loved one is not allowed, thoughts like: “It’s impossible!”, “It can’t be true.”
2. Feeling of hurt and regret – there is deep sadness, regret, as well as anger and anger. This is the stage in which the “guilty” is sought.
3. Depressive period – a person withdraws from social life. Her mood is getting worse, accompanied by a feeling of emptiness and meaninglessness. This is where a more serious depressive stage can develop.
4. Realizing the loss – the person slowly begins to accept the death of a loved one. He takes the first steps to rebuild his life.
5. Acceptance – accepting death and finding oneself in a new reality.
Mourning flows in waves. After the stages of severe depressed mood, there may be an improvement, relative calm. However, events related to the deceased – anniversaries, for example – may worsen.
Mourning the loss of a child
Mourning the loss of a child is slightly different from mourning a father, mother, husband or wife. Parents often feel guilty and reflect upon themselves: “We could have done something,” “We missed something,” “It’s our fault.” Grief after the loss of a child also takes a little longer than in other situations.
Mourning - How long does it last?
The duration of mourning is an individual matter and depends on various factors, including personality type (for someone with a pessimistic nature it may be a bit more difficult to go through this), the circumstances of the death (murder, suicide, illness), and the relationship with the deceased.
It is generally considered to last from six months to two years. Due to socially accepted norms, this is the period in which, inter alia, games are abandoned and appropriate outfits are worn.
Grieving the loss - when to start worrying?
If the mourning period is very prolonged or not gradual – for example, the person has stopped in the depressive phase – then it is a disorder in experiencing the loss. Postponed mourning is equally disturbing – symptoms typical for the death of a loved one do not occur until 2 weeks after the funeral. The effects of deferred grief may come back after a few years during another, serious life crisis.
Improper mourning - Who is at risk?
Too long in mourning or its inappropriate overworking often results from unresolved issues with the deceased. It is then hard to move forward and accept the situation. This state is also influenced by a pessimistic disposition, previous mental or neurotic disorders or difficult experiences from the past.
Grief after the loss - how to deal with it?
The most important thing is to talk about your emotions, allow yourself to cry and get angry, try to understand the situation and not close yourself to experiencing it. It is also worth gradually reducing the behaviors surrounding the deceased person, such as viewing joint photos.
The basis of mourning is a support network: family, friends or appropriate psychological help. Depending on the course of mourning, you may benefit from psychological intervention or longer psychotherapy.
Read more: Psychologist Warsaw