Grief Can Last a Lifetime, but It Can Also Be a Catalyst for Growth
Few types of trauma can seem as crushing, overwhelming, and elemental as grief. Death, heartbreak, and loss can seep into every aspect of your life in the aftermath of a traumatic event, especially after losing a loved one.
During this time, it’s important to remember that grief looks different for everyone. Learning how to manage grief isn’t a matter of following a checklist, but rather a complex healing process that evolves with time. For some people, healing might mean finding catharsis in individual grief counseling sessions. Other people might find closure by channeling their grief into a new pursuit–like gardening or running–as a coping mechanism.
The healing process can be long, confusing, and downright exhausting at times. With that said, here are some things to keep in mind as you navigate grief:
Grief Isn’t a Checklist
It’s challenging to talk about recovering from grief without brushing up against the myth of the Five Stages of Grief. First popularized by Swiss-born psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in the 1960s, the process breaks grief into five component stages: denial, bargaining, anger, depression, and acceptance. Although the process is popular in pop culture, many mental health professionals push back against the idea.
While the thought of having a process to follow can seem comforting, the reality is much more complicated than that. Sometimes grief manifests in little ways–such as noticing the parts of your day that feel quiet or emptier. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, suffocating in a way that makes it difficult to get out of bed. Other times still, grief might feel subdued, but suddenly trigger bouts of intense anger or crippling anxiety when exposed to a trigger.
All of these–and more–are valid expressions of grief. Every loss is unique, which means that every recovery is too.
Grief Evolves Over Time – Your Coping Mechanisms Do Too
The hours, days, and weeks after experiencing loss can feel overwhelming. Just finding your way back to a semi-normal routine can feel like an uphill battle. During these times, however, it’s always worth remembering that your grief won’t last forever–at least not in its current state.
That process isn’t always linear, and it can be hard to appreciate all of the progress you make until much later. But until then, it’s always worth remembering that your grief is just a fraction of who you are. It might be a massive, exhausting fraction, but fractions are never greater than the whole.
You’re Not Alone
Grief can feel isolating. It can be hard to keep up friendships and relationships while you process things. As a result, grief can feel alienating and alone beyond the loss that caused it.
This is where many people find value in grief counseling–which can come in the form of individual counseling sessions or group grief therapy.
In individual settings, many patients find comfort in having someone to listen to their pain and help them process it. Talking to a grief counselor or other behavioral health specialist can also cultivate strategies to cope with loss, and manage the grief when it starts to feel overwhelming.
Meanwhile, a grief counseling group can be a valuable social lifeline–and a reminder that you’re not alone. Listening to other people share their experiences with grieving and healing is a powerful reminder that your feelings are valid.
Grieving is a difficult experience, but you never need to do it alone. If you’re processing grief, then pursuing group therapy in Denver can be a valuable lifeline. At SOL Mental Health, we approach our patients’ grief with care, empathy, and compassion. In addition, we accept most insurance and offer near-term counseling availability. Currently, group therapy is only available in Colorado. Call us today for a consultation.