Grieving is a process that starts at different points for different people after encountering a tragedy. Some start straight away while others lay dormant in shock until the reality of the situation hits home. Either way there is a large part of grieving that is unexpected and unexplained. It’s the bits that you have to deal with long after the tragedy has taken place. The mental and emotional damage, the suppressed fears, distortions of the mind, all of these things are the post traumatic effects of loss.
I would like to write this article to promote the awareness of the after-after effects of loss due to death of a loved one. These are the long term effects that subside deep within the sub consciousness and psyche of the mind. It is common amongst friends and other people to hold the view that a tragedy is something that happens, you process and eventually adapt to and ‘get over’. While this is the general path an aggrieved person takes it doesn’t necessarily mean that after a year or so that person has mended completely and the occurrence no longer has any substantial effect. It is also common for those grieving to believe this is the correct path as they too are unaware of the post traumatic effects it has. It is normal in this situation for the grieved person to feel emotions of guilt for not of having healed. You begin to ask yourself questions such as ‘why am I not over this?”, “am I not strong enough to get over it”, “how come I still feel sad”, “why can’t I move on”, “everyone is sick of hearing about it”, “I must be a bad person if I can’t let this go”. The fact of the matter is that when you have lost someone near and dear you never ‘get over’ the event. Death and tragedy is not a matter of being torn and repaired but more a matter of learning to incorporate the experience of the event into who you are. You are now someone who has experienced a tragedy. The loss of loosing that special person is an adaptation, not a recovery. You are not ‘broken’ but ‘changed’. It is therefore important to allow people the lee way to find room in their character and personality to incorporate this change.
One significant change that can occur is a sense of heightened sensitivity to the fragility and insecurity of love and life. People who have suffered loss may feel more compassion for human kind, life is not so concrete. You may become more aware of peoples feelings and feel angry when people are insensitive to each other. Anger is an emotion embedded in loss that dwells long after the event has subsided. It is set off easily and often expresses itself in unexpected ways. It is common to feel angry at the world; as if it has stolen unfairly from you and that it is evil and cruel. Loss provokes questions such as ‘why me?’, ‘why them?” and feelings of “it’s not fair!” and “how could you!”. The griever has to learn where to put these feelings and how to deal with them. On top of this it is also common to feel mad at the person whom you have lost, mad at yourself for feeling mad and mad at the world for letting such a horrible thing occur.
A lot of this anger is hard to express and can often lead to suppression and depression. I think it is important for those who have grieved to go easy on themselves and even more important for those around them to offer their full support. This is not always easy as depressed people are usually unwilling to share, making communicate difficult. It is common to feel as though the subject is taboo and that no one wants to hear your story, that it is a burden to the listener and unfair to unload an extreme amount of negative emotions onto the shoulders of a friend. Therefore a lot of people chose to retract emotionally, allowing unresolved thoughts and feelings to be pushed to the side, or to the bottom of the pile. This can lead to a pattern of suppression as every time those feelings resurface in order to be processed, the mind pushes them back down labelling them ‘bad’ thoughts. This is an incredibly unhealthy cycle as it is the job of the sub conscious to ensure these negative energies are released similar to the way the liver cleans your body of toxins. Unresolved negative emotions create a build up of negative patterns in the brain along with constant chemical releases that create hormones of anger, guilt, fear, anxiety and stress. These are the long term negative effects I talk of. Unless dealt with properly, these side effects could go on for years preventing the person from experiencing healthy relationships and closing them off to feelings of love, warmth and support. Often loosing someone puts extreme pressure on all coping mechanisms of the body in this way.
All of us will all at sometimes in our life experience loss. Death is apart of life as life is apart of us. It is important to remember that there is no one way to go about grieving, that everyone does it differently. Be aware that a person who has suffered loss is forever changed and that it is just as hard to understand them as it is for them to understand themselves. It is normal to feel afraid, insecure and scared for many years after the event. That some people will always fear losing the ones they love and may feel resilient to let love in again. So please be patient with those who have lost. Pain of loss is a healing process and a process that is delicate, long term and forever proposing new learning’s. There is no manual to coping with loss and it is something that will continually pop up as the grieved learn to bind their old relationships and lives with the new person they have learnt to become.
Currently I hold a Practitioners Certificate in Neuro-linguistic Programing(NLP). NLP is the study of powerful methods for changing the way you think, feel, act and learn. These techniques are used to achieve success in teaching, counselling, business, health care, sports and personal development. I decided to study NLp firstly to understand my own thoughts and feelings, and secondly so that I would have tools to help others use theirs to create the life they want. We all have the power within ourselves to make the changes we wish to see, it is only a matter of time and energy.
Personal experiences have led me to share my part with depression, loss and insanity. I have shared my ups and downs, been strangled by my fears, controlled by guilt, suffered loss and clawed at the curtains in a stubborn attempt to not have to take the leap of faith when I needed to. I knew where I was, and could see where I wanted to be, they were far apart and frighteningly disconnected. All the less I decided it was what I wanted and that no matter what the price or how much hard work it was I was going to get there. And step by shy step, I got there.
I am now in a wonderful place. My mind, body and soul now work together and I’m confident that I can move forward through anything. I am happy, I am in love and I am here to offer words that may help you achieve the same.