Grief (also known as Bereavement) is a response to loss. It is a process rather than a feeling. Everyone grieves in their own way and there is no time limit on grieving. Years after the loss, you could suddenly experience a grief response out of the blue or in response to a reminder or an anniversary you might not have even been thinking about.
You may feel disbelief, depressed, numb, angry, or confused. You may have sleep problems, feel restless, or experience guilt. You might dream of your loved one, withdraw from others, or think you hear their voice. You may try to keep yourself busy to distract yourself from your emotions, feel disorganized, feel like you are living in a dream, or feel like your life is over.
It may take you time to fully take in the loss. You might find yourself operating on “autopilot,” perhaps judging yourself for not having a strong emotional response. Your loss may gradually feel real or it may hit you all at once. You may have crying spells that seem to come out of nowhere or when you think of your hopes or expectations for your future together. You might get angry at them for dying or at God for taking them away from you. You could get easily irritated at any little thing.
Many things can complicate your grieving such as your history of prior losses or emotional struggles, the nature of your relationship with your loved one, whether the loss was expected or sudden, the quality of your social support, or the nature of your loved one’s death. When a loved one dies in a traumatic fashion through violence or an accident. When this occurs, you may experience Traumatic Grief (to learn more, click Traumatic Grief, Traumatic Grief: Coping Strategies, or Traumatic Grief: Helping Others) which has additional layers to the grieving process.
If you or someone you know is in a mental health crisis/emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255), go to a hospital emergency room,
or call 911 immediately.
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