Monitor your grief and others' needs
Managing life after loss can be challenging, no matter your circumstances.
However, no matter your experiences, it's important to monitor if grief becomes so severe that it affects your daily life. Similarly, pay attention to the feelings of friends and family to ensure that they too aren't negatively impacted by grief.
Important Monitoring these emotions is especially important immediately after a death because of how many stressful activities compound simultaneously. Grief can be difficult enough on its own, but it can be made even more challenging while having to manage so many administrative, funeral, financial and legal tasks.
Read More If you find that grief is negatively impacting you, or friends and family, find support in the "Understand the types of available support" Task in the Support Mental Health Section of the Guide.
Providers If you feel that you or someone else needs mental health support to help manage grief, speak with a professional near you. Find them at the links below.
What do the negative effects of grief look like?
It’s normal to feel a wide range of emotions after losing a loved one. Loss can cause many different types of emotions, many of which may evolve over time.
These include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Shock or confusion
- Disbelief and denial
- Sadness and depression
- Anger or guilt
Though they may vary from day to day, it's important that they don't negatively impact your day-to-day life.
A disruption to your routine, or a loved ones' daily routine, can have many negative consequences that extend far beyond emotional ones.
Important To make things even more challenging, it may actually be difficult to identify when grief has impacted life. To help you self-reflect, or recognize that a loved one may be in need, it may be helpful to review how grief can disrupt life.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Extreme symptoms of depression, such as hopelessness or thoughts of suicide
- Anger that may cause emotional or physical harm
- A loss of interest in the things you once enjoyed, or feeling that nothing matters
- Severe anxiety or low moods for many consecutive weeks
- Trivializing the death rather than accepting its seriousness
- Staying extremely busy with work or funeral tasks, or only focusing on the needs of others to distract from your own feelings
Common feelings and expressions of grief
Some of the more common feelings, emotions and physical manifestations of grief include, but are not limited to:
- Anger or general irritability
Common physical and behavioral manifestations of grief
Grief can also manifest itself physically. It may be important to seek support if you feel any of the following:
- Forgetfulness or difficulty focusing
- Withdrawn or disconnected
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty sleeping
- Overwhelmed / unable to complete tasks
- Fear or anxiety
- Vivid dreams
- General apathy
- Weight gain/loss
- Manic behavior
Examples of unhealthy coping behaviors
In addition to general physical manifestations of grief, you may unconsciously resort to Coping Mechanisms to manage challenging emotions.
Coping mechanisms can be different for different people; there's no one way to manage mental health.
While many can be healthy, effective and helpful, some can be counterproductive and cause additional problems or pain
These include, but are not limited to:
- Physical & Emotional Isolation: avoiding memories, thoughts, friends, family or situations that trigger feelings of the deceased
- Emotional Suppression: refusing to acknowledge Grief's existence is itself an avoidant tactic
- Staying Busy: rather than making time for oneself, focusing only on the needs of others, or remaining over-worked for long periods of time and seeking distraction helps avoid painful feelings
- Trivialization: instead of accepting the seriousness of Grief, making the death seem like it’s not a big deal and assuring oneself and others that everything is fine
- Self-destruction: any type of risk-taking behavior can be harmful to a person dealing with Grief and may require professional support; typically, these behaviors are substance abuse, excessive eating, compulsive spending, sexual promiscuity or aggression, or physical self-harm
- Attacking Others: lashing out, or harming others emotionally or physically, is unnecessary and dangerous, but particularly so during Grief; this type of anger avoids confronting or displaying troubling feelings or vulnerability
- Apathy: a loss of interest in things once enjoyed, feeling that nothing really matters, unmotivated or lacking all concern, or not feeling anything at all in general, are all versions of ways to avoid difficult feelings
Providers to Contact
Therapists Near You
A therapist who focuses on grief is a mental health professional who specializes in helping people deal with grief. They can provide support and guidance to help you manage everyday life while experiencing grief.
Grief Groups Near You
Grief groups are support groups for people grieving the death of a loved one. They can provide emotional support and practical advice for dealing with grief. They can also be a place to share stories and connect with others going through a similar experience.