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Grief, Death and Dying

Grief occurs with the loss of someone or something that you have a deep emotional attachment to - a heart connection.  It may be the death of a loved one such as a family member, spouse or friends and even our pets.  Certain situations such as job loss, relocation or having to give up on a sought after goal result in feelings of grief.  We also experience grief when we loose part of our identity. The loss may not always be dramatic or clearly apparent, but the sense of grief is.  Different than depression, grief and loss leaves us with an emptiness, a knowledge of impermanence, a realization of the inevitability of future loss and in particular feelings of emotional "unpreparedness".  The words, "nothing can prepare you for a loss" is often the only "education" we receive about how to handle these serious life events.  It is common to find yourself overwhelmed and feeling under supported.  

Emotional turmoil and cognitive changes are present.  Anger, sadness, tears, rage, gut wrenching emptiness are some of the emotions.  Confusion, obsessive thinking, rumination, dullness are some of the cognitive changes that occur.  Behavioral changes, impulsivity, immobility, insomnia, eating disturbances can be present.

Effective psychotherapy helps you first to understand the depth and meaning of what has occurred. It is not simply that a loved one dies and you feel empty, but what did they mean to you in life. What did they represent.  How were your lives intertwined?  As these are clarified you can more easily find ways to soothe a bruised heart.  Grieving is a painful though healthy process of letting go and of then refilling.  A psychologist can help guide you towards healing and away from frantically seeking out momentary though often unhealthy relief.  

       "It is only through our grief that we know the depths of our heart"  Rev. R. Katayama 

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