Coping With Grief
Dr. Chloe Paidoussis Mitchell on dealing with loss and grief of all kinds during the coronavirus crisis.
Covid-19 has been a terrible wake up call for everybody. Nobody expected this, even when we saw the news coming in on our wires from China. I know I did not really expect to live 2020 in lockdown. It is a hugely difficult thing and how much we need to learn to harness the power of our mind is now evident.
What almost everyone is being called to navigate is loss. A raw, unexpected grief at the loss of our norms, the loss of our freedoms, the loss of our work, the loss of our financial security, the loss of physical contact with our friends and family, the loss of freedom to make life plans and devastatingly for an increasing number of people the loss of loved one. So much loss, arresting us in our existential tracks, and forcing us to cope in the most abnormal of times.
Grief is such a personal thing. We talk of it as though we all experience the same thing. But actually no two people grieve in exactly the same way. Grief and loss are deeply personal. Grief responses happen to each of us and they are very much determined by our personal life stories and contexts, our attitudes to ourselves, our support systems, our circumstances and our norms.
What is really devastating for thousands right now is that when loss and grief happens, we don’t have the normal end of life rituals to comfort us and we definitely don’t have the loving, caring presence of our wider family and friends to hold us in our grief and in our pain.
How absolutely horrible and how incredibly strong so many are being.
It is really important to acknowledge that with the crisis continuing everyday so many are finding their inner resolve to cope. But it is no walk in the park. For those in Grief the journey is really tough.
Those in grief are having to find new ways to mourn, to tolerate not being able to hold the hand of their loved one whilst they were dying, and having to navigate a world that feels unfair, unpredictable, unsafe. Those enduring Grief during Covid-19 are losing their sense of self, their purpose and terrifyingly their meaning. Nothing feels right and we have to work really hard to figure it all out again. What now? We find ourselves asking huge questions – Who am I now? How will I get through it? What’s it all about? Why has this happened? WTF?
Having an intense emotional and raw response to the losses you are facing is a normal human response. It is the situation that is abnormal and you are not failing for feeling something devastating and intense because of it.
In fact, Grief is all about love. We grieve people, experiences and moments that we treasure, that mean something to us. It is a journey of reconstructing the world and our safe, happy and fulfilling place in it all over again.
If you are coping with Grief please take this with you – You are not alone. Turn towards yourself and embrace your feelings because they are valid. Grief will only release you from its grip when you have learned to embrace it, accept it, acknowledge it and validate it. There is no way through grief but to just go through it.
It is very tough. And for many the physicality of grief is frightening. When Grief has you in its grip your body knows it, your mind endures it and your heart suffers it. It is a total experience and there is no good that can come from bottling it, compartmentalising or drowning it. If you don’t process your grief, you don’t give it a home, it will store up inside of you and come and bite you some time when you are feeling low, tired, depleted or stressed. People do get ill from unprocessed grief and it can often look like Depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
In facing and going through your Grief you will also discover that it is your opportunity to really honour the significance of the person you are grieving. It is your window for self-care and your existential wake up call to make the most of the good people in your life and the meaningful life projects you want to invest your energy into. So many people I meet tell me that their Grief is painful but it is also a story of hope, courage, dignity and strength. Grief is part of our humanity and you are a warrior of hope when you allow yourself to go through it.
Grief has many shades and although people talk about the grief stages there is no such thing, as grieving is never linear. There are 7 acts of recovery and these will be personal to you. Remember – no two people grieve alike.
If you want to learn more about what Grief is, how it impacts your body, mind, emotions and spirit please sign up to my webinar titled Coping with Loss on 11th May at 11am – hosted on www.dr-Chloe.com You can find a link to it in my Instagram bio @drchloe_mitchell
I am here to help people. To raise awareness on Grief and build attitudes of openness, acceptance and hope. When you face grief, often your friends don’t know what to say. They try and say the right thing but un-intentionally they hurt you, or leave you feeling rejected, judged, unheard and as though you need fixing. Many people feel that they are often avoided by people or just ignored which is awful –because people are afraid of grief and of displays of raw emotion. Don’t be afraid. It is through emotional realness that we can all connect and in my Webinar I will offer lots of practical tips and advice on how to remove fear when talking about grief and how to use the right language. I’d love to meet you and support you in this way. Do sign up and get informed so you can break the stigma and not only help yourself but help and support those you care about!
If you don’t fancy a webinar, but would like to speak to someone there are many charities that offer support. Cruse Bereavement offer specific counselling. You can find professionals with such expertise on The Counselling Directory – make sure you go for people who are properly qualified and accredited.
If you have any questions, do feel free to reach me via my site www.dr-chloe.com
Look after yourself. Everyone matters. That includes you.
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