Bereavement affects each of us differently, and there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. It’s possible that you’ll experience a range of emotions when you lose someone you love, whether it’s a partner, a family member, a colleague or a friend. As you come to terms with the loss and adjust to life without that special person, you’ll go through both mental and physical symptoms. It can help to get support during this difficult time, to provide guidance, offer advice or even just to listen to how you’re feeling.
Different Types of Grief
There are myriad feelings that come with dealing with a loss, but there are also different types of grief. Anticipatory grief is the sense of loss you feel when you’re expecting the death of someone in your life, which can cause depression, intense sadness and concern for the person you’re losing. There is also secondary loss, which comes after the initial shock of losing a loved one when you’re struggling to adapt to a future without that person in your life.
Common Problems and How to Cope
There are many feelings and emotions you may be faced with as a result of bereavement. Sadness and depression are some of the most common, which may lead you to isolate yourself and dwell on the past when you had the person in your life. You may also find yourself in shock or disbelief, struggling to accept what has happened. Intense emotions like this can because problems with your sleep patterns, your appetite or even lead to health problems.
Bereavement often leads to confusion and panic, leaving you wondering how you’ll cope with your new life. You might feel angry or frustrated, as though you want to blame someone or something for the loss, or you might experience overwhelm. Grief can lead to a lot of very intense feelings and they can be difficult to cope with, particularly if you’re dealing with several feelings at once. Over time, however, you will find ways to cope and accept the reality. The amount of time it takes to reach this stage varies for everyone and there’s no right amount of time.
Bottling up your feelings may be tempting, and you might want to retreat and hide away from your day-to-day responsibilities. But it can really help to talk to someone about what has happened and get your thoughts off your chest, whether it’s to a friend, your doctor or a counsellor. There are many resources available for people coping with a bereavement that can help you come to terms with your loss.
Who Can I Speak To?
If you are struggling to cope with the loss of someone close to you, it can help to talk to a professional. These are some helpful resources that you can turn to if you’re in need:
Mind is a mental health organisation that offers helplines and face-to-face services.
Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm)
At A Loss
At a Loss is one of the UKs leading sites for the bereaved seeking support. They can help you find services and counselling for bereavement.
Bereaved Through Alcohol and Drugs (BEAD) provides information, advice and support for those bereaved through drug or alcohol use.
Child Bereavement UK
If you’ve lost a baby or a child, or a child is facing bereavement, Child Bereavement UK is a resource that can provide guidance or support.
Phone: 0800 028 8840
Cruse Bereavement Care
Cruse Bereavement Care provides information and advice following a bereavement.
Phone: 0808 808 1677
There are several hospices, such as Marie Curie, which also offer bereavement services for families of people who have received hospice care. You may also want to check if your employer has an assistance programme if you’re employed, as they may entitle you to a number of free counselling sessions. There is the option to speak to a counsellor privately, which you will pay for sessions for yourself. You can search for a registered counsellor near to you by searching the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy directory. Similarly, your GP can provide you with contact details of local therapists that you can speak to.