Nothing can impact the self at such a profound level as loss. Your heart may feel that it is broken, it can have a real physical ache to it. It can be the agony you feel inside yourself when you realise you have lost somebody or something you care about.
"There are as many nights as days , and the one is just as long as the other in the years course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word 'happy ' would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness" Carl Jung
Grief can shake everything up and throw us off balance, and fundamentally change the way we see the world and our world. The deeper the connection the more deeply we can feel the loss. It sucks!
Additionally, the consequences of the loss may well be accompanied by practical and financial problems.
The loss may remind you of other losses in your life and you can feel you are losing yourself as well as losing connection to somebody or something that is important to you.
The realisation that everyday life goes on when your own life feels ripped apart can provide a massive blow. Sometimes it can feel like your life is on pause.
There are many emotional reactions to loss, these can include:
numbness, shock and denial
yearning for the lost person
Protest: ‘it’s not fair, what’s the point?
emptiness, feelings of abandonment and rejection
depression, suicidal feelings
feelings of hopelessness and despair
feelings of regret
psychological pain which can feel like physical pain
Sometimes loss can trigger feelings around mortality and impermence. Facing mortality can help bring new perspectives to life. If life was permanent it would be possible to put everything off until tomorrow.
Those that were bereaved in childhood may find their grief is reactivated when experiencing loss in adulthood. Fear of loss is one of the earliest fears we know and loss in adulthood can retrigger feelings of rejection and abandonment. Working through grief after losing another, is about trying to accept what happened, learning to adjust to life without that person and about finding a place to keep their memory alive.
There has been a shift towards recognising that the psychological process of letting go of the person that has been lost is less helpful than remembering and embracing the value that we invested in the person that has died...
The aim of counselling is not too extinguish those bonds. For example where there has been a positive relationship then recalling important times and sharing memories, can be important. Counselling can help you face the pain of your loss, process overwhelming emotions, find the value in what you have lost. It can help you find new meaning in your own living.