Grief expert Victoria Moore on the top 5 things you didn’t know about grief
Recent Ditch the Label research revealed that those that bully are often responding in an aggressive way to a stressful or traumatic situation at home, such as their parents’ divorce or, a bereavement in the family. With this in mind, grief expert Victoria Moore has compiled a list of things that you might not have known about grief to help you if you have experienced the latter.
Maybe you don’t know how to process bad stuff that has happened/that is happening to you, or maybe you haven’t been advised how you can start to move on from the pain you are currently feeling or what seems like the never-ending torture of the memory of a loss or bereavement.
Below are five things that you might not have known about grief. I hope this list helps you to realise that there is nothing wrong with you or the way that you might be feeling. If you need to access further help or support please contact Ditch the Label – they are always here for you.
1. Nearly ALL the symptoms of depression are the same as the symptoms of grief.
Maybe it is unresolved grief and not depression that you are feeling? Maybe it’s time to start processing and resolving your feelings with the event(s); when grieving or in shock after an event that changes your life, the following set of symptoms are pretty usual and common:
- Wanting to cry all the time/unable to cry
- An inability to focus or to carry out basic tasks
- Wanting to hide or to go to bed
- Inability to sleep or eat
- Inability to concentrate for long
- Feelings of despair and not wanting to deal with it
Does this sound like depression to you? I am actually describing the state of grief here. These are all natural reactions to a traumatic event and many people will experience these feelings for days/weeks/months after a life-changing or heartbreaking moment/series of moments. If left untreated these feelings don’t go away, they continue and often get worse. I advise seeking further help and support and confiding in someone you trust about how you are feeling. The simple act of talking through your emotions can be a massive help.
“Maybe you don’t know how to process bad stuff that has happened/that is happening to you, or maybe you haven’t been advised how you can start to move on from the pain you are currently feeling”
2. ALL feelings are totally normal.
Maybe people have made you feel like you are responding inappropriately to a bereavement(s). Sometimes people say things like ‘Don’t say that’ or ‘Try not to feel that way’ without really thinking about the negative impact their words might have, but remember, whatever you are thinking/saying/feeling is totally normal. Feelings are just that; feelings. As long those feelings are not causing you to put yourself or others in harm’s way, then you need not worry. If you do however feel unable to cope then please seek help from a trusted adult, GP or someone at Ditch the Label.
People wouldn’t tell you to stop feeling happy/joyous/excited, yet in society it seems acceptable to say to someone who is feeling low “Snap out of it” or “Get over it” – something that would never be said to someone suffering a physical ailment. If we deny our true feelings rather than address them or let them run their natural course, then we just internalise them. This can wreak havoc not only on our mental health, but also our physical health.
3. It’s not you it’s them.
Of course there are times where we need to take responsibility for our actions but there are also certain times where this just isn’t applicable.
For example, have you ever experienced the following:
- You are opening up and sharing how you are truly feeling with a close friend and…they change the subject! One minute you’re pouring you’re heart out and the next they are talking about something totally random…the weather, the news, basically anything they can think of, Just not YOU.
- You are sharing how you feel and your confidante tells you they ‘know exactly how you feel’. They then proceed to tell you all about their own feelings and situation. Again, you don’t get to talk about YOU and your feelings.
Sadly these two scenarios are very common amongst grievers, so it is easy to understand how some people find it incredibly hard to open up to others. Just remember, in these instances you are not at fault for wanting to talk about how you are feeling, it is incredibly healthy that you share with another how you are doing – if they react in an unsupportive way they just might not be the right individual. If someone finds it uncomfortable to talk about such things, know that they are projecting their own issues onto you, don’t be embarrassed, seek support from someone else – there will always be people out there that are willing to talk, you could even get in touch with someone at Ditch the Label!
“You are not mad or wrong to feel the way that you do”
Next time someone tells you ‘not to worry’, ‘not to feel bad’ or changes the subject as you are talking about how you feel, take a deep breath and try to remember that you are not mad or wrong to feel the way that you do.
4. Grief doesn’t magically disappear.
Unfortunately, emotional trauma doesn’t magically disappear. Rather than suppressing your emotions it is much healthier to acknowledge how you are feeling; no one will think any less of you for getting upset – it is perfectly normal. In the long run, being honest with yourself will aid the healing process.
If you need to cry, find a safe place (maybe that is in your bedroom alone, with some music on) and let it out!
If you are mad and need to release some of that pent up anger, I advise:
- Screaming as loudly as you can (into a pillow or cushion if you don’t want to be heard)
- Writing down exactly how you are feeling in a diary!
- Punching a pillow, cushion or a punch bag.
- Meditating – allow yourself 10 minutes everyday to sit, alone, in a quiet area. Relax and breathe deeply. Try not to focus your mind on anything other than the steady inhaling and exhaling of your breath.
Also, try and accept the fact that it is very unlikely you will be able to immediately adjust to the change going on around you; there will be days where you feel down, and days where you feel better. Just know, that whatever you are feeling, is completely normal.
5. There are over 40 different types of loss and grief that you can go through.
One of those is ”loss of safety” which is what can happen to you during or after you have been subjected to bullying or intimidation of any kind. You might struggle with feeling scared, stupid, exposed or whatever your own set of feelings are (mine were always feelings of ugliness). All of these emotions are ultimately going to bring up issues of safety. Whilst we can agree that physical safety is paramount, emotional safety is just as important; when we are taunted or called names, harassed or bullied in any way, emotional trauma takes its toll. It is important that during times of emotional stress you look after your mental health; you can access a support guide for stress to help you manage.