G is for Grief – #AtoZChallenge2018
Grief is most commonly thought of as being associated with death but believe me when I tell you it applies to things outside of death. It can apply to nearly any life-altering event one might go through that leaves things dramatically changed in the wake of the change.
If you are diagnosed with a chronic medical condition that will permanently affect your normal way of life you could well experience the effects of grief. Even something as minor as a new allergy to a food you love could leave you missing life as it was before the serious allergy. I know that may sound overly dramatic, or even simplistic but it is both a legitimate example and one that may be more relatable for some as opposed to one with a physical disability. Maybe you grieve your old life before a major life change such as a geographic move, or even a divorce.
Grief can be as simple as occasionally missing something or someone or as complex as being a life-altering emotion that can grip most aspects or your life and even result in physical symptoms and ailments. This is not to say that the physical symptoms are purely psychological as the symptoms could be quite real. Rather it’s that the underlying mechanism triggering them may be the result of physical manifestations of the psychological emotion.
While grief comes in a variety of forms and severities, as well as causes, it can be a normal and at times even healthy experience. It is perfectly normal to grieve and each person may experience grief differently and for differing amounts of time. There are no definitive rules or timetables for most emotional responses, and this is true of grief as well.
Grief, unlike things such as depression, often cannot be cured, or even effectively managed with medication. Some would argue that depression can’t be effectively treated solely with medication and there are times that would be correct. Grief can, however, accompany depression after, for example, an injury that leaves you permanently physically disabled, or even the loss of a loved one.
The key to managing grief, like nearly any emotion, is to not simply ignore it. It will not simply go away by itself, nor will it likely even significantly improve without some way of addressing it and its underlying cause. There are many ways of addressing your grief and the way in which you address yours may be quite different than how somebody else in a similar situation has addressed their management of grief.
I’m not going to get into listing all the potential interventions for grief as that could turn into quite a long discussion, more so than I want to get into for this post. As a simple overview, you could do anything from simply practicing mindfulness or meditation, to a support group, or even seeking counsel from your primary care practitioner, or even referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Have you encountered grief in your life? If so what triggered it, and what did you do to manage it?