Every year, over 2.5 million Americans pass away, often leaving behind people who cared for them deeply. At the very root of the human experience is our connection with others. Whether family or friends, the bonds we share largely define our time on Earth. In fact, in the absence of close relationships, mortality rates, disease, and depression all tend to increase. We rely heavily on others and tend to define ourselves and our own existence based on our closest connections. So, when we lose such a connection with someone for whom we cared deeply, the sense of loss and grief can feel crushing.
You have likely heard of the 5 stages of grief. These stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. However, there is no specific pattern that these stages have to follow or how long they should last. The order may be different for some; others may find themselves repeating phases or seemingly stuck in one phase that they simply can't move past. Regardless of how these stages unfold, learning how to recognize and cope with them is necessary in order to reach acceptance.
Seek Grief Support From Others
In the wake of intense grief, we often isolate ourselves. The weight of sadness can make it feel impossible to interact with others and enjoy the things we once did. While a certain degree of isolation is normal and healthy, it is important not to allow it to linger for too long. Speaking to and interacting with friends, family, or co-workers can help reestablish a sense of normalcy and leave us better equipped to navigate feelings of grief.
Likewise, seeking solace from others with the same or similar experience can also prove immensely helpful. This may be through sharing memories and emotions with others who have lost the same individual, or it may be through a support group or networks of others who are also dealing with grief.
Focus on the Positive During Grief
As we grieve, it can become all too easy to focus solely on the loss. However, there are nearly always positive things happening in our lives as well. They may be difficult to see or to embrace in moments of emotional pain, but seeking them out and acknowledging them can help us heal. Look to other relationships in your life, wins at work, or even an exceptionally beautiful day as a reminder of the good that still surrounds you. Eventually, you will also be able to think back on the memories of your loved one with fondness rather than pain.
Seek Grief Counseling with a Professional
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, it can feel impossible to successfully cope with grief on our own. Seeking the counsel of a professional such as therapistor psychiatrist can help determine what is and is not a normal part of grief, as well as identify ways to move forward while still honoring the memory of a loved one.
Trying to feel better after someone you cared for has passed in not disrespectful to their memory or a way to forget. Quite the opposite. Finding a healthy space where you can smile, laugh, and remember your time together with love and fondness is the best possible way to honor their memory.
Help with Grief in Baton Rouge
It is normal to feel sad or depressed in times of loss and grief; however, many people who have significant depression two months after the loss continue to be very depressed for up to one year later. If you feel that yourself or a loved one is not progressing in the resolution of their grief in a timely fashion, you may want to consider a consultation with one of the board-certified psychiatrists at Psychiatry Associates of Baton Rouge. Our team of compassionate mental health professionals is experienced and fully-equipped to help you or your loved one through this difficult time. To learn more or to request an appointment, please click the button below.