Death is all around us. In fact, it is increasing. Death rates in the US from 2009–2019 show the total number of deaths has been on the rise in the US. In fact, there are more deaths than births in the US.
Death can have a significant impact on our mental health. The grief, sadness, and loneliness that come with the loss of a loved one can be overwhelming and lead to feelings of depression and anxiety.
Additionally, the death of a loved one can also trigger memories of other losses we have experienced in our lives, which can further contribute to our distress.
It’s difficult to overcome death and resume living a happy and fulfilling life, but it is possible. Here are some tips on addressing the negative impact death has on your mental health.
You’ll feel hurt
It’s common to feel hurt after the death of a loved one. The sorrow and pain people feel from losing a loved one can hurt some people to the point they feel physical pain.
It’s crucial to acknowledge your feelings and give yourself time to grieve. It’s important to let yourself feel the pain and sadness that come with death.
Don’t try to bottle up your emotions or pretend they don’t exist. The more you bottle up or neglect your feelings, the worse the pain will be, and it could manifest itself in ugly ways, like getting easily irritated.
The death of a loved one can also isolate us from the rest of the world. We may feel like we are the only ones who have experienced this type of loss and that no one could possibly understand what we are going through. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
You don’t want to stay isolated, though. The more you distance yourself from others, the more likely you are to fall into a deep depression.
Talking to friends, family, or a therapist can help you work through your grief and begin to heal. It can help to share your memories and feelings about the person who died with someone who will understand and offer support.
May develop negative habits to cope
As a way to cope with the pain of death, some people develop negative habits such as turning to alcohol or drugs to numb their emotions. Others may withdraw from friends and family or stop participating in activities they once enjoyed.
These coping mechanisms can provide temporary relief, but they are not healthy in the long run. They can make the grieving process more difficult and lead to additional problems such as addiction or depression.
If you find yourself relying on these negative coping mechanisms, it’s important to seek help from a therapist or counsellor. They can assist you in finding healthy ways to cope with your grief and pain.
Lose patience with yourself and others
It’s easy to lose patience with ourselves and the people around us after the death of a loved one. We may find ourselves snapping at those we love or being unusually short-tempered.
You need to understand that this is normal and to try to be patient with yourself as you grieve. The people around you are likely to be understanding and patient as well, so try not to take your frustration out on them.
Healing from the loss of a loved one takes time. Don’t expect to feel better overnight. Allow yourself the time and space to grieve in your own way and at your own pace, but do your best not to lose your temper.
Might feel aimless
The death of a loved one can make us feel like we have lost our purpose in life. We may feel like we don’t know where to go from here.
For instance, losing a parent or grandparent whom you saw as a mentor can be hard to deal with. You may have always looked to them for guidance, and now you don’t know what to do.
It’s essential to find meaning and purpose after the death of a loved one. Consider ways you can honour their memory or make a difference in the world in their honour. You can also find purpose by spending time with family and friends, participating in activities you enjoy, or volunteering your time to a cause you care about.
Experiencing the death of a loved one can be one of the most difficult experiences we face in life. It can put a strain on our mental health and cause a wide range of emotions. We need to be patient with ourselves as we grieve and seek help if we are struggling to cope.
If you or someone you know is struggling with grief, there are resources available to help. Please reach out for support if you need it.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.