Identifying Grief and Where to Find Resources for Grief Recovery
While great things can and do happen over the course of one’s life, our journeys are also marked by loss. When we suffer the loss of a loved one, when we lose a job, or when some other negative event occurs, we experience grief: a natural physical and emotional response when we lose something that we care about.
For many people, grief is commonly associated with the death of a loved one like a family member, spouse, or child. However, grief can also be caused by losses including:
• Losing one’s job or career
• Loss of health or mobility
• A miscarriage
• Retirement and the loss of purpose that may follow
• Loss of financial stability or security
• The loss of a friendship
• The death of a pet
• The loss of safety after physical or emotional trauma
Grief is different for every person, but it’s important to know how to recognize grief in yourself and others and about support resources you can pursue if needed. In truth, grief can make you feel very alone, but you never are – organizations like Recognize & Rise can connect you to recovery centers, offer wellness exercises, or simply lend an ear so you can have someone to talk to.
Grief is difficult for everyone. But together, we can help each other overcome the effects of grief and stay safe.
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What does grief look like? The five stages of grief
Grief is different for every person. Everyone is a unique individual and has a distinct personality, cultural practices, and fears or quirks of emotional expression that can differentiate the grieving process.
But for everyone, grieving is typically characterized by five distinct stages:
• Denial. When people experience a loss, a common response is to think or believe that it isn’t really happening or to tell themselves that the traumatic event simply isn’t true. This is a temporary way for the mind to handle overwhelming emotion as a sort of defense mechanism. Denial can also be characterized by feeling shocked or numb to external events.
• Anger. Other individuals feel anger first or may feel it after the denial phase. Regardless, anger is an emotional response to the pain of a loss. Grieving people may feel frustrated or helpless and they may turn their anger toward other people, life in general, or organizations. If you feel anger after a major emotional loss, do not be hard on yourself – this is a normal response.
• Bargaining. This phase of the grieving process causes grieving people to focus on what they might have done to stop the loss from occurring. They may also look for ways to reverse the event and bargain with a higher power, whether it’s a boss at work or God.
• Depression. The fourth stage of grief occurs when you feel significant sadness. This may be accompanied by various signs of depression including a decreased appetite, crying, sleep issues, and a feeling of loneliness or regret. During this phase of grief, it’s important that grieving individuals rely on support systems and resources as much as possible.
• Acceptance. The last phase of the grieving process is healing. It occurs when a person accepts the reality of their loss and the fact that it cannot be changed. After this point, the individual is able to start moving forward.
Grief can be reduce by the compassion of others
While going through the grieving process can be very difficult, it is ultimately marked by an ability to move on and enjoy life once again. Many people, however, feel stuck in one phase or another of grief and it can be difficult to move to the acceptance phase without help.
This may develop into complicated grief, during which the painful emotions of a loss don’t appear to improve with time. With complicated grief, you may find it tough to move forward or come to terms with the fact that someone died or that you lost something important.
Fortunately, Recognize & Rise and similar wellness programs can help you move through any phase of the grieving process or deal with your personal manifestations of grief.
Grief may manifest in a variety of behaviors, including:
• Mood swings
• Changes in body weight or appetite
• Loss of interest in activities or hobbies
• Depression and/or anxiety
• Difficulty socializing or self-imposed isolation
• Feeling like to need to cry frequently
• Getting angry
• And more
No matter how you experience grief, remember that it is a legitimate response. You do not need to feel bad for how you respond to a terrible loss. But you can overcome it with the help of your friends and family, as well as support groups.
What does grief do to your body and mental health?
Alongside causing significant mental and emotional stress, grief can also cause physical symptoms. These can include:
•Heartaches or chest pains
• Racing thoughts
• Fatigue or exhaustion, especially when experienced in conjunction with depression
• Food aversion or sickness when eating
• Sun sensitivity
• Increased inflammation due to a weakened immune system
• Increased blood pressure
Because of these symptoms, a grieving individual can experience physical ailments alongside their emotional sorrow. If you feel unbalanced or physically ill during the grieving process, there’s nothing wrong with you. But you can seek out support like medication from a doctor or therapy from a psychiatrist or therapist to alleviate those symptoms.
Most of all, remember that the physical symptoms will fade with time during the grieving process.
How can you tell if someone is grieving?
For many people, it can be difficult to tell whether a loved one or friend is grieving due to stoicism or their personality. Aside from noticing the outward signs described above, you can also tell if someone is grieving by noticing if:
• Their behavior changes drastically in a short amount of time
• They seem to not want to talk about their loss
• They no longer want companionship or socialization
In many of these cases, the person is grieving but they are attempting to protect themselves (and possibly others) by limiting the outward signs of their grief.
If you want help, don’t be afraid to ask the person if you can provide assistance or if they need a shoulder to lean on. We all need help from time to time, and grief is never something one should have to endure alone.
Is it possible to recover from grief?
Yes. Grief can be very difficult to bear, but it never lasts forever. All wounds heal with time, but many people can accelerate the healing process or minimize the physical and emotional symptoms they suffer by leaning on a strong support group or seeking out grief assistance resources like therapy, hotlines, and by using wellness practices or adopting healthy habits like regular exercise.
Coping with grief and loss
It can be difficult to cope with grief and loss alone. If you’re currently grieving, you can cope with the intense loss by adopting some new lifestyle habits and pursuing wellness resources. Recognize & Rise is a Tarrant County wellness program that can assist you throughout the grieving process and give you the resources you need to heal with time.
Additionally, many people are better able to cope with grief and loss by:
• Exercising daily, which alleviates stress and can reduce inflammation
• Speaking regularly to their friends and family members about the loss
• Sharing their story with communities like support groups or experiencing grief and bereavement therapy
• Taking time off one’s job or regular routines to avoid unnecessary stress
How long does it take to recover from losing a loved one?
For many individuals, losing a loved one is one of the worst events they can experience. As a result, many people grieve for longer or more intensely than they would over the loss of a job or the end of a romantic relationship.
There’s no set time limit for how long it takes to recover from losing a loved one. Different people recover at different rates, and even individuals who appear to no longer be grieving outwardly may still be experiencing grief internally.
If you’re recovering from the loss of a loved one, don’t hurry yourself. Allow your grief to last for as long as it will. If you suspect someone else is grieving the loss of a loved one, reach out and offer them support in any way you can.
Specifically, you can:
• Offer to listen to their feelings
• Support them physically by giving them food or resources if they feel unable to take care of themselves
• Help them find professional help resources like support groups or psychiatric assistance
How long is too long to mourn?
If you’re grieving the loss of a loved one or for any other reason, remember that there is no “normal” or ideal amount of time to mourn or grieve. Grieving is a personal process for everyone, and it depends on things like the strength of your support network, your age, your beliefs, and other elements of your personality. Furthermore, the type of loss you have suffered can affect how long you need to mourn before you can move on.
With this in mind, remember that you don’t need to accelerate or hurry up the healing process. You can mourn for as long as you need to, no matter whether that’s weeks, months, or even years.
But no matter what, remember that the sadness will eventually ease. You will, one day, be able to feel happiness and joy again and the grief will alleviate. It’s just a matter of time, and Recognize & Rise can help you get to that point if you contact us today.
You should also reach out to your friends and family members if you are experiencing grief over the loss of a loved one or for another traumatic event. No one deserves to grieve alone.
Seek support with grief and loss today
Everyone experiences grief eventually. But we can band together and support each other throughout the grieving process. If you’re experiencing grief, don’t hesitate to contact Recognize & Rise today – we may be able to connect you with helpful resources in the Tarrant County area or elsewhere. We also have hotline assistance available 24/7 if you need to talk to someone.
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