You’re stuck in grief, loneliness, anger, and despair. Talking with friends and family is exhausting. You feel horrible. You can’t remember the last time you had a good night’s sleep.

Some days you overeat, or have an extra glass of wine or two, or sleep too much to avoid the suffering you’re going through.

You’re so tired. You don’t know how to move past this. You don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing. Some days you wake up and don’t want to go on.

You know you need some help, but you don’t know where to turn or who you can trust.

What is Grief?

We grieve when we lose someone or something we love. It’s a normal reaction that people experience differently. Feelings of deep sadness and sorrow are common.

The truth is that there’s no such thing as closure. There’s no need for detachment.

You don’t want closure on those relationships, with those people or places or lives that have meant a great deal to you. They’ve become part of what has brought you great joy.

We want to remember who and what we have loved.

However, for some people, the powerful waves of emotions can feel overwhelming. When that happens, help from a trained professional such as a psychotherapist who’s trained in grief counseling in Santa Fe is a wise choice.

Dr. Melanie Harth, the Santa Fe therapist

Different Kinds of Loss

There are so many ways your heart can get broken. The grief of losing a person you love is something that most people understand.

Other times, though, the loss can be more subtle. It’s called ambiguous loss, which is “an unclear loss,” according to Dr. Pauline Boss, the psychologist, and researcher who’s written two books after developing the theory.

Experiencing ambiguous loss is poignant and personal for me. Many years ago, my son was diagnosed with a severe, chronic mental illness. He suffers from a hidden disability. His intelligence, humor, and musical gifts mask his underlying struggles. He looks “normal.” But parenting was anything but normal.

He, of course, has experienced many losses throughout his lifetime. As a mother, I experienced the loss of my ideas and dreams and fantasies about what being a mom was supposed to be about.

The truth is that I didn’t know that what I was feeling was grief over the loss of so much, which Dr. Boss says isn’t unusual. Many of us don’t understand that we’ve experienced significant loss and need to grieve them to move forward. In my case, doing the deep work of grieving allowed me to be the parent my son needed, which helped me find satisfaction and fulfillment.

Other examples of ambiguous loss include your sense of identity, which can happen with retirement or becoming a widow.

Many people are grappling with sadness and loss at the current political situation, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, or are experiencing grief at the climate crisis.

Our grief and sadness from loss can is compounded if the people around us don’t understand or agree with what we’ve lost.

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How Does Grief Make You Feel?

One of the paradoxes of grief is that, even though everyone experiences grief and loss, we don’t like how it feels.

It can be earth-shattering, life-altering, cataclysmically horrific. Who wants to feel these feels? Who would know how to carry such a weight?! Especially if you’ve been trying to hold too much sadness for too long.

Here are some of the things you may be feeling or experiencing after a loss.

  • hopeless
  • helpless
  • detached
  • as though everything in your world has flattened out
  • things don’t matter the way they used to
  • fatigue or exhaustion
  • agitation or restlessness or anxiety or impatience and/or quick to get angry
  • fuzzy brain or foggy thinking
  • terrible sleep — not enough or too much; never feeling rested
  • it’s hard to focus on anything for very long
  • eating more or less than you used to
  • it’s difficult (or impossible) to sit through a sitcom or read a book or enjoy a meal or spend an hour with a friend the way you used to
  • crying
  • working more, cleaning more, and/or trying to manage or control things or events or people in your life
  • not feeling comfortable in your skin
  • feeling numb, as if there’s a fog bank between you and the rest of the world; eating too many carbs; drinking more alcohol or smoking weed or using edibles
  • swirling thoughts that keep you stuck in dark, lonely, isolated places in your mind
  • sadness, emotional/mental/spiritual pain, suffering

Some Grief Can Become Traumatic

Even though it’s common to talk about grief and loss for some people, it’s also the case that you may not know that what you’re feeling is grief. Grief then can become frozen.

That means that your pain and suffering become chronic, often overshadowing everything else in your life.

Your life can become frozen in unprocessed, unresolved pain and suffering. You’re then just going through the motions, desperate to look like you’re OK when you’re feeling lost and hopeless and helpless on the inside. You can feel stuck, overwhelmed, worthless, hopeless, powerless, full of self-loathing or self-hatred, anxious, and confused about what’s happening.

Remember, grief is a normal response to losing someone or something you’ve loved. But when grief begins taking over your life, you need professional help from a seasoned psychotherapist who can help you recover your sense of balance and create more space to live with peace and joy.

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Grief Counseling in Santa Fe

Sadness and loss are part of being alive. And grieving our losses is part of what it means to live a rich, full life. If you’re stuck in the past and can’t seem to move forward on your own, or living with ambiguous loss, please reach out to schedule a free, 15-minute phone consultation: melanie@melanieharth.com.

I’m Melanie, the Santa Fe Therapist. My compassionate, creative approach to grief counseling in Santa Fe weaves together my ability to hear below the surface of the words, advanced degrees, years of specialized training, professional experience, and personal experiences healing from loss.

Clients usually work with me once a week for an average of eight months. As we work together, you’ll be getting tools for long-term success, and learning and using strategies and techniques that will serve you for many years.

My hope for you as we work together is that you’ll feel safe every step of the way.

Please know that I welcome ongoing conversations about making therapy the best experience it can be for you.

You don’t have to suffer alone anymore. Please, send me an email, and let’s schedule a free, 15-minute phone consultation: melanie@melanieharth.com, for grief counseling in Santa Fe.