Losing someone you care about can be difficult to make sense of and cope with, whilst trying to resume a semblance of normality in life. Both seemingly feeling impossible to achieve.
Grief is a very individual experience and I have, through my work, found client’s expressing how lost and alone they feel despite being surrounded by friends and family. Everything they have known has often changed, with huge adjustments needed to their previous responsibilities and roles.
I have found that because grief is such an individual journey, the time it takes, together with the intensity and impact on each person affected, is unique to them. Through my training, I have found there are a lot of theories behind grief and whilst they are helpful, it's always important to begin with the client's experience, and prioritise this. After all, how grief plays out in a person's life is dependent on their personal circumstances, history and context.
Your Grief Journey
Bereavement can leave you in shock, causing feelings of numbness and sometimes even dissociation (i.e. a sense of cutting off from the world, and feeling distant). At other times you may feel as if the deceased person is still with you and find it hard to accept that they are gone. You may feel angry that this has happened to you and your loved ones, causing irritability and frustration in situations you would previously have managed well. Anger can easily convert into blaming others - in some cases blaming yourself, blaming the deceased or the people who may be trying to help. This rollercoaster of emotions is the product of the mind and body trying to make sense of what has happened. It is a perfectly normal response to the emptiness that can accompany the loss of loved ones.
Longer periods of grieving can descend into a state of depression. If over the past 4 weeks you have been feeling consistently low, lethargic, lacking appetite, finding it hard to sleep, and struggling to concentrate even on simple tasks, you should see your GP and ask for some help and advice. A good GP will recognise the symptoms, and relate them to your life experience. This will open up the possibility of supportive counselling. Whilst these symptoms may continue for a while, as part of the ‘grief journey’, talking to someone in a confidential and safe space will certainly help.
Counselling and Group Support
It's important to find a Counsellor who will listen to you with positive regard, without judging you in any way. Talking about the person you care about can help you to make sense of what has happened, enabling you to unravel the pain and questions that otherwise drift in and out of your mind. The Counselling will bring about a sense of relief, helping you to cope and survive this most difficult time.
Some clients prefer Group Based Counselling, where they can meet other people who have also suffered a form of loss. Working through your grief along-side them, can provide the companionship and understanding you need, whilst also reminding you that what you are experiencing is very normal. Together, with a good Counsellor facilitating the process, you can piece together a new way of being.
As a Counsellor I have a wide range of experience working with adolescents to adults of all ages. I have helped many clients work through their grief journeys. I find that some people benefit most from one to one therapy, whereas others gain more through group meetings. Sometimes, a combination of the two is what is needed.
When seeking support at times of loss, it is always good to find a Counsellor you can relate to, and feel at ease with. An initial assessment is sensible, so that the symptoms you are having can be discussed, and understood. Once it is clearer what is happening for you, and how you like to be supported, therapy and counselling options present themselves.
I am always happy to talk about any individual's grief journey with them, as this is often the first step towards recovering from the loss. It may seem things will never be the same, and of course they can't be. However, that doesn't mean you are condemned to a life of sorrow and heartache. New possibilities can emerge, just as surely as spring follows winter. It just takes time, patience, care...and above all, hope.
Satya is has been in practice for five years whilst also working as a Counsellor in College and University environments. Prior to this she was a Safeguarding Officer and Student Support Worker. Satya has gained a lot of valuable experience and insight whilst working with Cruse Bereavement Care for four years. She is trained in the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Mindfulness based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Coaching. Satya is running Bereavement Groups at the Solihull Well Being Clinic, alongside individual counselling. She can offer Counselling in Punjabi, for those who struggle with English.