Many people believe that they must be happy all the time. All their material needs are taken care of, so they should be happy.
Of course, that’s not how life works. While the physical dimension is important, there is an emotional and spiritual one.
And that’s where grief comes in. It sprouts whenever you lose someone (or something) truly valuable to you. Usually, it’s a person. But grief could also sprout after losing a job/career, dream, or home.
In this post, let’s look at some signs you are grieving and what they mean.
While grief is an emotional process, it can lead to physical symptoms, particularly digestive discomfort. When you feel stressed, it changes your body’s biochemistry. This process then affects your organs, particularly your gut, which is directly linked to the brain: many people going through grief experience bloating, cramps, gas, diarrhea, and many other symptoms.
A Sense Of Numbness
When something really bad happens, it can come with a sense of numbness. Essentially, your brain shuts down, preventing you from experiencing unpleasant emotions.
Of course, numbness is often only the first step. Over time, your mind will start to adjust to the new circumstances, and you will come to accept them fully.
Preoccupation With Loss
Funeral or memorial services, cremation urns, and grave markers are an aspect of the death of a loved one that the family left behind needs to address in honoring their loved one. But becoming preoccupied with grief in the years that follow the death of a loved one is a hurdle that so many people with, and sometimes for many, many years.
Even in the early months after a loss, it is a helpful approach to process your grief externally with the support of others.
Inability To Experience Pleasure
When you experience grief, it can be challenging to feel or experience pleasure in a normal way. Things you loved in the past no longer feel good to you.
Psychiatrists call this condition anhedonia, which means “an inability to experience a pleasure.”
See a specialist if you can’t enjoy the usual things in your life, such as food or exercise. They can help you process the emotions that are blocking your positive experiences.
Grief often comes with bitterness or the sense that the universe isn’t playing fair.
The problem with bitterness is that it eats away at gratitude. Being angry and hostile to the world around you moves you farther away from joy and well-being.
Constantly thinking about your loss and the emotional rollercoaster that comes with it can cause headaches, too. Too often, following a devastating loss, self-care often takes a backseat. As a result, eating and drinking patterns may change, and self-care behaviors are no longer a priority. Therefore, physical symptoms, such as headaches or migraines, may become an issue.
Anger And Rage
Lastly, people who experience grief are at a much higher risk of anger and rage. Many people who experience the death of a loved one, whether it was a loving relationship or not, may ask, “Why?”
These types of emotions are perfectly natural. You may find yourself feeling irritated at the slightest things, many of which would never have affected you before.
Symptoms like those shared in this post can last for several months. What is important for all grievers to know is that these are normal and natural responses. And it’s also normal and natural for grievers to experience symptoms like these for months. All grievers can ask themselves if these symptoms are prolonged due to avoiding feeling the depth of the emotions that grief entails. Because so often, we will fall into the trap of avoidance behaviors in an attempt to not fully experience one’s emotions. These behaviors often only add shame and guilt to the emotional mix.
To move forward after a loss, it’s important to take an inventory of what is emotionally incomplete, then take action to address those emotions in a supported way. If you are grieving and are ready to take that inventory, I can support you through the process of an evidence-based framework in a guided and supported way through my one-on-one or group programs.