26 Aug Dealing with Grief
As people age, certain life events happen that can really alter someone’s life: divorce or death of a loved one, loss of a job, new medical conditions, unexpected financial obligations, loss of independence, retirement, or aging in general. Events like this are more common the older we get. And when they happen, people often grieve.
Grieving is a normal, healthy part of life. However, if not dealt with properly, it can take a major toll on one’s physical and emotional health over time. Sometimes, it can even lead to depression.
Grieving is different for everyone, and often involves several different stages:
- Shock/ Disbelief
- Pain & Guilt
- Anger & Bargaining
- Depression, Reflection, and Loneliness
- Reconstruction and Working Through
Because everyone is different, some take longer to cope and go through the stages. As long as the grieving individual is progressing through the stages, they likely will be fine. Grieving is a process, not a one-time event. When a grieving person gets stuck and can’t progress, depression may need to be considered.
Some common signs and symptoms of someone experiencing grief may include:
- Increased anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Inability to focus
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of Motivation
- Lowered self esteem
- Feelings of isolation
- Random outbursts
How to Help Someone Experiencing Grief
Watching someone go through the stages of grief isn’t easy. You may feel the need to jump in and try to fix their situation, however, that isn’t exactly a proven method to aiding someone experiencing grief.
Sometimes it’s best to just lend a listening ear while they vent and be empathetic. Sometimes it’s best to give your loved one some time, and some space to properly grieve in his own way. Let them grieve at their own pace. And sometimes, they just need a little extra assistance with routine daily tasks. Dealing with grief can be very tiring and overwhelming so offer help making dinner, cleaning, repairing household items, or going grocery shopping. You can also help by encouraging participation in their favorite activities and hobbies.
Grief vs. Depression
While the signs and symptoms of grief look very similar to those of depression, they are indeed different. Grief is more temporary while depression is more long-term. In addition, grief is caused by a change of life’s events, whereas depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.
It’s normal for a person to feel sad after a major change in their life’s events. That is temporary. However, if your loved one doesn’t feel better after some time, or allows her emotions get in the way of life and has no desire to do activities she onece loved, or even mentions thoughts of suicide, she may be depressed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 7 million Americans ages 65 and older have depression, and white males over 85 have the highest suicide rate in the United States.
Treatment for someone grieving is different than those who are depressed. If you, or someone you love, are experiencing signs of depression, seek out professional medical help to get proper diagnosis and treatment.
You, or your loved one, are not alone when it comes to dealing with grief. Millions of people all over the world struggle with it. However, with the appropriate resources, hope and healing is available. Grief Support Groups and treatment centers are accessible all over for those needing help.