Time can be a healer...if you allow it to be
As the only certainty in life is death, then the chances are you have at some point experienced losing a loved one.
When you first lose that person, that initial gut wrenching feeling is something that cannot be described and something that, at the time, you think will never leave. You feel like the rest of the world has stopped just as yours has. A rollercoaster of emotions and pain you may have never felt before.
What is important is that we deal with loss in the best way we can to ensure we remain healthy and continue to live our lives. If someone does not grieve a loss it is highly likely that the issue will return later in life with the ‘symptoms’ being more intense and detrimental to the person’s mental well-being.
The symptoms of grief are often mixed and confused with depression – the feelings/emotions can be the same however someone going through grief will usually experience constant changes within small periods of time and switch between the emotions of grief and a more normal emotional state.
There are general stages of grief that most experience - denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance.
Grieving is a personal and individual experience and we do not all grieve our loss in the same way. Our emotions can differ as can their intensity. The stages of grief may not be experienced in the same order and the process as a whole may last longer for some people. Some may put on a ‘brave face’ while others will openly express their emotions to others. How we grieve can be effected by the intensity of the loss, our personalities, faith, the nature of the loss and the level of support from those around us.
It is important that we allow ourselves to naturally go through the stages we each experience. Many of the clients I have worked with have said they have come for counselling as they have been told they should ‘be over it by now’ or ‘should have moved on’. This is not for anyone else to determine.
During a period of bereavement you will also often hear “it will get better with time” and as hard as this is to believe when in it still so raw – for the majority it is true. The most important thing you can give yourself is the time to grieve and the time to somewhat heal. You will eventually begin to feel better and begin to accept that the person is no longer here. You will be able to look at photographs and remember the happy memories rather than the events leading to their death, you will be able to talk about them without getting too emotional and you will be able to move forward with your life – never forgetting the person but learning to live a life without them physically being here.
Time may not completely heal you, you will be left with a scar, but it will allow you to find some kind of happiness again.
How can counselling help?
As mentioned, we all grieve differently. It is common to feel that you do not want to burden your friends or family with the extent of your emotions for fear of upsetting them or frustrating them repeating the same stories, memories or worries over and over. Counselling can help you work through and understand each of the stages and give you the time to discuss all these things without fear of upsetting anyone or feeling like a ‘stuck record’