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Grief and Loss


Grief is a natural response to loss. You may associate grief with the death of a loved one, which is often the most intense type of grief. But grief can also include:

  • Loss of a relationship

  • Loss of health

  • Loss of a job or financial stability

  • Miscarriage

  • Loss of a friendship

  • Loss of safety

  • Loss of a pet

Everyone grieves differently. The length of time and intensity of the grief can depend on factors such as coping skills, life experience, faith, and social support. Healing happens over time and is a normal process. The psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross developed a theory known as the “five stages of grief.”

  • Denial

  • Anger

  • Bargaining

  • Depression

  • Acceptance

Actually, these stages are not linear. Grieving can be experienced like a wave of feelings that can change day- to-day or even moment-to-moment. The common symptoms associated with grief include many different feelings:

  • Shock or Disbelief

  • Sadness

  • Guilt

  • Anger

  • Fear

  • Physical Symptoms

Getting the support you need can be the single most important factor in the healing process. Turning to friends and family, embracing your faith, support groups, and therapy can help you cope with the grief and loss process. Complicated grief and sadness is one that never goes away completely, and is constant and severe. It can consume your life, and can include:

  • Intense yearning for the deceased

  • Intrusive thoughts or images

  • Denial

  • Searching for the person

  • Avoidance

  • Anger

  • Feelings of emptiness

Sometimes, grief and depression go hand-in-hand. Symptoms of depression include:

  • Intense sense of guilt

  • Thoughts of suicide

  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness

  • Inability to function at work or home

If you recognize any of the above symptoms of grief, complicated grief or clinical depression, please contact me at 805-390-8180 to discuss a support program that can help you through this normal process of life and loss.

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