How do you know when you need help with grieving? Grieving a loved one is normal, but there is a point where the grief can overwhelm you and make daily life challenging long term. How do you determine that your grief is not subsiding enough? Ask yourself these 11 questions that might indicate you may need to seek help for your grief.
Are you feeling numb inside?
Feeling sad, confused or even happy (due to good memories) 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.
Are you 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.
Has all enjoyment left your life?
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 need help finding your way forward.
Do you have a 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 you should be wary of. In order to move forward and continue to grow, we must forge new relationships.
Are you keeping busier to escape your 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.
Do you have 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.
Are normal activities a challenge?
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. Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep is normal during grieving, especially if you lost a spouse, but this needs addressing because sleep is vital for health, both mental and physical.
Are you experiencing 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.
Are you experiencing hallucinations or hearing voices?
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, consider looking deeper and finding out why it keeps occurring. Be especially wary if what you are seeing or hearing is angry or accusing.
Did you have a complicated relationship with the family member who passed?
Life is messy, and we don’t always get along with our loved ones due to differences in beliefs, life choices or spouses, despite our best efforts. When you lose someone who you were close to but were on poor terms with, it can be very hard to grieve and deal with your regret at the same time. In these situations, you may need help.
Asking for help is OK
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.
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