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Is Grief Making You Feel Like You’ve Lost Control Of Your Life?
- Are you reeling from the loss of a loved one?
- Has the orderly and predictable life you once had seemingly vanished overnight as you experience ongoing waves of sadness, anger, guilt, and loneliness?
- Do you get the sense that those around you expect you to have moved on by now but would benefit from professional bereavement support?
Since losing a loved one, you’ve been left with a void that’s impossible to fill. After the initial shock wore off, perhaps you alternate between feelings of sadness, anxiety, depression, and anger. It may seem like you’re stuck. It may seem like life has become out of control and you are drifting through rough seas without a rudder.
You Might Feel Out Of Step With The Rest Of The World
As the rest of the world moves on, you could be struggling to re engage with friends and family. Instead, you may retreat from social events altogether, having lost your desire to interact with others. Deep down, you may fear that if you allow yourself a moment of enjoyment, it will somehow be a betrayal of how much you miss your loved one. You would rather remain isolated than risk forgetting about them.
On top of experiencing grief due to their absence, you may be trying to reconcile complicated, unresolved, or conflicting emotions related to your loved one. Perhaps your last interaction with them was an argument, or you weren’t on good terms with them when they passed, and now you are dealing with subtler forms of grief on top of your primary grief.
But no matter how much anguish your grief brings, you don’t have to experience it alone. Grief counseling allows you dedicated time and space to receive empathetic support and make sense of your loss.
A Majority of Americans Are Grieving
Despite its ability to shatter us emotionally, the unfortunate fact is that grief is a fundamental part of the human experience. A recent study conducted by WebMD showed that “the majority of Americans are dealing with some sort of pain and complicated grief at all times. 57 percent of the population experienced a major loss in the last 3 years.” 
Although grief has been around as long as people have, it remains misunderstood by most of us. In fact, in the same study, “more than half of all participants—53 percent—said that they’d encountered people whose sympathy seemed to have an expiration date.”  The typical timeframe that friends and loved ones expected the aggrieved to be “over it” ranged from three months to one year, which is seldom the case.
The “Stages Of Grief” Can Be Misleading
Oftentimes, the only concept we’ve ever heard about grief before experiencing it firsthand is the Five Stages of Grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. If this is all we have to go on, we may assume that the grieving process typically follows a straight line, moving from one stage to the next in a linear direction. The Five Stages presumes that once we reach acceptance, our grief goes away. But grief isn’t an event we experience sequentially. Rather, it’s a process that ebbs and flows over time.
Nevertheless, when our emotions flood over us like a tidal wave without warning, we often feel confused or ashamed. Managing these feelings can be challenging when there’s no order to the way they come and go. Although we’re making incremental progress along the way, we don’t notice it. Our grief feels jumbled and out of control.
Grief and loss counseling can help you understand what’s happening and normalize your experience. Rather than setting a time limit on your bereavement, a grief counselor understands what you’re going through and can recommend ways to ease your pain.
Grief Counseling Can Help You Make Sense Of Your Loss And Move Forward
When a meaningful part of your life is suddenly and permanently gone, the resulting shock and emotional aftermath can be overwhelming. And if your loss is complicated by extenuating circumstances, the ensuing anxiety, depression, and physical effects can impair your ability to function. Sadly, you might be hiding how you truly feel from others for fear that they expect you to have moved on by now.But even if you don’t feel ready to deal with your loss, counseling offers you a safe space to process your feelings and experiences related to grief. Working with a grief counselor can help you better navigate what’s happening, accept what cannot be changed while ensuring you receive support, and learn better coping skills so that you can take care of yourself moving forward.
What To Expect In Grief Therapy Sessions
When you’re in the throes of grief, it’s common to believe that you’re doing it “wrong.” Your therapist will help normalize your experience and demystify the grief process so that you can accept your emotions as they come. Stabilization will be our priority, ensuring you have face-to-face support in place from people who care about you.
Every grief journey is unique—you may experience emotions at unexpected times that even close friends may not empathize with. Learning the physiological impact of grief and trauma responses in bereavement counseling will help you better understand what’s happening as well as ways to acknowledge and accept painful emotions productively.
How Grief Counseling Can Help
Our trained grieving counselors can help you navigate your loss by providing you with counseling that is tailored to your specific needs. Grief therapy with us may include:
- Self-care: Your therapist will ensure you take care of your needs in whatever ways are important to you;
- Grief vs. depression: although depression can result from grief, not all grief results in depression. You will learn how to understand the difference and, if applicable, we will address whatever complicated grief you may be struggling with;
- Coping skills: We may incorporate skills and concepts from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Trauma Focused CBT and mindfulness techniques.
Understanding the full impact of your loss is a process that will take time. While there is no way to predict just how long your grief may last, a therapist can help. They will be there to offer an empathic ear, give guidance, and help you make meaning of your loss so that it becomes a part of you that allows you to grow stronger.
But Maybe You’re Not Sure If Grief Counseling Is Right For You…
Will I ever get over this overwhelming sense of loss?
As they say, time heals all wounds. However, grief is unique to every individual and its duration will vary from person to person. The journey can be an emotional roller coaster with unpredictable peaks and valleys. Grief counseling is a safe space where you can process your grief with a therapist who offers nonjudgmental support. They can help you accept what has happened so you can begin to move forward. We also provide Christian grief counseling if that resonates with you.
I’m afraid that being vulnerable in bereavement counseling will make it hard for me to be strong.
You may worry that the moment you take off your emotional armor in grief counseling and get vulnerable, you will collapse. But the truth is, you can be vulnerable in your grief while remaining strong. Expressing your emotions isn’t a sign of weakness. Rather, it demonstrates your capacity for love and connection. Getting in touch with how you feel in grief counseling can help you model healthy emotional expression for your children, family, and friends. Once you lose the pretense of putting on a brave front for the sake of others, you can start to heal.
Does moving on with my life mean that I am forgetting about my loved one?
We are never the same after experiencing a significant loss. We cannot ignore it, nor should we pretend we are fine and try to move on without processing our grief. Pushing aside our feelings only delaysour feelings only delays the inevitable emotional reckoning and can lead to long-term depression. But with the support of a grief counselor, you can learn how to accept the way that loss redefines and changes us.
Bereavement Is A Difficult Time But We Are Here To Support You
Allow us to help carry the weight of grief along with you. If you would like to find out more about in-person or online grief therapy with Ammirati Counseling Center, you may visit our contact page or call 847-217-9381 to schedule a free 15-minute call to get more information.
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