Grief is the internal response to loss. It includes the inner thoughts and feelings that one experiences. Not everyone grieves the same, those who have the capacity to love well will likely grieve deeply.
Many different losses can result in grief such as:
- death of a loved one, or pet
- life changing illness in oneself or a loved one, such as cancer, brain injury, dementia, etc
- job loss
- separation and divorce
- loss of home through disaster, or through moving eg. to nursing home
- multiple losses over a life span may build over time to create a more complicated grief
Life transitions are periods of change in life that may create a sense of loss, and sometimes grief, such as:
- empty nest
- starting or ending school or a career
Not everyone needs therapy to work through grief. How do you know if you need help? If you answer yes to any of these questions*, consider seeking professional help:
1. Does this situation (loss, life transition) interfere with my ability to care for myself or find life meaningful?
2. Am I consistently withdrawing from people and life in general?
3. Do I have physical and emotional symptoms that I do not understand?
4. Do I have distorted or extreme feelings of anger, guilt, sadness etc beyond what would be considered a normal part of grief or change?
5. Are there changes in my personality that I cannot seem to control since the situation has occurred?
6. Do I feel that I am not healing in my grief or adapting well to a specific life transition?
*Adapted from A. Wolfelt, centerforloss.com