Grief and loss equal change. The adaptation to change is the hardest thing to deal with when overcoming grief. Time is inherent with change. Hence many people can grieve over the issue of time itself. Time changes and alters things, places, people and status. One can mourn the past and fear the future or mourn their own inherent change and demise. Others realize that time pushes them further and further away from the passing of a loved one. Each new day adds to the initial separation and fear of forgetting.
Hence time can be the ultimate source of grief. The loss is time itself and the change and differences that occur over time. Individuals who are OCD or grieving or fearful of change will have a difficult time adjusting to any change. While grief over change occurs, we must remember that change is not always bad but sometimes is for the best. Good things can occur and if we live in constant fear of change, or grieve over how it used to be, then we may very well be missing the beauty of the present.
One needs to identify the beauty of the day, remember the past and cherish it, but not allow it to dominate present happiness. Loss and change can still be valid sources of grief and those losses must be dealt with but fortunately as time passes, so does the ability to adjust to loss. While we may miss the past or someone from long ago, we can still learn and grow and appreciate the present.
The article, “Mourning the Passage of Time” by Eleanor Haley of “Whats Your Grief” looks at six aspects of time and grief. She states,
“Changes can cause a person to experience losses related to death, distance, estrangement, anticipatory grief, and grief over the transformation of a person who is still present”
Time truly can cause many griefs. Getting older, changing, losing people and places no longer being around, but these losses are part of life. Change is part of life and like grief, we must learn to adjust to change. We are linear creatures and time is a constant. Those who fear time and change, miss the meaning of life. Being able to understand and appreciate the present, cherish the past and face the future are better equipped to deal with the inherent pain of change that comes with it.
Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Program. Qualified professionals can apply for a four year certification and become certified. Please review the program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.
Chris Haws is a certified Grief Counselor through the American Academy of Grief Counseling. Below is an article from Telegrief.com. In it, Chris discusses the true nature of grief and the reality that it does not simply go away but is something we have to work with and live with for the rest of our lives. He offers some helpful ideas on dealing with the reality of Grief.
By Chris Haws
Not many of us reach middle age without having encountered at least one gentle reminder of our mortality. A beloved uncle, an old school friend, or even a favorite celebrity …… news of their passing makes us sad, and may even make us pause for a moment. But the world doesn’t stop turning and the birds don’t stop singing.
Up close, however, bereavement can be a very different story. The death of a spouse, a sibling, a parent or a child can be so devastating that it feels as if your world has come to a grinding halt and that your entire existence has been turned inside out. Your mind is in a fog, you can’t sleep, you can’t eat, your heart aches and you feel as if you’ve been kicked by a mule. You’re experiencing acute grief and it hurts. That’s not too surprising, since all of those unwelcome sensations are the natural consequence of your mind and your body trying to cope with the shock of your loss. Indeed, neuroscientists and endocrinologists have identified dozens of different brain regions, neural pathways and hormonal reactions to account for all of these unpleasant physical feelings. But the good news is that not only are they entirely natural and predictable, (so you aren’t going mad), but they also won’t last forever.
But we’re not just talking about physical feelings here, are we? Bereavement is not the same as a scraped knee or a bruised thumb, both of which can mend themselves in a relatively short period of time. Acute grief is a profound malady of body and mind (and, some would add, soul) that needs gentle, compassionate, sustained treatment and care …… and it can take a while.
It’s important to remember that there is no pre-ordained schedule or time limit for grief, any more than there is a “checklist” of stages to be ticked off. It’s unfortunate that the popular press will sometimes regurgitate the so-called “Five Stages of Grief”, as if they were commonly agreed medical fact. They are not, and it’s worth noting that when Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross first identified the five emotions of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance in her work at the University of Chicago Medical School in 1969, she was referring specifically to the emotions of terminally ill patients who had been told that they had only a few months to live – and not to the emotions of people who were grieving the loss of someone else. Subsequent research has failed to identify any pre-ordained stages or timetables in the grieving process and it is now commonly accepted that everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. But while counselors no longer talk about stages of grief, we have identified a number of different categories of grief, and that list is long, and growing. Dr Kübler-Ross’s subjects were suffering from what is now known as Anticipatory Grief. Other categories include Complicated Grief, Disenfranchised Grief, Chronic Grief, Cumulative Grief, and almost a dozen more. They each have their own particular characteristics, but the task facing a grief counselor is generally the same for each.
Firstly, people have to be reassured that while their physical symptoms are distressing and painful, they are also typical and temporary. Bereavement is as profound an emotional shock to the system as a major injury and it will take time to heal. In many ways grieving can be likened to PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, and the treatment protocols can be similar too. People also need to be reassured that it’s not only “OK” to express their grief – by occasionally bursting into tears, for example – but that talking through their raw feelings with others can be an important part of the healing process. Of course, not everyone is very good at dealing with someone who is grieving, and even the most well-meaning friend can sometimes say unhelpful, or even hurtful, things. And that’s when grief counselors can really make a difference. We’re trained not only to guide people through the acute phase of their grief, but to also help them integrate that grief into what will become their new reality.
And that acceptance of the concept of a new reality lies at the heart of integrated grief. By definition, a bereavement is always irreversible no matter how much we might wish it could be otherwise. So as grief counselors, we spend a lot of time encouraging people to avoid traveling down the “coulda / shoulda” pathways, or retreading “what if’s” and “if only’s”. Wishing for a different history is entirely understandable, we all do it in our everyday lives, but in the context of grief it is ultimately not very helpful or productive. A major part of our job as counselors, therefore, is to gently steer the focus of our clients’ energy away from their loss and the more painful aspects of their immediate past, such as their loved one’s unexpected accident or illness, towards a future that can celebrate the happy times that they and their departed enjoyed together .
A future that can – and will – be full of laughter, joy and meaning again.
Chris Haws is a British born Psychologist and Counselor based in Northwest DC who specializes in bereavement and grief, substance abuse and recovery, and personal development and mindfulness. For over three decades, his writing has appeared in print, radio and TV around the world. He is the founder of “Telegrief” and can be contacted at telegrief.com
It can be very difficult to return work after a loss. It is hard to refocus and find oneself. Grief and loss can alter one’s reality and make it difficult to return to routine with the new change in life. One must learn to adjust and alter their life to fit the loss but this can take time.
The article, “5 Tips for Returning to Work When Grieving” by Stella Ryne looks at ways one can better adjust to life at work after a loss.
“Going back to work should be seen as something positive. However, it should be done slowly and gradually. Talk to your boss about it, ask him if it would be okay to start working half a day the first couple of days until you settle back into the routine.”
Hidden depression can sometimes be so well disguised that one does not even notice that one’s life has become sad and grey. Hidden depression is also chronic in nature. It has not true reason. One has a difficult time diagnosing why one does not feel well or right.
Hidden depression can make individuals less social and push them more into a introvert like stance. Professional life may flourish but personal life suffers. Others may also experience a constant nagging of perfectionism where one is not good enough in anything one does. Also others exhibit difficulty expressing complex emotions and find fulfillment in only completion of tasks.
The article, “When Your Depression Is Perfectly Hidden (Even from Yourself)” by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S, looks at many more symptoms and explains the reality of hidden depression. She states,
“Natalie’s depression doesn’t resemble what we typically think of depression: a heavy, chilling darkness that siphons a person’s energy and prevents them from getting out of bed. And yet it’s just as serious, exhausting, and devastating.”
Seasonal depression in January is very common. The festivities of the previous year and holidays are over and one is left with the grey, cold and dreary reality of January. With less sun and light, it is naturally a depressive setting. One who is already sad or even one who is mentally drained, or become sick may succumb to a type of seasonal depression.
It is important to notice if you are slipping into a seasonal depression and if needed seek help, but there are ways to cope with the January blues. It is encouraged to remain physical active at a gym and find time to keep oneself in shape. Staying in shape can give pride and self esteem to a dreary setting. Also, consider a hobby to keep busy or a social group to be part of. Favorite shows or special treats are also a way to keep oneself happy. Go out to eat more or go to a movie. Try to make a normal dreary weekday special by doing something!
The article, “‘Blue Monday’ Depression Peak Isn’t Real, But Seasonal Blues Are. Here’s What Do To About Them” from CBS Baltimore looks more at the idea of seasonal depression, especially in regards the third Monday of January. The article states,
“There is generally more sadness in the winter time and January is not uncommon at all for overall more sadness among folks,” said Dr. Ravi Shah, a psychiatrist at Irving Medical Center at Columbia University. “So rather than dial in to one specific day, I think the more interesting question is what it is about the winter that affects our mood.”
Whether a certain day can be more depressing or not is less likely but what is likely that winter in general can depress many people. Some can stay above it and cope better than others but others need help and motivation. Please also review our Grief Counseling Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.
Grief at work can lead to lack of production but it cannot be ignored. It is important that it is addressed to not only benefit the business but to also help the employee. Employers need to be understanding, flexible and know what to expect from their employee. This requires leadership and sometimes a listening ear. It requires a temporary adjustment potentially. While large factories are less equipped to notice the needs of an individual, unions and friends should be aware. Smaller businesses have the luxory and ability to better address the needs of the individual.
It is critical to not only help the employee emotionally but also to help them adjust for the benefit of the business itself. While one does not wish to put money over emotion, there comes a time when the employee must learn to cope and play his or her part in the process, but without the understanding and leadership from good managers, this can be quite a hard thing.
The article, “How to Manage an Employee with Depression” by Kristen Bell DeTienne, Jill M. Hooley, Cristian Larrocha and Annsheri Reay look at the problems of depression and how a manager can help an employee at work who is suffering from depression. They state,
“Yet despite this enormous and growing toll, many employers take an ad hoc approach to handling depression among employees. Many managers become aware of mental health issues only when they investigate why a team member is performing poorly. A better scenario would be if employees felt empowered to report a mental health problem and ask for a reasonable accommodation so that their manager can intervene to minimize the damage to the organization and help the employees return as quickly as possible to full health.”
Employers who are more considerate to depression and the mental health of their employees are not only showing compassion but also good business sense. Employees are a company’s top resource and making sure they are happy and productive is critical to success. Please also review our Grief Counseling Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.
Drinking and depression are tied together. Many individuals when they feel depressed or sad feel the need to drink to escape the pain. This form of escapism can lead to addiction. For others it can be a temporary refuge from the issues presenting themselves, but the issue still remains. Dealing with grief requires healthy coping mechanisms not detrimental ones through drugs and drinking.
The article, “What to know about alcohol and depression” by Zawn Villines takes a closer look at the connections that exist between depression and alcohol. He states,
“Some people with depression drink alcohol to ease their symptoms. Over time, this can lead to alcohol dependence and abuse. People who drink to cope with psychological distress may drink more over time, especially when they wake up feeling anxious or depressed. Chronic drinking significantly increases the risk of alcohol abuse.”
Seasonal depression is very common. In the middle of January through most of the remaining Winter individuals begin to long for Spring. The grey skies, lack of holiday fun, and cold and damp weather can influence one negatively. With sickness and aches, individuals can succumb to depression more easily. It is important to stay alert, active and positive minded when dealing with the lack of light, cold and depressive weather. It is important to be find joy and fun in these days.
The article, “Fighting off gloomy-weather depression with simple habits” from KTVO looks at how depressing weather can negatively affect a person. The article states,
“SAD, is a type of depression that affects people at the same time each year, typically late fall through the winter months. The disorder is more common in women than men and young people have a higher risk of developing it. With the conditions for most starting in their 20’s. The changes in your mood are driven by chemicals in your body like serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is thought to affect mood and appetite while melatonin will give the urge to sleep and wake up.”
Seasonal depression is real and needs to be addressed. If you feel it coming on, find help. Certified grief counselors can help, as well as licensed professional counselors. It is important to remain positive and healthy in the darker months of the year. Please also review our Grief Counseling Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals. The program is independent study and online and certified an individual for four years.
Grief is difficult to deal with. It forces us to adapt and change. Through this change, it can be distracting and painful. Unfortunately, many of us cannot walk away from life but must learn to cope with grief while attending school or working. This is a difficult process but sometimes can also be therapeutic. It frees the mind and gives us some normalcy. Some may even attempt to escape into work to avoid the pain. This is as much a problem as those who cannot focus on work due to grief.
Learning to adjust at work is important. Life must go on. It is important to let your manager or supervisor know of your situation. It may be important also to find counseling to help one adjust. It can definitely be tough to work while grieving but it is something one must do.
The article, “7 ways to deal with grief at work” by Erica Sweeney looks the difficulty of coping while at work but looks at ways to help individuals move forward with their career task. She states,
“Many employees aren’t able to take much time off from work to process a loss. While 88% of employers offer bereavement leave, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, it averages about three days. That amount can vary greatly, however, since no federal requirements for bereavement leave exist. TheFamily and Medical Leave Act doesn’t specifically cover it, and the Fair Labor Standards Act doesn’trequire paid time off to attend funerals.”
With careers and work so important to financial stability, it is critical to overcome grief to the extent one can cope while at work. While we cannot escape grief, we have to be able to live with it. Please also review our Grief Counseling Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.
Grief and loss do not always involve death. Losing anything is the recipe for grief. One of the most common forms of loss is divorce. Romantic breakups are tough but marriages that fail are even tougher. Marriage does not only involve the heart, but it also involves a sacred vow. The loss removes one from consistency of schedule and thrusts one into a new environment. Furthermore, the loss has many secondary losses associated with it. Financial burden, loss of possessions, less time with children or pets, as well as legal stress all play a large role in divorce.
This is why divorce is such a stressful and painful process. It is an uprooting of one’s life. It may be for the best, but the process of healing takes many years to finally become whole again.
The article,” 12 Strategies For Dealing With Grief After A Divorce” by Karen Finn looks deeper at the types of losses. She states,
“Dealing with grief after a divorce is no different. Nearly 50% of marriages (and 41% of first marriages) in the United States will end in divorce or separation. Divorce grief is, therefore, a high-odds reality.”