Grief and Loss

Grief is a normal reaction to the loss of a person who had been close or anything else that has been very important in one’s life. Grief is a natural part of life. There are common features of grief even if all grieve in their own way. For some people, it may be feelings of loss and grief may lead to questioning their own lives and considering suicide. Grief is primarily associated with a loved one who died, but other difficult events and experiences in life that involves loss of any kind, can accommodate an element of sadness. So it may be, for example, in connection with divorce, infidelity, serious illness, miscarriage, accidents and disasters. A feeling of sadness and depression can also be found in the response to the emergence of problems in the relationship with your partner, parent, child, friend or work colleague. The experience of loss or threat of loss can feel great even in these contexts.

How you feel and react in connection with these losses depends on how important your losses have been for you, what happened in connection with the loss, how you are as a person, what cultural background you have, how the situation looks and what support you get. Men and women can express their grief in different ways. The grief you feel is yours and nobody can take it away from you. You have the right to mourn in your own way.

The loss of a beloved family member can be one of your life’s most difficult experiences, especially if you were not prepared for death. But just like joy and love, anger and mourning are a natural part of life.

Reactions at the grief

Your first reaction to a sudden death or significant loss is usually shock, and you may feel anguished and incomprehensible at the same time. Shock is a protection against being overwhelmed by the whole extent of the loss at once.

Some common reactions are:

  • depression and despair
  • loss and longing
  • loneliness and abandonment
  • feelings of guilt
  • difficulty sleeping
  • difficulty to concentrate
  • irritability and anger
  • physical problems

It is common that the emotions switch, sometimes very quickly. The one moment you live seemingly normal and avoid thinking about the sadness, the next moment you can not think of anything else. To switch between these emotions are normal and a way to deal with their grief. The mourning must live on, but also have time to process what has happened.

Normal sadness or depression?

It can be so sad, depressed and desperate that it can be about a depression that requires medical treatment. But usually it is not so, and rarely needed any medications. Strong and conflicting emotions are a natural part of the grieving process of many people. In some cases, however, the grief felt is so heavy to carry that you can not handle it yourself, even with the support of relatives. Increased medication consumption, severe weight loss, social isolation, severe guilt, and thoughts of suicide are signs that you may need professional help to get better.