3 Ways to Cope With Grief And Loss When You Feel Hopeless

Grief can overwhelm us and a lot of the time we can feel as if we are not moving through it.  Feeling stuck, we can feel lost and unsure of what is happening to us and of what to do next.  Many people will come to me asking questions about how to keep moving forward.  I will answer a few of those questions directly in this post and give you three steps to be aware of as you move forward from here.  I will also provide you with a list of specific coping tools you can use along the way.  

How do people cope with loss?

It can be hard to find ways to cope with grief and loss.  One of the first steps is to understand that your thoughts and feelings are normal.  Grief is a messy process and we have to learn ways to embrace the messiness of it all if we are going to move through it. Many of my clients will struggle with their reactions to what happened (or is happening)  and think there is something wrong with them.  THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU.  You are acting the way someone acts through grief and loss.  For example, one of the stages of grief and loss includes anger.  This can be anger at ourselves or at others and usually appears through our practice of uncontrollable emotions and through the “blame game.”  We can stay stuck here without the awareness that this is part of grief.  The thought that we are flawed or that what happened was our fault (or all someone else’s) can create additional pain.  Whether you are blaming yourself or someone else doesn’t matter, do what you can to move out of this stage as quickly as possible, AND give yourself grace for the struggle. 

What are the symptoms of a grieving person?

The second step toward healing is to understand that recovery happens differently for all of us.  In other words, grief and loss is not a one size fits all experience.  Grief and loss impacts us all differently based on our life experience and on our own internal systems.  I have received calls asking if I provide traumatic grief therapy or complicated grief therapy and although the answer is yes to both of these questions, I understand the importance of meeting my clients where they are at in their own personal recovery.  Whether you have experienced a sudden loss or are dealing with pervasive loss I will meet you wherever you are.  

Symptoms you are grieving may include:

Irritability

Insomnia 

Self-blame

Denial

Anger

Anxiety

Depression

Fogginess

Self-doubt

Disconnection from self and others

Can grieving affect your mental and physical health?

The third step toward healing and awareness is to understand that grief and loss does not just impact our minds but rather our entire system.  Physical symptoms of grief may include hyper-arousal or hypo-arousal.  We can feel anxious, replaying events in our heads like a movie on repeat, and we may have a quick startle response.  Over time, this cortisol overload can lead to depletion of serotonin and other chemicals in our bodies that can cause us to feel depressed and exhausted.  Some people will report feeling numb, floaty, and “checked out.”  Grief and loss can impact us all differently and we have to have tolerance for these differences.  

Specific steps toward building your coping and healing include (but are not limited to) deep breathing, medication, mindfulness, journaling, being outdoors, and processing with others.  Ritual is a huge part of healing and I encourage you to find some of your own as you acknowledge and honor what (or who) you have lost.  For additional tips and strategies, or to book a consultation call about my therapeutic services,  please email me at kimjohancen@yahoo.com.  Healing is possible. 

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3333 S. Wadsworth Blvd.
Lakewood, CO 80227

12835 East Arapahoe Road
Tower One, Suite P-850
Centennial, CO. 80112

1754 North Lafayette Street
Denver, CO. 80218

kimjohancen@yahoo.com
(970) 946-8737

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