Everyone copes with losing a loved one differently. For some, the shock doesn’t hit until much later, while for others, the impact has immediate repercussions. The loss of a loved one can have a profound effect on your mental health, so it’s crucial to keep a handle on it so that things don’t get out of control. Because it’s such a personal thing, there are no hard and fast rules and no magic wand to make things better again. There are, however, many things that can help to make the aftermath a little easier.
Let it all out
If your loved one was ill before they passed, you probably spend a lot of time suppressing your emotions and holding it together. Not only because you knew you couldn’t show them how upset you were but because you knew that once you started, you might not to able to stop.
It’s important to understand that it’s OK to cry, and it’s ok to express what you are feeling. Holding it in will only delay the grieving process, so when the time is right, and you feel ready, let all the pain, hurt, anger, and frustration out. It can be very therapeutic, and it may help you come to terms with your loss.
Talk about it
For some, talking about how you feel doesn’t come easily, but if you are finding things hard, it may be one of the best remedies. Whether it be a member of the family or a close friend, confiding in someone and just knowing that someone is listening and cares about you can make a tremendous difference to your mental health.
If your loved one was very ill before they passed, you could be suffering from emotional trauma, which can be debilitating. If you feel this is the case, then it may be worthwhile looking into some form of trauma therapy. It can help you to process and come to terms with what you witnessed and help you to create a new normality. It may not come as second nature to you to talk about things, but it could be what you need.
Take time off
Most employers have guidelines in terms of days that can be taken in the event of a bereavement of a close family member. Timescales will usually depend on your relationship to the deceased, e.g., daughter, partner or sibling, etc. If you feel that the timescales are not sufficient and you will struggle to go back to work, talk to them, and find out how much leeway there is. It may be that they are happy to extend the term with full pay, or you may be able to negotiate a period of unpaid leave.
If your employers are not particularly sympathetic to the situation, it may be worthwhile visiting your doctor and asking them to sign you off. This will allow you time to grieve without the added worry of going back to work.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg.