Bereavement affects each of us differently, and there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. It’s possible that you’ll experience a range of emotions when you lose someone you love, whether it’s a partner, a family member, a colleague or a friend. As you come to terms with the loss and adjust to life without that special person, you’ll likely experience both mental and physical symptoms. It can help to get bereavement support during this difficult time, to provide guidance, offer advice or even just listen to how you’re feeling.
Different Types of Grief
You have heard of the stages of grief, which are a myriad of feelings that usually arise when dealing with a loss. However, there are also different types of grief.
Anticipatory grief is the sense of loss you feel when you’re expecting the death of someone in your life. This can trigger or cause depression, intense sadness and concern for the person you’re losing.
Secondary loss is a form of grief which comes after the initial shock of losing a loved one. It can present itself in many forms and is a sign that you might be struggling to adapt to a future without that person in your life.
Common Problems and How to Cope
There are many feelings and emotions you may be faced with as a result of bereavement. Sadness and depression are some of the most common and may lead you to isolate yourself and/or dwell in the past, at a time when your loved one was present in your life. You may also find yourself in shock or disbelief, struggling to accept what has happened, this can be especially common in sudden bereavement. Intense emotions such as these can cause problems with your sleep patterns and appetite, and even lead to health problems.
Bereavement often leads to confusion and panic, leaving you wondering how you’ll cope with your new life. You might feel angry or frustrated, which can result in blaming someone or something for the loss. Or you might experience overwhelm. Grief can lead to a lot of very powerful feelings and they can be difficult to cope with, particularly if you’re dealing with several feelings at once. Over time, however, you will find ways to cope and adjust. The amount of time it takes to reach this stage varies for everyone but the process can be helped along with proper bereavement support.
Ignoring your feelings, or waiting for them to pass, might be tempting after the loss of a loved one. You may even want to retreat or hide away from your day-to-day responsibilities. Yet, it can really help to talk to someone about what you’re going through, whether that’s a friend, a doctor or a counsellor. There are many resources available for people coping with a bereavement and support is there to help you come to terms with your loss.
Bereavement Support Service in the UK
If you’re struggling to cope with the loss of someone close to you, it can help to talk to a professional. These are some helpful resources that you can turn to if you’re in need of bereavement support:
Mind is a mental health organisation that offers helplines and face-to-face services.
Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm)
At A Loss
At a Loss is one of the UK’s leading sites for the bereaved seeking support. They can help you find services and counselling for bereavement.
Bereaved Through Alcohol and Drugs (BEAD) provide information, advice and support for those bereaved through drug or alcohol use.
Child Bereavement UK
If you’ve lost a baby or a child, or if a child is facing bereavement, Child Bereavement UK is a resource that can provide guidance or support following the loss of a child, or for a child dealing with bereavement.
Phone: 0800 028 8840
Cruse Bereavement Care
Cruse Bereavement Care provides information and advice following a bereavement.
Phone: 0808 808 1677
Finding a Bereavement Counsellor
There are several hospices, such as Marie Curie, that also offer bereavement services for families of people who have received hospice care. If you’re employed, you may also want to check if your employer has an assistance programme, as this may entitle you to some free counselling sessions.
There is also the option to speak to a counsellor privately, which can be the fastest way to receive bereavement support, although you will have to pay for sessions yourself. You can search for a registered counsellor near to you by searching the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy directory. Similarly, your GP can provide you with the contact details of local therapists you can speak to, perhaps with a focus on those who specialise in grief counselling.