The Death Grip of Grief: Learn How to Break Free


The Death Grip of Grief: Learn How to Break Free
By Bettie Williams – Student Internship
Edited By: Dr. L.A. Barlow, LLP, LPC, RAC

We all experience loss at some point in our life, therefore we will travel down the dark road of grief. Most of us encounter grief at an early age by losing a grandparent, aunt, uncle, a close relative or even a pet. We learn early death is a part of the cycle of life. Some of us learn to tuck away our feelings and after a few months, afterward, we continue to move forward in life. But what happens when death hits you so hard it is impossible to move forward in a healthy way? What happens when the death of loved ones hits you back to back; you didn’t have time to recuperate from your first loss and now you are hit with deaths grip again? What happens when the loss of a loved one is so very unexpected with no time to prepare and you didn’t even get an opportunity to say goodbye? What happens when it is a child or tragedy strikes, how do you adjust back to a normal life? You may question what is a normal life? The vast majority of people will experience crippling grief from losing a loved that is close to our heart including our beloved family pets. Pets are now more than ever considered an intricate part of our family and we need to allow room for grieving our beloved pets.

Society is not always set up to allow individuals to grieve properly. Most jobs offer some type of personal time off for bereavement, only in the case of a close relative. Employers will usually offer 3 to 5 days off, send a condolence card, flowers and it is expected that the employee returns to work like nothing happened. Proper grief is very important for healthy healing, as well as functioning. Grieving is natural and is our internal God given mechanism for healing and so often this important aspect of grief is cut short. Usually, life circumstances require our full attention towards work, family, school and other pressing endeavors in which we may be involved. But when we don’t take the proper time to grieve our losses we suffer internally. Often we are not aware of the physical and/or psychological toll or havoc it is reaping on our lives.
There are signs that unresolved grief is taking a toll on your health. Changes in behavior is a good indicator grief is lurking around, you may have symptoms such as withdrawal from social gatherings, talking too much or not talking at all, insomnia, excessive drinking, irritability, anger, excessive crying, depression, bitterness, weight loss or gain, work related problems, mood swings, loss of sexual drive and many more debilitating symptoms, etc. It is so important to live again and to learn how to process grief properly, in order to live again. Grief counseling is an effective tool to assist in this process of unresolved grief. Each person is unique and grieves differently; no two individuals grieve the same including children. Children grieve also, which may manifest as acting out or misbehaving and might be mistaken for being rebellious.

You can also experience grief with other important losses which could be a divorce, loss of a job, a partner break up, crippling illnesses, financial distress, closure of your business, or becoming an empty nester. All these and more can cause grief which needs to be addressed and processed for your psychological well-being. It’s important we properly process our emotions so unprocessed grief will not manifest in our lives in an unhealthy manner.

A counselor can help the grieving individual including children to process their feelings and to feel whole again. If you feel you may need assistance to being whole again or have questions you can contact a grief specialist.

Bettie Williams believes treating the whole person is essential to healing. She incorporates the mind, body & spirit with clinical applications. She specializes in grief, trauma, and tragedy. She is completing her internship with Dr. Barlow, LLP, LPC, RAC at Healing Waters Grief Therapy located in Farmington Hills, MI at 248-438-8254.Ext. 104 or 248-721-2422.


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