There are times in our lives when we can’t help but face the pain of circumstances life throws at our way. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship or any other disastrous encounter, any such heartbreaking encounter can leave us sad for days, even weeks. So, what is bereavement and what do you need to know about it? Let’s discuss down below.
What is Bereavement?
You can define bereavement as a period of sadness that we experience after a loss.
Grief is something every human goes through at one point or another in their lifetimes. Usually, bereavement is followed by an extremely traumatic event, such as the death of someone we hold dear. But we can fall in the pit of despair from anything with which we had an emotional attachment.
Bereavement is a normal reaction. It is usually followed by a bombardment of certain negative emotions. One may feel shocked, guilty, sad, regretful, angry, helpless and even depressed. As for how intense and long-lasting it is, it depends on several factors. It depends on your age at the time of loss, your connection to the person or thing, support systems and how well you manage the stress that comes after.
These feelings are usually intense in the initial days, but under normal circumstances, they subside as time passes. Time eventually heals these emotions and it’s not bad to feel guilty if you start to feel better early on. However, in some cases, your bereavement can be prolonged to months or even years. In such cases, it is not normal and this can take the form of complex bereavement disorder. Also known as complicated grief, It can become a troublesome condition and start interfering with your day to day life.
How to find a Bereavement Therapist
If you are looking to find the perfect Bereavement therapist it is crucial to make sure that they have the appropriate qualifications, knowledge and experience. At Expat Therapy 4U we only accept therapists who have full professional proficiency in English and are highly experienced in working with people from culturally diverse backgrounds. The clinicians we approve share our values and commitment to provide high quality therapy to the expatriate community in the private sector across Europe and online worldwide. We strongly believe that therapy changes lives, and being accredited ensures all our therapists are qualified to a high standard. You can find a Bereavement therapist who is insured to practice and accredited with a recognised membership body online here.
What are the signs of Complex Bereavement Disorder?
You can use the following symptoms to identify whether what you’re feeling is normal grief or something else. Someone undergoing this disorder will show the following behaviours.
- Indefinitely longing for the deceased/lost.
- Preoccupation with the deceased’s death.
- Intense sorrowful emotions that do not improve over time.
- Depression and prolonged sadness.
- Intense rumination even months after the loss took place.
- Problems accepting that death or loss actually happened.
- Feelings as if life is not worth living without your loved one.
- Intense feelings of emptiness and loneliness.
- A feeling of regret or self-hatred.
- Trouble trusting or caring for others.
- Avoiding things that remind you of the deceased person or being overly obsessed with the things that remind you of the deceased person.
- A desire to kill yourself so you can avoid the pain or join the deceased.
- Isolation and withdrawal from social and other areas of your life.
- Difficulty pursuing interests or things you once used to enjoy.
These symptoms are signs of normal grief too. But if they persist for longer than usual, they can become a trouble condition for the person undergoing bereavement.
What are the causes of Complex Bereavement Disorder?
As with many mental health disorders, this may involve a range of factors that can contribute to your prolonged sadness such as your environment, your personality and genetic makeup. But here are a few external factors that can trigger this disorder.
- An unexpected or violent death from an accident or suicide of a loved one.
- Death of a child or any other person you held very dear.
- Social isolation or loss of a support system from friends and family after the death of a loved one.
- Past history of mental illnesses such as Post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or anxiety.
- Other major stressors such as family or financial issues.
Treatment options for Complicated Grief
The following are some of the most suitable treatment options for complicated grief.
If you experience some or all of the symptoms described above, you can consult your doctor. Your doctor may recommend Bereavement counselling or therapy that involves sharing your grief and learning different strategies to cope with your prolonged sadness. With time and practice, this form of therapy can help you focus on building your relationships and reaching your personal goals.
Much of this process follows therapeutic interventions that are used for treating PTSD. Bereavement can worsen the symptoms of pre-existing depression. In such cases, your doctor may also consult you to seek a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists can prescribe antidepressants that can help calm your depression down. Often, therapy is the most effective approach. It won’t work instantly and lift you up, but it will help you slowly learn and improve your symptoms with coping mechanisms that you can use on your own.
Seeking professional help should be your first priority. After that, you can use some of the following preventive measures to help fasten up your process of improvement. Here are a few strategies that you can use.
Talking with your friends and family
Talk about your grief with people you love. Often people resort to isolation after undergoing a loss. It can worsen overthinking and thus you will feel more depressed from your bereavement. As painful as it may be, talking to others can help a great deal.
Some of these changes may seem simple but they can have big impacts.
- Pay attention to your sleeping routines. If you are experiencing insomnia, look for ways to help sleep better. Having good quality sleep can have a great impact on your overall mood.
- Do not resort to isolation and socialize as much as you can. Try hanging out with friends more often. It will help you take your mind off of things and sharing how you feel will help you feel better.
- Exercising is a great way to beat stress and lift your mood up. Doing regular exercise close to bedtime will not only improve sleep but also help you decrease depression.
- Avoid falling into drug habits. Do not smoke, drink or do any other form of drugs to cope with your emotions. This will only have more negative consequences down the road.
Give yourself time to grieve after a loss. It’s natural and subsides with time, but know when you’re going too far. Seek a therapist if your symptoms don’t seem to improve with time. Therapy will help you fight with your feelings better and get your life back on track after some time and effort.
Further Readings on Bereavement
About Expat Therapy 4U
Expat Therapy 4U is the result of 5 years’ experience running The International Psychology Clinic, the first private therapy service based in London specialized in multilingual and multicultural therapy.
The platform is run by Dr Martina Paglia. Dr Martina is a leading dual qualified Clinical and Counselling psychologist who helps patients by providing bespoke psychological services including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling and Psychotherapy in London and online worldwide.
Our network comprises highly qualified and experienced private therapists who have made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of expats worldwide. All members of our community are highly experienced working in cross-cultural environments.
We are passionate about delivering first-class patient-centred, safe and effective care. If you would like to work with a warm, inclusive, caring and professional English-speaking therapist in Europe or online worldwide you have come to the right place.
If you are looking for the perfect expat Therapist in Europe or online worldwide, our team is dedicated to help you find your best match. We offer a client guarantee where clients can re-book with a different therapist if they are not satisfied with their first therapy session.
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