The Lowdown
24 July 2022 • 5 min read

Grief and Loss

Grief is a normal part of life. It’s a natural reaction to losing someone or something that you love or hold value to. You may feel grief when you have experienced the death of a person or animal you love or care about, the end of a relationship or friendship or the loss of an opportunity or a place that’s important to you.

A girl with her hair in a bun is standing with her eyes closed with her hand on her heart and a pounamu necklace. Behind her are four inverted figures in black and white.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Each person’s grief is unique and everyone will experience it differently.

For some people this is what grief might look like:

  • Shock and disbelief – right after a loss, it can be hard to accept what happened. You may feel numb or have trouble believing that the loss really happened.
  • Sadness – You may have feelings of emptiness, despair, yearning or deep loneliness, and you may be so sad your body physically hurts. You might cry a lot or not at all, and both are normal.
  • Guilt – After experiencing a loss, you may feel guilt or regret about many things such as what you did or didn’t say or do, even if there was nothing you could have done to change this.
  • Anger – even if the loss was nobody’s fault, you may feel angry and resentful. If you lost a loved one, you may be angry with yourself, God, the doctors or even the person who died.
  • Fear – a significant loss can trigger a lot of feelings of worry and fear. You may feel anxious, helpless or insecure.

Physical symptoms may occur including fatigue, nausea, lowered immunity, weight loss or weight gain, aches and pains or insomnia.

Everyone deals with grief in different ways, and we often underestimate just how long it will take to feel better. With grief there is no timeline – you can’t control how long it takes but you can find coping mechanisms to help you survive it.

Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold. There are healthy ways to cope with the pain that you feel and to help you come to terms with your loss, find new meaning and eventually move on with your life.

if your grief is feeling overwhelming, itʻs good to talk to someone about it, rather than feeling like you have to keep your emotions to yourself.

Reach out to someone you trust and talk to them about how you’re feeling, or ask them to help you see a mental health professional who can support you in dealing with the heavy weight of these emotions. If you don’t have anyone in your life that you can talk to, the below list of websites can help you access support.

It’s important to note that sometimes the person you talk to may not offer you the help and support you need, but don’t give up. Try again with someone else – your struggles are important and just because someone doesn’t listen or give you the help you need doesn’t mean what you’re facing isn’t real.

If you’ve lost someone to suicide, After A Suicide offers support and information to help you get through this.

Where to get help:

If you’re thinking about harming yourself or are having suicidal thoughts, call Lifeline on 0508 82 88 65 now to talk to someone who cares and can support you.

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