Traumatic Grief
How do I help myself?

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Accept that you are in a very complicated grieving process which is a marathon rather than a sprint. Give yourself permission to feel your grief, do not try to suppress your feelings. It is especially important with traumatic grief to allow your support system to be there for you. When someone you can trust with your feelings asks how you are doing, do not automatically answer with “I’m okay.” You are likely not okay, you have experienced a traumatic loss in your life. 

Ask for help with practical matters such as funeral arrangements, child care, preparing meals, helping with chores, writing notes, accompanying them to appointments/meetings/court, etc. You do not want to allow yourself to become overwhelmed. 

 

If you are having to deal with multiple legal issues such as police investigations, court appointments, trials, and estate issues, understand that the legal process which can take years to get settled.

 

You don’t have to be strong or take care of the other adults. Other adults usually can, and do, take care of themselves.

 

Try to keep a structured routine as much as possible. While there may be disruptions in your routine beyond your control, focus on those parts of your routine that you can control.

 

Make sure to take care of your health. The stress of any grief, let alone traumatic grief, can have a big impact on your physical as well as mental wellbeing. Maintain (or start) a healthy diet, exercise, and get enough sleep. Be vigilant for signs of increased alcohol or substance use. Realizing that you are beginning to use alcohol or other substances to cope with your feelings may be enough. If you find you are having a problem with alcohol or other substances (or a previous problem is getting worse or reemerging), get some help.

 

Incorporate stress management strategies into your daily routine such as taking deep breaths, grounding techniques, and meditation. 

 

Even while grieving a traumatic loss, you can experience positive emotions including affection, gratitude, and humor. You are not being disloyal or minimizing the importance of your loved one by allowing yourself to have positive feelings. 

 

If applicable to you, attend to your spiritual life whether it is through religious practices or connecting with something greater such as nature. 

 

If your loved one was murdered, give your friends a copy of Traumatic Grief

 

Due to the complicated and intense nature of Traumatic Grief, you may find yourself having significant difficulties in important areas of your life. If this is the case, seek out the help of a mental health professional with expertise in Traumatic Grief. 

 

Keep in mind, grieving in general has no time limit. Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. This is especially true with traumatic grief. 

If you have any questions about this topic or any other topic on this website,

please contact me.