Coping With Grief
Grief is a natural part of human experience. Grief is a loss and it can be minor or major, and everyone experiences it differently. What is clear is that the list of losses are inexhaustible. It is also clear that no matter what the differences, tendencies in following a similar pattern that include several stages have been observed in people in sorrow.
Dr. Erich Lindemann, professor of Psychiatry at Harvard, talks about the importance of helping people through grief. In his article “Symptomatology and Management of Acute Grief”, Dr. Lindemann talks about the differences in normal grief reactions and abnormal grief. He emphasizes the importance of helping the grieving person “find new patterns of rewarding interaction” as they go through the different stages of grief.
The first stage is shock, a temporary escape from reality. This stage is then followed by the expression of emotion, sadness, anger, guilt to name some. It is important to allow the release of these emotions as they come. Often, people may feel depressed, lonely, fearful, and may even experience their grief via physical illness. Mind and body are very connected backaches, insomnia, headaches and GI issues can be common during this period.
Our society is not very open to expressing grief in front of others. This may lead to isolation and repression of feelings and emotions, which in turn can lead to depression and abnormal grief.
Being able to find a safe place to express emotions via close family and friends is encouraged and recommended during times of grief. The warm affection and encouragement of those around are necessary in the healing process and aid in moving on after a loss.
Therapy can especially be useful to reaffirm coping mechanisms and aid in processing anger, resentment and guilt that often come with loss.