Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


Physical and Emotional Reactions to Grief

posted by Linda Mintle

Today is the anniversary of my mother’s death. It has been two years and I miss her! And today, families are burying their loved ones in Connecticut. Grief can overwhelm but we can get through it.

Grief is a normal reaction to loss and trauma. Check how you are doing.

Although we tend to believe grief passes through consecutive stages, it doesn’t. Grieving is a process in which a number of emotions and behaviors are revisited several times. There is no right order, and people tend to go back and forth with varying feelings. Grief is an automatic process in which a period of denial helps buy time to process the loss.

We respond with numbness, shock, denial, intense sorrow, pain, anger, confusion, loneliness, emptiness, depression, guilt, fear, abandonment, isolation, physical symptoms, irritability, fantasy, restlessness, disorganization and hopelessness.

Grief is a time of stress that taxes the immune system, making the body more susceptible to illness. During grief, try to eat nutritiously and get plenty of rest, even though you are not thinking about self-care and will have difficulty doing these two things. Physical symptoms can include headaches, fatigue, appetite loss, dizziness, heart palpitations, numbness, and insomnia. The overall feeling is one of body exhaustion caused by the intensity of emotions.

Grieving comes and goes in intensity. Some days you are doing well, and other days are just hard to get through. At times, you will be surprised at how the most insignificant thing can bring on an outpouring of grief. At other times you will be amazed at your strength. Through it all, you’ll discover that His grace is sufficient to meet all your needs. Hear Jesus say to you, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor.12:9, KJV). His strong arms surround you with comfort and love.

It’s important to watch for more severe signs of grief that may create deeper psychological problems, such as:

–Substance abuse

–Chronic psychosomatic complaints

–Excessive guilt

–Wanting to die and join the person who died.

–Morbid preoccupation with worthlessness

–Inability to get back into a routine after a significant period of time

–Overly intense reactions when the deceased is mentioned

–Isolation from normal relationships

–Feelings of intense hostility or irritability

If your physical symptoms, or any of the problems above, linger for more than two months and are interfering with your daily functioning, you may need to talk to a grief counselor. This time frame is only a reference. You will know if you are stuck in your grief. If so, help is available.

 

 



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