Losing a loved one can be a very difficult experience. In fact, for many people, when they lose a loved one, it can be one of the most difficult periods of their lives. Loss is never easy. In fact, 10-15 % of people who experience bereavement have a severe reaction to it. However, despite the fact that many people go through loss at one point or another, there are still a lot of misconceptions out there about grief and loss. Here are some of the top misconceptions about grief and loss.
#1: “Getting over it” is the Only Answer
When a person whom you are close with passes away, this can often create a very profound sense of absence and sadness in your life. If you simply try to rush to “get over it,” or avoid dealing with your grief, then you can face a difficult battle.
In fact, if you do not properly process your grief, you may end up creating a sense of denial or avoidance. Both of these are subpar coping mechanisms. Instead, you should give yourself time to heal and adjust to your new reality. Do not rush it, allow yourself to go through the stages of grief until you have fully adapted to the loss of the person.
#2: Grief Never Reappears After Enough Time Passes
This is simply not true. Grief can appear many months, or even years after a person passes away. A sensation of grief can come when something triggers a certain memory. For example, if your father died, and you used to go to baseball games with him a few times a year, then you may feel a sensation of grief when you go to a baseball game.
Don’t worry if this happens to you. It is normal. It just means that the person was important to you.
#3: Crying is Weakness
When a person passes away, the experience can be profoundly sad for their loved ones. So in many circumstances, crying is actually a very normal and proportional reaction to loss. Also, if you are crying, it means that you are likely processing the emotions that go along with grief. Dealing with the emotions directly in this way by feeling them can be much better than bottling up or repressing the emotions.
People who repress strong feelings of grief sometimes attempt to avoid feeling their feelings by doing unhealthy things like drinking too much. So, if you are crying after a major loss, it may actually be an indication that you are coping in a healthy manner.
#4: Women Grieve More than Men
Loss can impact men just as severely and just as painfully as it can for women. Men may hesitate to discuss their grief in some cases, or they may deal with it differently, but that does not mean that it isn’t impacting them just as much as it does for women. In fact, in some cases, a man may be even more impacted by grief than a woman is.
#5: Friends and Family are Always the Best Support
While friends and family can be essential providers of love and support throughout the grieving process, they are not always the only source of solace. In fact, for some families, it may be extremely difficult for member to discuss the loss with each other. This could be because it is too painful, or because people get angry with each other. Sometimes, the best person to help you with grief is actually a professional counselor, or someone else who is either professionally trained, or who is objective.
#6: The First Year of Grief is the Hardest
Unfortunately, the first year, or even the first month, is not always the most difficult for those who have lost a loved one. Yes, the first year can be extremely difficult. Oftentimes, people show a lot of compassion and support in the first year, which can help to ease the pain. However, during the second year, most of that support will have likely gone away, and this can make the reality of the loss more difficult to bear. For this reason, it is necessary that you look after yourself, and go to counseling if necessary. You can also look for support groups, or other ways to find support. For example, many people find comfort in religion.
#7: Medication is the Path Out of Grief
Some people falsely assume that the only way to adequately deal with grief is with medication. Grief is actually a natural process. This means that it is normal for people to go through a period of sadness when someone they care about dies. However, severe reactions to grief are more likely to occur to people with depression. In many cases, the best way to deal with grief is to actually allow yourself to feel the emotions that are associated with it. This can help you to process them, and to gradually make your way toward a place of increased stability.
A Broader Perspective
Everyone experiences grief at some point in their life, but we all experience it in different ways. There is no one size fits all experience for this difficult process in life. For some people, it may be very sharp and distinct for a short period of time, and for others, it may be a longer term but less intense feeling of pain and sadness.
If you are dealing with grief, then you should know that you are not alone, and that many people go through this process every single day. Loss is an unfortunate and difficult part or of the human condition. However, there are ways that you can get support for this difficult period of your life. Professional counseling is one of the best ways to do this. Support groups can also be very helpful. The support of your friends and family who may also be experiencing grief due to the loss of the person is also a great way to cope with grief.
However, you choose to cope with grief, hopefully, with time, you will be able to get through it in the best way possible. Knowing these seven misconceptions of grief can help you on your way.