Updated: Jan 21, 2020
The article below is written by Dr Chloe Paidoussis Mitchell, a Grief and Trauma Psychologist with many years of experience in researching and treating Mental Health difficulties arising in response to difficult and distressing life events. Dr Chloe has worked in clinical and corporate environments and regularly gives talks to help organisations cope with l and understand Grief.
Grief is our human response to the death of a loved one and when it happens – whether expected or sudden – it is painful, disorientating and knocks our sense of who we are, how we are and what feels relevant and meaningful again. In grief, the regular way of daily being is no longer relevant. People often talk about feeling lost and alienated.
With grief, comes a profound existential shake up which forces you to reflect on what life is, why you find yourself existing, and you may feel like life will never feel meaningful again.
Grief is devastating and requires a complete reconstruction of your sense of self. You may find that you withdraw, you reshape your friendships, you feel alone, you feel you don't really want to engage with those people who don't recognise your pain.
All are normal and human responses to the re-organisation that you are now called to attend to in pain and heartbreak.
Grief is awful and exhausting and completely inevitable.
Do not pathologise it. Do not medicalise it. Do not compare yourself to others. You have your unique journey into grief and that is nothing to do with anybody else's journey. No two losses are the same. Remember you are having a normal response to what feels like an abnormal event and you need time, support and space to navigate this safely.
Your grief disrupts everything about your life
-Your relationship with yourself
-Your relationships with others
-Your relationship with being mortal
-Your relationship with the physical world
-Your relationship with the present
-Your relationship with the future
-Your relationship with safety
-Your relationship with what it means to live a purposeful and meaningful happy life
and so much more....
In order to understand your grief, you have to accept it for what it is. It certainly does not work to bottle it up, pretend it hasn't affected you. If you do that, it will build up and come and bite you some other time when your defences are down.