in Charlotte, NC
You wish you could just go back in time.
Life may not have been perfect before your loss, but now you would give anything to feel like your old self again.
Your body aches and it drains all your energy to go through the motions of living. You barely sleep anymore but waking up is the worst part. It’s a slap in the face every morning to realize – like “Groundhog Day” – that it wasn’t all just a bad dream. Your loss really happened.
Tiny things remind you of your loss all day long. TV commercials, songs, old text messages, social media posts, seeing strangers going about their normal lives, being in empty quiet places that used to be filled with life and excitement…your trigger list may be growing quickly.
Your brain is tired, and your heart feels like it was hollowed out by a nuclear bomb.
You can feel a million different things in the course of a day. Nauseous. Scared. Anxious. Lonely. Hopeless. Desperate. Enraged. Ripped off. Robbed. Duped. It’s an emotional roller coaster you never wanted to ride.
Maybe at some point you decided it would be easier to just hide all this messy grief and chaos deep inside. After all, people in your life seemed to expect you to “move on” or “bounce back” or “find the silver lining”.
You heard so many comments like “Everything happens for a reason!” or “Think positive!” that it began to feel shameful to “still” be struggling with your loss. Maybe you even started to pretend things were okay.
Wearing the social mask of “I’m okay” can be incredibly isolating.
At times, you find yourself crying into your pillow, collapsing onto the living room floor or shaking with silent fury in the privacy of your car. It makes you wonder if there’s something wrong with you for taking this so hard.
You never planned to be here.
You didn’t sign up for an experience of grief.
But, well, here you are. It’s gotten too hard to do this alone. And you’re wondering if talking to someone who really gets grief could help.
What is grief?
When we care deeply (about a person, pet, or any cherished part of our life), we take the risk of loss.
Put simply: grief is the price of love.
It’s the other side of love.
Grief is an honest, natural human reaction to any loss – the mental, emotional, physical & spiritual state that occurs when our hearts are broken.
Grief can happen with a…
- death (person or pet)
- identity change
- job loss
- academic loss
- physical illness/diagnosis
- death of a dream or goal
- large or small disasters
- spiritual loss
- incarceration of self or loved one
This is not an exhaustive list. Grief can happen many other situations too.
The experience of loss changes us. We can’t go back to who we were before the loss – as much as we’d like to.
We need to actively grieve after a loss, to intentionally express and work with the experience. Actively grieving is not a quick fix or a “cure” for the pain. But it helps us heal and grow into the new version of ourselves who will carry the loss forward.
Actively grieving can include rituals or activities (a funeral, visiting a cemetery, creating a memorial, making art or music to express grief, talking about the loss, joining a supportive grief group, talking to a grief counselor, etc.). Or, it can be anything that helps you process and express your grief.
Time alone does not heal grief. Maybe you’ve noticed this.
Maybe your grief initially felt so scary and suffocating that you buried it. Maybe you didn’t have the energy for active grieving. Or maybe you didn’t have supportive people who “get” grief around.
For whatever reason, your grief may have gone underground.
But it’s still there. You know it. You feel it.
It’s not too late to find support for your grief, no matter how long it’s been.
Common signs of grief include:
- Trouble concentrating (“grief brain”)
- Loss of appetite or “stress eating” (especially sweets, carbs)
- Fatigue and tiredness
- High stress levels
- Nausea or upset stomach
- Sleep difficulties
- Sore muscles and achy body
- Sighing (feeling like you can’t catch your breath)
- Experiencing loss reminders
Because loss is one of the most stressful things we ever experience in life, it’s important to take your physical health seriously and check in with your physician about any new symptoms.
It’s also important to find a safe supportive place to express ALL of your feelings about your loss. Especially the messy ones. Because the truth is:
We feel so we can heal.
Your feelings about your loss are a natural, healthy part of you.
Our surrounding culture often denies & avoids death, loss, and grief so it can feel “wrong” to grieve. But grief is truly part of being human. Your grief is proof that you have loved deeply.
And with support, you can learn to actively grieve. You can honor your loss, express your emotions and start to heal.
How does grief counseling help?
In grief therapy, you will find a safe space to tell your story – your whole story – about the loss. There’s no pressure to wear a “brave face” or find the “silver lining” in what’s happened.
We’ll help you explore all your feelings about your loss. Imagine spreading everything out on a giant table and then taking time to sort through it together. Messy emotions are welcome!
There can be so much relief in simply taking off the “I’m OK” mask and being seen and validated.
We’ll work toward building your tolerance for experiencing the pain of grief. No need to do it all at once – we’ll start slow. And then we’ll brainstorm ways for you to take good care of yourself as you walk this path of actively grieving.
Maybe nature soothes you. Maybe music or dance lets you release tension. Maybe creativity or art helps. Maybe something more unconventional works best for you.
Together, we’ll explore old and new coping skills and make a self-care plan to help you feel nurtured and safe when things get tough.
We’ll also spend time with grief education. In a culture that denies and avoids grief, we often feel totally overwhelmed and underprepared for dealing with a loss. Learning about grief empowers you to understand the natural process of grief after loss. And it helps to normalize what you are going through (you’re human!).
Grief can feel lonely, hopeless and confusing. But healing is possible. You don’t have to bury your feelings in order to heal. You need to FEEL in order to heal!
Contact Modern Era Counseling today to get started with grief counseling and find real support for grieving your loss.