Grief is defined as “keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.” Grief is often associated with death, and it is a challenge that each of us must face in our lives, unfortunately. There are some who are able to adapt to or process grief in a healthy manner, but for some, it takes time.
As difficult and painful as grief may be, nine out of 10 bereaved people find ways to accept the reality of loss and to restore a sense of wellbeing. However, sudden unexpected death, like those from COVID-19 are more challenging — as are other challenges presented by the pandemic.
Unfortunately, the presence of COVID-19 has forced many of us to face the reality of loss, and it has stirred up a lot of emotions. Some of the emotions that come with grief are:
These are normal reactions to loss. We may not be prepared for the intensity and duration of your emotions or how swiftly your moods may change. You may even begin to doubt the stability of your mental health. But, be assured that these feelings are healthy and appropriate and will help you come to terms with your loss.
Dealing with loss can take a toll on your mental health and even lead to a state of depression. Allowing yourself to take the time to grieve is important and accepting the loss of your loved one can come at different stages for different people. Mental Health America has a few ways to effectively cope with the pain of loss:
- Seek out caring people.Find relatives and friends who can understand your feelings of loss. Join support groups with others who are experiencing similar losses.
- Express your feelings.Tell others how you are feeling; it will help you to work through the grieving process.
- Take care of your health.Maintain regular contact with your family physician and be sure to eat well and get plenty of rest. Be aware of the danger of developing a dependence on medication or alcohol to deal with your grief.
- Accept that life is for the living.It takes effort to begin to live again in the present and not dwell on the past.
- Postpone major life changes.Try to hold off on making any major changes, such as moving, remarrying, changing jobs or having another child. You should give yourself time to adjust to your loss.
- Be patient.It can take months or even years to absorb a major loss and accept your changed life.
- Seek outside help when necessary.If your grief seems like it is too much to bear, seek professional assistance to help work through your grief. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to seek help.
It is okay to experience grief differently from how you are “supposed” to experience it. The most important part, though, is finding a way to move forward. You get to decide what it truly means to move forward, whatever that may look like.
At SMA Healthcare, we are here for you, 24/7. You can call our Access Center at 800-539-4228 if you struggling with grief, depression, or feel alone. We want to help you.