Mourning

All of us, at some point in our lives, may be faced with a difficult situation that cannot be reversed throughout our lives, such as being separated from some of the things that are valuable and important to us. This can happen in various ways at any stage of our lives. I say “fall apart” because I think the word “lost” has a negative energy. Things/people who were once in our lives but are somehow no longer add a lot of good things to us during the time we spend together. We have a lot of memories with them and we learn a lot from them. The fact that they are no longer in our lives should not mean that we have lost something.

We may lose our independence, end a relationship, experience permanent or temporary health problems, quit our job, and experience economic difficulties. In addition, our beloved pet or a person we love very much may die. If we pay attention, in every situation I have mentioned, there is a separation from something/person. The grieving process is also a natural situation experienced after each separation, and each person experiences this process in their own unique way. So there is no typical grieving process. There is no such thing as a right or wrong reaction in this process. While some of us may accept the situation calmly, some of us may react so violently that we have a nervous breakdown.

The things that cause us to go through the grieving process cause significant changes in our lives and require us to develop new adaptation skills. Therefore, it is a stressful and tiring period. It is never unhealthy. On the contrary, it is healthy and should be lived.

There are many factors that affect the grieving process. The meaning of the deceased to us, whether he died as a result of a long illness or suddenly, our ability to cope with difficulties, our relationships with our relatives, our individual characteristics are the determinants of how this process will go. Cultural features are also very important. For example, in our culture, mawlids are held when a family member or loved one dies, the close circle gathers and does not leave the people in the funeral home alone, good memories are shared about the deceased, if any, and feelings are shared. These kinds of things help the grieving process to be experienced in a better way. It is supportive for us.

When we enter the grieving process, we give physical, cognitive, behavioral and emotional reactions.

  • Our physical reactions: Feeling of emptiness in the stomach, difficulty in breathing / feeling of suffocation, perceiving sounds more disturbing than they are, depersonalization (self-alienation: feeling unreal, feeling like in a dream, etc.), muscle weakness, change in appetite (everything else). the desire to eat more or less than usual), constipation-diarrhea, palpitation, menstrual irregularity, low energy, dry mouth, headache, difficulty in swallowing, knots in the throat, weakness, fatigue.

  • Our cognitive (thought) reactions are: shock and denial, constantly thinking about death and the deceased, self-blame, regret, difficulty in remembering, inability to concentrate, remembering the witnessed death over and over again.

  • Behavioral reactions: Difficulty in falling asleep or waking up early and not being able to fall asleep again, having nightmares, fear of not being able to wake up, absent-mindedness, alienation from social environments, loss of interest in the outside world, hyperactivity, frequent cemetery visits or vice versa, never going to the cemetery, the deceased mingling with the belongings of the person, praying for the deceased, doing charity work on his behalf, turning to alcohol-substance use, changes in sexual life and crying.

  • Our emotional reactions are: shock, sadness, anger, feeling of guilt, feeling of loneliness, anxiety (anxiety/anxiety), hopelessness, pessimism, insecurity, fear of death-going crazy, relaxation. Sometimes, when death occurs after long periods of illness, the person experiences a feeling of relief. This feeling of relaxation can also create a feeling of guilt in the person.

4 BASIC PHASE OF LEARNING

  1. Stage “SHOCK”: We are stunned by the death of a loved one. This information seems unreal to us. We may feel confused, unresponsive, empty, and unreal. Sometimes we may experience memory problems and show some of the bodily responses.

  2. Stage “anger and denial”: Our pain gradually increases. Our sadness intensifies, the more we look for the deceased. There is frequent crying. We do not want to accept the truth, we find it difficult to accept it, and as a result, we feel intense anger. We are restless, reluctant to life, and have difficulty concentrating. We question the concepts of life and death.

  3. Stage “DEPRESSION”: We realize that what has happened is irreversible, and this causes us to feel hopeless and helpless. There may be fatigue and reluctance.

  4. Stage “ACCEPT”: We now accept reality. Our feelings of hopelessness and helplessness begin to subside. We remember good memories with the deceased. We begin again to make new plans for the future. We return to our pre-death state.

When Does Mourning Begin?

The onset of the grieving process varies from person to person. In addition, it may vary depending on whether the death occurs suddenly, unexpectedly, or after a long-standing fatal illness. Sometimes it can start as soon as it is understood that the person will die.
 

What is Pathological/ Traumatic Grief?

In pathological/traumatic grief, the natural grieving process is delayed. While mild depression is a natural part of the grieving process, severe depression develops in pathological grief. The person may engage in self-harming behavior or attempt suicide. Intense anger, hostile behavior, emotional dullness, deterioration in social relations can be seen.

It is expected that the symptoms seen in the healthy grief process will regress and disappear after 1 year. If the desire to mourn and not to enjoy life persists for more than 1 year, if the death of the loved one is still not accepted and if the person is treated as if they are not dead, if there is a permanent decline in the quality of life, work and social life of the person, it is absolutely necessary to seek help from a specialist.

As stated at the beginning of the article, the mourning process does not begin only after the death of a loved one. It is also possible to grieve after other “separation” situations. When this process becomes pathological, it is necessary to seek help from a specialist.

 

What Can I Do For Myself?

  • First of all, take care to meet your basic needs such as nutrition, cleaning, shelter, clothing.

  • If you are working, return to your business life, if you are continuing your education, return to your school life as soon as possible.

  • Learn about the grieving process.

  • You can keep a diary and write down your feelings and thoughts on paper.

  • You can read articles and books written by others on death and loss. It will be good to see that you are not alone and that many people like you are going through the same pain and sorrow.

  • Don’t be afraid to talk about your pain with people you love and feel understood. Share your feelings and thoughts with these people.

  • Join scheduled support groups about the grieving process.

  • Take care of your sleep pattern. If you find it very difficult to maintain order, seek help from an expert.

  • Seek help from a professional as soon as possible if the symptoms of the grieving process are lasting longer than expected, are severe, are overbearing, and are deeply affecting your daily life and relationships.

 

What kind of help can be obtained from a specialist?

Supportive Group Therapies

In group therapies, people who experience the same pain and problems come together in a safe environment and share their feelings and thoughts in the company of a specialist. The people who make up the group see that they are not alone, that many people like them are going through similar things and they support each other. Everyone can benefit from each other’s experience.

Individual Psychotherapy

Specialist trained in the field conducts individual psychotherapy sessions with the person who has difficulties in the grieving process. The client is given psychological and emotional support. Thus, it is aimed to complete the natural mourning process in a healthy way.

Medication

When necessary, drugs are used for treatment.

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