The pain of loss is one of the most intense emotions a human being can feel, and while it’s natural to experience grief, it can also be difficult to cope with alone. While those who see the effects of traumatic loss regularly, like therapist Jennifer Soos, note that it isn’t something people ever find complete closure from, there are some things you can do to help provide support if you know that a loved one is experiencing grief.
What Causes Grief?
At its most basic, grief is feeling associated with a personal loss that disrupts someone’s normal life. Sacramento wrongful death attorney Kreeger Law points out that many individuals experience intense grief after the loss of a friend or family member, but death isn’t the only scenario that can trigger such feelings.
The end of a relationship, loss of a home or job, illness, sudden diminishing of physical ability, loss of financial security, victimization from crime, and many other sudden forms of loss can create grief.
And what symptoms does one experience when going through grief? These can vary, according to the Counseling and Mental Health Center at the University of Texas, Austin, but might include the following:
- Feeling like you are “going crazy”
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Being irritable or angry
- Feeling frustrated or misunderstood
- Experiencing anxiety, nervousness, or fearfulness
- Feeling like you want to “escape”
- Experiencing guilt or remorse
- Being ambivalent
- Feeling numb
- Lacking energy and motivation
- Having difficulty concentrating
What’s more, the process of dealing with these emotions is not a linear one, as grief sufferers often cycle through some of the same feelings multiple times while healing from their loss. Thankfully, though, the support of a friend or loved one can help make that burden at least a little bit lighter.
Helping Loved Ones Cope
If someone close to you is experiencing grief, it’s important to remember that what you do is just as important as what you don’t do, according to writer Amy Hoggart.
In her view, actions like sensationalizing a person’s loss, only focusing on the “good,” trying to put a positive spin on everything they’re saying, diminishing their experience, or clumsily attempting to compare your experiences to their own is counterproductive.
Much better actions to take when supporting a grieving loved one are to simply reach out, listen, acknowledge their pain, stay sensitive to their feelings, and find small ways to show your support