If you have lost a loved one and are in a place of grief, you may be feeling a mixture of emotions. You may still be in a state of shock, unable to accept that they are gone. You may be feeling low, isolated, struggling to make sense of what has happened.
Maybe it is 20 years since your loss, maybe all of a sudden you are struggling and don’t know why, maybe a second loss triggers emotions not dealt with previously, maybe there are no emotions.
However you are feeling, I want to reassure you that it’s okay to give yourself permission to feel how you feel right now.
You may be familiar with being told at certain points that ‘you should be feeling better by now’ or being expected to ‘just get on with it’ but how can we when we have feelings and emotions we have not looked at and we cannot gain clarity on or change by ourselves?
As a society, we speak of our inner lives and emotions much more so than we have in previous times, but we also have a growing need for immediacy and for things to make sense and fall into place rapidly. But grief is an emotion and does not follow this logical path.
Talking therapies can help alleviate the external pressures and expectations that can be picked up from others and subsequently internalised ourselves. Bereavement is not an isolated issue and every individual who experiences a loss will respond in a different way. This is because we all have a different story, different past experiences, different ways of coping which shape who we are and how we respond to life events.
When we experience a loss, it can sometimes be helpful to explore different theories and stages of grief that can be experienced, as this can reduce isolation and provide a sense of understanding and normality for how we are feeling. However, with this may come with an expectation to feel a certain way at a certain point, which might encourage us to mask our emotions and to present ourselves in a way which does not match how we are really feeling. Through therapy, we can rid of expectations of how you should be feeling in relation to losing a loved one, and strive to give you the space and time to be yourself. There is no definitive textbook, no definitive guide on how to feel and by when if you are feeling loss. Whether you choose to access therapy or not, through being patient, supportive and showing kindness to yourself, you can take steps to survive this difficult time.