Grief Outside of Death
Grief is an emotional experience that we have largely attached to death, however we can experience symptoms of grief in so many other situations. Whether you are facing a major life change, health issues, job transition, or trauma - acknowledging that you are experiencing grief may allow the space and permission you need to heal.
Watch the video or read the transcript below to learn more!
(Transcript from video below)
Hey, my name is Meredith and I'm the owner of Rooted Wellness Counseling here in Colorado!
Today I wanted to talk about grief that occurs without death. I think often times we talk about grief surrounding death- whether we are facing our own mortality, or we have lost someone we love, or someone that we have a complicated past with and it's stirring up a lot of emotions. Yet, grief can occur in so many other situations!
I often talk to people who are experiencing symptoms of grief:
-They feel numb sometimes and other times they feel very emotional.
-They may have lot of emotions that they aren't used to experiencing.
-They feel disconnected from themselves.
-They feel disconnected from other people
-They feel stuck or unsure of how to move forward.
I want to validate that this can be grief, even if no one has died in your life. There are a lot of other situations that cause symptoms of grief and acknowledging when that's what we're going through can be HUGE in allowing us to heal.
A few things to consider if you're wondering if you may be experiencing grief outside of death:
1) How have you been doing emotionally?
Do you feel like this sense of overwhelm and heaviness that you've been experiencing is due to situational factors, or does it seem outside of that? Does it seem like more than you would normally experience when you're in a very stressful situation?
2) How have you been feeling about yourself?
I think a lot of times when we're grieving we understand (at least around death) that it is a process and we're allowed to take time to accept, heal, and find new ways to put this person into our lives to still feel connected.
If we aren't acknowledging that we're grieving, sometimes we can feel a lot of frustration and sadness and shame towards ourselves that we aren't doing things fast enough or we should be moving on faster, or that we should "get over it already". Sometimes, we need to take a step back and ask "Is this grief? Is what I'm feeling grief?" Whether it's a job loss. job transition, changes in relationships, changes in your physical health (good or bad- any type of major change can cause grief symptoms.
3) I think it's important for people to consider how they process grief around death and what similar things they could incorporate into their life around a different grieving process.
Normally there is ritual, and time set aside, and an allowance of having feelings that are big! If we are just continuing to push through the day to day and expect the same thing of ourselves, and just keep grinding- that is never going to allow us to heal and may lead to other concerns. We may start to have sleep issues, feel anxious, or we may start to feel depressive symptoms. So, I think it's really important to consider if grief is the name of what we are facing when we've gone through major change and we aren't feeling like ourselves.
I hope that this information has been helpful for you if grief is something you're interested in exploring. I will talk to you guys soon!
Meredith Waller MSW, LCSW
Based in Boulder, CO and offering telehealth throughout Colorado
-Certified Shame-Informed Treatment Specialist
-Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional