Grief is a natural response to the loss of someone or something important in your life. It is a personal experience–depending on who you are and the nature of our loss, your grieving process may be much different than that of someone else. There is no “normal and expected” period of time for grieving.
You may experience a wide range of feelings and symptoms during the grieving process. And although grieving is not simply sadness or depression, you may become depressed or overly anxious during this time. Feelings associated with grief include:
The stress of grief can take a physical toll on your body. Sleeplessness and a weakened immune system are common.
Finding Support During the Grieving Process
Support is critical as you grieve. That support can come in many forms, including from friends and family, by participating in activities you enjoy, or through exercises that help you express your feelings.
If you are finding it difficult to function, contact your doctor or another health care professional. Ongoing treatment and counseling may help your recovery.
Managing Your Grief
Everyone’s grieving process is unique. Sometimes after a loss it is difficult to figure out exactly what you are feeling. You may be experiencing conflicting feelings or several feelings at the same time.
Write down your thoughts: Taking time to write is a good way to start identifying your feelings. Writing can stimulate thinking, help you organize your thoughts, and prompt you to reflect on what is happening. When you are ready, set aside time to write in a private, comfortable place. Don’t worry about how well you write. Don’t screen your thoughts. Give yourself permission to write whatever comes to mind.
Talk to others: Many people find it helpful to talk to others. Try to resist the urge to be quiet or avoid people. If you are having trouble discussing your feelings with family members, consider joining a bereavement support group.
Be kind to yourself: Your feelings may be unpredictable and uncomfortable. Remind yourself that this is expected.
Express your emotions: You may feel expressing yourself is a sign of weakness, but this isn’t true. If you are afraid you might harm yourself or someone else by expressing your emotions, talk with a health care professional immediately. resolve Crisis Services include phone, mobile, and walk-in crisis services that are available 24/7/365 to residents of all ages in Allegheny County. Services at resolve are available regardless of your availability to pay. All you have to do is pick up the phone and call 1-888-796-8226. resolve Crisis Services will answer.
Responding to Children During Tragedy
During difficult times, reassure your child that you are there for them and will do whatever you can to protect them. Some additional steps to consider:
Maintain your daily family routines: Particularly for young children, familiar routines are a source of comfort.
Talk about it: Let your child know that their feelings are normal and to be expected.
Listen to your child: Ask how he or she feels. Talk to them about what worries them or scares them. Where possible, reassure your child of your family’s safety.
Limit and monitor TV time: Find other activities to enjoy when the television is a source of anxiety. Try reading, going for a walk, or playing a board game instead.
All of us at UPMC are saddened by the senseless tragedy that occurred on October 27, 2018. For the family, friends and community members affected by this incident in any way, resolve Crisis Services can help. UPMC employees can reach licensed counselors at UPMC Health Plan’s Life Solutions program by visiting the website. You don’t have to go through this alone.