Grief and Loss

In the beginning of this exercise we want to give an understanding that grief and loss is not just dealing with a person. You could have grief over losing a job, an animal, hobbie, we want to combine all these things in one, so they understand dealing with grief and loss. Grief is a highly individual process, as unique as the people experiencing it. Everything from our personal histories and culture to personality traits and temperament affects how we experience and cope with a major loss in our life. Don’t put time-limits on your grief. Most of us understand that grief is normal and inevitable after a major loss. But the duration of grief is not as well understood. Many people think that it should last for a year but no more. Some people think it may last for a while but should feel much easier after the first couple of weeks.

Grief does lessen with time, but how quickly and to what extent is difficult to predict. If you experience a major loss, you will always feel some sadness and grief when reminded of that loss. And while that can be hard to accept, it makes sense if you think about it: If someone or something was a major part of your life, it’s not realistic to think that just because you’ve gone through a grieving process you will no longer feel sadness or regret when you’re reminded of it.

About grief

Grief is about learning to accept and manage our sadness around loss, not eliminate it. Resist Comparing Your Grief to Other People’s. This impulse to compare and contrast our grief with others is natural. We’re social creatures and we crave the knowledge that what we’re experiencing isn’t completely foreign or outside the norm. This means it’s not surprising when we find ourselves wishing we could get on with life as quickly as our sister-in-law did. Or wondering why our co-worker was able to so quickly bounce back after being laid off and start applying for new jobs. But the act of comparing our grief to that of others and then judging it accordingly usually isn’t helpful. For one thing, everyone’s life and circumstances and the nature of their loss are unique. This means even if the superficial details look similar, comparing grief is always an apple to oranges comparison. Sure, you and your co-worker both got laid off. But maybe your co-worker had a part of his identity wrapped up in his work, which would mean his experience of loss would be far less than yours. Or maybe, unbeknownst to you, he had been itching to switch careers anyway, so this loss was actually an opportunity for him.

The second reason to avoid too much comparison when it comes to grief is that it’s usually invalidating. Baked into most comparisons is a subtle evaluation that our grief should look and feel more like someone else’s. Grief is about learning to accept and manage our sadness around loss, not eliminate it. Resist Comparing Your Grief to Other People’s. This impulse to compare and contrast our grief with others is natural. We’re social creatures and we crave the knowledge that what we’re experiencing isn’t completely foreign or outside the norm. This means it’s not surprising when we find ourselves wishing we could get on with life as quickly as our sister-in-law did. Or wondering why our co-worker was able to so quickly bounce back after being laid off and start applying for new jobs. But the act of comparing our grief to that of others and then judging it accordingly usually isn’t helpful. For one thing, everyone’s life and circumstances and the nature of their loss are unique.

This means even if the superficial details look similar, comparing grief is always an apple to oranges comparison. Sure, you and your co-worker both got laid off. But maybe your co-worker had a part of his identity wrapped up in his work, which would mean his experience of loss would be far less than yours. Or maybe, unbeknownst to you, he had been itching to switch careers anyway, so this loss was actually an opportunity for him. The second reason to avoid too much comparison when it comes to grief is that it’s usually invalidating. Baked into most comparisons is a subtle evaluation that our grief should look and feel more like someone else’s. The implication is that there’s something wrong with our grief. Consequently, in addition to feeling bad about your loss, you’re feeling bad about feeling bad.

This second layer of painful emotion will only make processing your grief harder and longer, so it’s best to avoid the comparisons and remind yourself that even though it seems like a simple comparison, it’s never that simple. Grief is complex. And the complexity doesn’t lend itself well to superficial comparisons. Spend Time Grieving Intentionally. This one sounds strange, but it’s based on a key idea in the mechanics of emotion: What we resist, persists.
When our mind sees us fighting with or running away from something (including an emotion like sadness, for example), it learns to see that thing as a threat. This means the next time something triggers your sadness, your mind is going to go on high alert, increasing your anxiety and overall level of emotionality. Trying to avoid difficult emotions only makes them stronger in the long run. But if you flip this idea on its head, it leads to a counterintuitive but powerful solution: By deliberately approaching difficult emotions like sadness, we can train our brain to become more comfortable with them. And while the pain of sadness will always be there, it’s a lot easier to work through and bear when it’s not also overburdened with fear, shame, frustration, and all sorts of other difficult feelings that come from training our minds to think of sadness as dangerous.

Practically speaking, one of the best things you can do is make time to grieve and be sad on purpose. Carve out some time on a regular basis to approach your grief and sadness intentionally and willingly. So, you might make out 10 minutes each evening and write in your journal about the sadness you’re feeling or about the memories that are most painful for you. When you approach your grief willingly, it signals to your own mind that what you’re experiencing is painful but not bad or dangerous. This is probably the most powerful but underutilized technique for managing grief I know of. Every single time I’ve recommended it and a client has followed through with it consistently, they’ve reported surprisingly positive results. Like a good friend who listens compassionately, grieving intentionally validates your pain and suffering. Seek out the right kind of social support. The idea that you should seek out social support during grief is one of the most common pieces of advice out there for processing grief. It’s also one of the most misunderstood. The key mistake people make is that they assume social support means talking to other people specifically about your grief or loss: joining a support group. Long, emotionally draining conversations with loved ones. Seeing a professional counselor or therapist. And while deliberately talking about and sharing your grief can be helpful for some people at certain stages, that’s not the only way to get social support while you’re grieving. Just because you’re grieving, doesn’t mean you have to talk about your grief all the time! It’s perfectly okay to want to spend time with people and actually not talk about your grief, your loss, your feelings, etc. In fact, this is a great place to start if you’re not sure how to start the grieving process or if you feel like it’s not going well: just start spending little bits of time with people you enjoy doing activities you enjoy: go to the driving range with a buddy and talk about sports. Meet a girlfriend for coffee and talk about politics. Get back into that book club you used to enjoy. Simply being connected is what’s important during grief. If you’re not feeling up for it, don’t put pressure on yourself to feel like you have to “process” your grief all the time. Just because you don’t feel like “talking about your feelings” doesn’t mean you’re avoiding them. Unfortunately, many people experiencing grief feel a kind of social pressure or expectation to talk about their grief with friends and family.

If you feel like this pressure is leading you to avoid people or activities you would normally enjoy, simply send them an email or text and let them know that you’d love to hang out and need a break from talking about your loss and grief. Your grief process is your own. This means how and when you choose to talk about it is up to you. There’s More to Grief Than Sadness. By limiting our grief exclusively to sadness, we end up invalidating the emotionally complex nature of grief. Remember, grief is a response to a significant loss. And while sadness is often a large or even dominant part of our emotional reaction to loss, it’s almost never the only one. It’s okay to feel happy and even joyful at times during the grieving process. It’s okay to feel angry and disappointed, even if you feel those toward a person you’ve lost. It’s okay to feel afraid or anxious about your future as a result of your loss. In short, it’s okay to feel anything when you’re grieving. And while many of the emotions we feel are difficult or even painful, it’s important to acknowledge and validate all of them as legitimate and natural. In fact, in my experience, a common factor among people who transition exceptionally well through grief is that they’re remarkably open and accepting of all their emotions and reactions during grief. They take it as it comes, without judgment or expectation. Healthy grief means embracing the full range of emotions it contains with compassion and understanding.

You’ll get a quote in 3 working days and then you can decide if we will move forward.
602-601-4059

Covid 19 Precautions

We conduct daily patient and staff screenings, facilitate ongoing preventative cleaning, encourage social-distancing and handwashing, and strongly recommend mask wearing.

We know that treatment for behavioral health issues are more critical now than ever before. We are here to create a safe space for staff and the patients we serve. Agape Love also offers telehealth services to our patients for group or individual therapy as needed.