Different Types of Loss and Grief
There are so many different types of sadness and loss and grief, so many ways your heart can be broken. In fact, there are so many that I created a list of unusual ways you can lose something or someone that’s been an important part of your life.
- the loss of emotional safety, when we’ve felt or been threatened or harmed or neglected
- losing, or never having had a sense of meaning and purpose for your life can cause feelings of sadness & loss
- the impending loss of someone you love, often experienced by caregivers
- losing your beliefs about how the world is supposed to work, which can happen for parents of children with special needs or mental health diagnoses
- the loss of identity or your sense of self, which can happen with many life changes such as relationships, changing careers, parenting, moving, financial reversal, a chronic illness diagnosis, aging
Other types of loss include, of course, the death of someone close to you, a sudden, shocking reversal of any kind, or losing a beloved pet.
What to Say When Someone Loses a Loved One
When someone you know, like or love, and respect loses a loved one, it can feel uncomfortable to say something directly to them. You don’t want to add to their pain and sorrow, but you want them to know you care.
Too often, the person who’s grieving and dealing with a profound loss ends up having to take time and energy to comfort other people. Nobody wants that.
And immediately after a loss is not the time to start problem solving. Grief isn’t a problem to be solved, but rather, a loss to be lived through. Community can be incredibly healing, as long as what’s offered actually helps the grieving person.
Here are a few things that can help you express what you want to say, and not offend or hurt the other person. There’s no such thing as perfect. It can be uncomfortable. That’s OK. Reach out to your person with your open heart; they’ll feel that.
Making space for them to feel whatever they’re feeling, asking them what they need, and offering to do specific supportive things are all ways you can help support your person.
- You and yours are in my heart.
- I don’t have any words, but please know that I’m with you in spirit, and holding you in my thoughts and prayers.
- Oh, I remember when s/he did or said _______ . Memories of shared pleasant experiences can bring a moment of lightness and joy.
- Please know I’m thinking of you, sending you (strength or love or light … whatever will be most comforting to the one who’s grieving).
- I’ve got your back; I’m here for you.
What Not to Say When Someone Loses a Loved One
Ugh. You don’t want to make anything worse for your person, for sure. The following list are things that may not be helpful for someone who’s dealing with sadness and loss.
- Everything happens for a reason.
- Calm down.
- Stop crying.
- Be brave.
- Keep busy.
- This too shall pass.
- Why are you angry?!
Signs of Complicated Grief
There are several types of grief. But one type that’s being talked about these days is called complicated grief.
Complicated grief is
a recently recognized condition that occurs in about 7% of bereaved people. People with this condition are caught up in rumination about the circumstances of the death, worry about its consequences, or excessive avoidance of reminders of the loss. Unable to comprehend the finality and consequences of the loss, they resort to excessive avoidance of reminders of the loss as they are tossed helplessly on waves of intense emotion. People with complicated grief need help … .
So, something interferes with the healing process for some people. When that happens, it’s called complicated grief. Everyone grieves when they’ve lost someone or something they love. And most people are eventually able to move forward with their lives after a loss.
But for those few people who can’t seem to move on, it can result in a great deal of suffering.
Symptoms of acute grief include intense yearning or longing for the person who died, intrusive or preoccupying thoughts or images of the deceased person, a sense of loss of meaning or purpose in a life without the deceased, and a cluster of other symptoms that interfere with activities or relationships with significant others.
Complicating thoughts include incessant questioning, worrying, or ruminating over some aspect of the circumstances or consequences of the loss. Rather than reflecting upon the reality and implications of the death, a person with CG may be caught up in counterfactual thinking, reviewing and perseverating on the “if only”s. A person with CG may be catastrophizing about the future or worrying incessantly about a range of bad things that may happen because his or her loved one is gone. ibid
If you or someone you know is experiencing this type of grief, it’s a good idea to reach out to a therapist or counselor for help.
How to Overcome Emotional Sadness
First, and most important, however you’re feeling is OK. It’s appropriate and healthy to feel emotional sadness when you’ve lost someone or something that matters to you.
Most of us aren’t taught that feeling what you’re feeling is OK. Your feelings can be sending you important messages about what’s going on in your world.
So how you’re feeling is how you’re feeling, and that’s OK.
Sadness and loss are a part of being alive. Sometimes, though, you can get stuck in too much sadness for too long. Too much grieving and deep sorrow that you can’t seem to climb out of can become traumatic, and begin resulting in mental and physical health issues that can compromise your wellbeing. This is called traumatic grief, and needs professional help with a well-trained therapist or counselor.
Sadness and Loss and Grief Counseling in Santa Fe, NM
Sadness and loss are part of being alive. And grieving our losses is part of what it means to live a rich, full life. But if you’re stuck in the past and can’t seem to move forward on your own, please reach out to schedule a free, 15-minute phone consultation: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m Melanie, the Santa Fe Therapist. My compassionate, creative approach to grief counseling in Santa Fe, NM weaves together my advanced degrees, years of specialized training, professional experience, and personal experiences healing from loss.
Clients usually work with me once a week for 8-12 months. As we work together, you’ll process your sadness and loss in an emotionally safe space, and begin learning how to step into the world again, on your terms.
Please know that I welcome ongoing conversations about making therapy the best experience it can be for you.
The Santa Fe Therapist Offers Online Counseling in Santa Fe, NM
Online therapy helps women who are struggling with grief and loss find the time away from day-to-day pressures to calm their nervous systems. It also makes it easy and convenient to process emotions and learn new neuroscience techniques cope with challenges, heal the past, and begin building your future.
I strongly believe in the power of online counseling. Along with the research that proves its effectiveness, I see the positive benefits for clients every week. Click here if you’ve got questions about online therapy.
Online counseling from anywhere in New Mexico, including Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Taos, Los Alamos, Pecos, Las Vegas, Tesuque and El Dorado.
How to Get Grief Counseling Help in Santa Fe, NM
You don’t have to suffer alone anymore. Please, send me an email, and let’s schedule a free, 15-minute phone consultation: email@example.com, for grief counseling in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and throughout New Mexico.
Other Services From The Santa Fe Therapist
The Santa Fe Therapist specializes in several areas of health, wellbeing, healing and recovery. We know that one size never fits all. Our services are individualized to each client, and are based on your values, your needs and desires, and your goals.
We offer individual adult counseling and guidance in Santa Fe NM for: