Everyone deals with grief in different ways. For some people that might be away from others, for others it may be among the comfort of friends and family. For some it may take weeks, for others it may be months before they can achieve closure. But how do you know when you need help? How do you decide that your grief has reached beyond its boundaries and crossed over into affecting your life, long-term? Consider these ten signs that might indicate that you may need to seek help.
- Numbness to Emotion
Feeling sad, confused or even happy is entirely acceptable during periods of mourning, so if you are feeling entirely numb and unable to reach any of these emotions, there may be cause for alarm.
- Avoiding Time with Family and Friends
Sometimes we need to be alone to process our grief, but if this feeling persists and you find yourself avoiding spending time with your loved ones, consider why.
- Loss of Enjoyment
Your life does not stop in the face of grief. You are still you, you still have your interests and goals. If your grief is preventing you from pursuing activities that you enjoy or stopping you from reaching for new opportunities, you may just need help finding your way forward.
- Fear of Forming Relationships
Apprehension of new relationships due to the fear of loss is extremely common in cases of severe grieving, but of course this is something of which you should be wary. In order to move forward and continue to grow, we must forge new relationships.
- Busywork to Escape Feelings
While this is an extremely common way of dealing with loss, staying busy to avoid feeling sad is not a good long-term solution. Eventually, you will need to face your feelings and if you are unable to do so on your own, it may be wise to ask for a helping hand.
- Thoughts of Hurting Yourself
These types of feelings should never be ignored and must be addressed with a professional, or at the very least a trusted friend or family member who may be able to support you in getting help.
- Inability to Continue Normal Activities
If you are unable to eat, sleep or participate in work/school, this is a clear sign that you need a bit of help with coping.
- Sudden Changes in Behavior
As you experience grief, it is normal to have some changes in mood, but if you find that you are acting in ways that feel entirely unfamiliar, this may be cause for concern. Some things to look for: irrational anger, excessive drinking, drug use or destructive relationships.
We may sometimes find comfort in hearing or seeing our loved one after they have passed, but if you persist in seeing or hearing what is not there to others, consider looking deeper and finding out why it keeps occurring. Be especially wary if what you are seeing or hearing is angry or accusing.
- Inability to Move On
If you find yourself unable to move on from your loss months after it has occurred, you may just be a bit stuck. This is nothing of which to be ashamed, sometimes we all need a bit of help.
Remember, although it may make us feel vulnerable, there is nothing wrong with asking for help. In fact, even if you find that counseling is not necessary, support from family and friends is an essential component of dealing with grief. If you do feel that grief counseling would be beneficial, begin by talking to your primary health provider and take a look at these resources.