Mental health during loss

We have all experienced loss on some level, be it a family member, a friend, a colleague or someone you just knew a short while.  During the time of loss, it is extremely important to look after one’s mental health…

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…, and to be cognisant of the different levels of mourning that one can go through.
In the case of a younger person going through the loss, it is important for the support team / family / friends to guide them through this process.  One can easily try to hide away from everyday life and the people in it, after all, it might feel as if everyone else’s lives go on, while the tough reality of going on without a person, is reserved for the direct family or friends that lost a person close to them.  Mourning the loss of a loved one is a long process but with time it will get better.

Tough emotions to work through will include a complete sense of trauma and shock when the person has passed, followed by utter sadness, a feeling that this cannot be true.  After a while, it might seem as if this must only be a bad dream, whereafter one can experience a sense of anger and frustration for not being able to talk to that person again, or even see them. It is important to acknowledge one’s feelings, even the bad feelings, to make sure that they don’t get packed in and away, as those feelings will then fester and eventually catch up with you.

For all people, mourning the loss of someone will differ, but there are a few phases to be aware of that are universal according to the Kübler-Ross model:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Work through your emotions, acknowledge them, cry if you want to, talk to people about how you feel.  If you are not sure what you are feeling, try to write about it, journaling is a widely accepted way of dealing with one’s feelings and emotions and to work through them. The harsh reality that you won’t see that person again, hear their voice, laugh with them, fight with them, or do anything with them again, is indeed very, very hard to come to terms with.

Try to reach out to others if you feel overwhelmed and confused, and for those that are part of the support team, be there for each other in this trying time.  Amidst all the difficult things happening in the world right now, adding trauma and grief to them can make the strongest person buckle.  Be kind to yourself, and may you find a way to celebrate all the good memories with the lost loved one, remembering the good times and keeping the person’s memory alive in that way.

For more information about the Kübler-Ross model, visit https://grief.com/the-five-stages-of-grief/

Medwell SA – The Home Health Care Specialists