5 Signs You May Need Grief Support

5 signs you may need grief support
“Grief and love are sisters, woven together from the beginning. Their kinship reminds us that there is no love that does not contain loss and no loss that is not a reminder of the love we carry for what we once held close.” – Francis Weller (The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief) The above quote, by Francis Weller, is a beautiful reminder that while grief is born of sorrow, it is also born as the result of deep love, connection, or a desire to heal that which was broken. As a result, there is a wild array of emotions that takes over when we are in the midst of grief.   Those emotions can be so overpowering that if they aren’t allowed to express themselves or find a way to move through and out of the griever, they can become stuck. When that happens, the following 5 signs may begin to reveal themselves. 

5 Signs It’s Time To Seek The Gift Of Grief Support 

Those of us who work in the realm of death, dying, and grief support are very aware that grief is not something that needs to be fixed. Nor is it something that can be shoved away, repressed, or “gotten through” via 21st-century busy-ness.   We understand that grief is a process; it is a journey and while you may always carry grief with you, grief support can 100% allow you to be seen, heard, and witnessed as you transform overpowering or debilitating emotions into healthful expressions “of the love you carry for what you once held close.”  Here are 5 signs that it’s time to seek the gift of grief support for yourself, or to gently suggest/offer grief support resources for someone you know who is grieving. 

You think about grief support, counseling, etc.

If you find yourself in the midst of grief and have thoughts, “maybe I should get some grief counseling or support…,” odds are you are in need. Those are great signs that you are absolutely right!   One thing you’ll learn to trust during your grief support journey is that you are wise. Your body knows exactly what you need and it communicates with you through feelings, emotions, and – yep, you guessed it – thoughts. Trusting these messages is part of your learning, and will help you to get the help and support you need – when you need it. 

You’re not functioning in your daily life

Grief can become all-encompassing without the right support and the passage of time, not necessarily in that order. When that happens, a deep depression settles in. This deep pressing down of emotional weight can impact every aspect of your life.   Signs your grief is more than you can bear on your own include: 
  • Suicidal thoughts 
  • Loss of appetite or comfort eating 
  • Insomnia or sleep disruptions 
  • The inability to get out of bed 
  • Skipping daily hygiene routines 
  • Consistently avoiding social situations, work, friends, etc. 
  • Ceasing to participate in activities and hobbies you love 
  • Unconsolable sadness 
  • Uncontrollable crying 
  • Rage or unmanageable anger 
  • The inability to stop playing a particular memory, conversation, etc. with your loved one over and over again in your mind 
  • Obsessive compulsive behaviors 
  • Lethargy 
Of course, these are all normal emotions in the immediate weeks or even a few months after a traumatic or tragic loss, but if they continue after the three-month mark (or they are affecting your ability to live a more full life) it is probably time to find the right outlet so you can begin processing them in a way that suits you. Even in the midst of a pandemic, hospice and other grief support communities are finding creating and soulful ways to support those in grief. 

You suffer from “bereavement guilt” 

Bereavement guilt can come in many forms, but the most common are: 
  • It’s my fault s/he’s dead. If only I would have… 
  • Our unresolved issues will never go away and it’s all my fault… 
  • Getting caught in an endless loop of regret(s) about your relationship (or lack thereof) with the deceased 
Any feelings of unresolved guilt that haunt you or seem to recurrently take over your thoughts or emotional wellbeing are messages that you are in need of grief support. You will be amazed at the way finding the right support venue can help to release harmful, painful, and relentless feelings associated with bereavement guilt. 

You’re experiencing unusual anxiety or panic attacks

The loss of someone we love affects us in so many ways, and those ways differ from person-to-person and scenario-to-scenario. If you have never really suffered from anxiety or panic attacks in the past, grief can show up just like that.   Anxiousness and panic attacks are particularly common for parents who lose a child (paranoid they’ll lose another), those who have unresolved grief guilt (see #3), and those who are typically “in control” or who find their sense of calm by having things in order. Death and dying are one of the most powerful reminders that we are absolutely not in control, and that can understandably result in panic and anxiety. 

Loss of identity

The loss of identity that occurs alongside grief can be shocking and life-shattering. For most of us, the loss of a loved one is the moment we realize how attached our identity was to being a wife, husband, son, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother, etc.   If you emerge from the acute pain of grief, only to find you are questioning who you are without the one you lost, grief support can facilitate that learning process. Grief work will help you process the complex array of emotions and thoughts you are experiencing, while simultaneously helping you do the identity work necessary to continue stepping into your own future. We understand that seeking grief support can be scary, but we also witness firsthand the way grief support – at the right time, and the right place, in the right mode – helps our clients find the space necessary to begin taking steps forward, and without the debilitating energy that untended grief can become.  Contact us here at Hospice of the Golden Isles to learn more about our grief support programs. 
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Hospice of the Golden Isles.
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912.265.4735 | toll-free at 866.275.6801
1692 Glynco Parkway | Brunswick, GA 31525
501(c)(3) non-profit organization | License #GA063007H
Privacy Policy 
Copyright ©2020 Hospice of the Golden Isles.
All rights reserved.

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