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Dealing with Loss.

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Loss is something that everyone struggles with at some point in their lives.

Often the word ‘loss’ applies to death/ dying.  Bereavement is of course a major loss, and the death of someone close can be incredibly painful.  It can leave a huge and devastating void that cannot be filled by another or by anything else.

Grief can also apply to someone that is dying.  Watching someone you love slowly die (for example through cancer) can be incredibly difficult. Whether someone dies slowly, quickly, or whether it is predicted, or a shock – it is very painful.

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There are however many other forms of loss in peoples lives.  Loss can apply to the loss of a relationship for example.  Often this can feel like bereavement, and people have to go through the stages of grief before they begin to recover after a relationship breaks down.  It could be divorce, or separation, or it could be a couple splitting up after a year.  Either way, it causes a lot of upset for people.

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Loss of relationships can also apply to friendships, or even work colleagues, or groups that people have once belonged to.  It can also include family relationships.  Siblings can for example, often fall out or stop talking, and this can be painful and upsetting. It can also be the same for people’s relationships with their parents.  Whatever the reason / cause for a split or fall out, loss is really hard to deal with.

Often people think that if they have made the choice to end a relationship, then they won’t feel so much pain.  But even when you make that choice, you can still feel grief, sadness, upset and often anger.  Losing someone, in any capacity, is overwhelmingly painful.

RBLOG3Beyond this, loss can come in other ways – for example people can be made redundant, or lose their job in another way.  House fires can destroy homes / belongings, or sometimes burglary/theft can mean that precious things are taken from someone.  All of these are other examples of loss.  Sometimes people can think that it is only a small thing to have a handbag stolen for example. Yet this can leave people very upset / distressed and sometimes it can feel as though very personal things have gone missing.

Loss can apply to so many things.  It can also apply to loss of innocence for example, if someone experiences or witnesses any kind of abuse.  This can range from sexual to physical. Exposure at such a young age can mean that childhood can be lost.

Identity is another area where loss can be felt.  Sometimes people can find out they were adopted, and they can then start to question who they are, where they come from etc.  Or maybe there can be questions around things such as sexuality, when family / society are putting pressure on a person to be a certain way.  Loss of identity, security etc is all major factors and can be very upsetting for people.

ms2These are just some of the different examples of loss.  The list is endless – loss can apply to hope, to dreams, to goals etc.  It can apply to the loss of a baby – miscarriage, abortion etc.  The pain that people live with after a major loss is immense.  Sometimes as a result of this people can turn to destructive coping mechanisms.

People can often use alcohol, drugs, food, sex, gambling, destructive relationships or even work / exercise , as a way of managing loss.  The grief / pain that comes can often feel over whelming and too much to handle.  People can begin to shut down, close themselves off from the closest people to them, and stop talking.  Gradually they can turn to these destructive methods to try and help them to cope / manage.  The irony being that these behaviours tend to just make things a lot worse.

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There are several things that can help when it comes to coping with loss.  The list below is some of them. It does take time, and it isn’t always easy. But the following can help to make it more manageable.  If you or anyone you know is struggling with loss, it may be useful to look at this list.

  • Exercise – it doesn’t matter if it is walking, swimming or hitting the gym. Whatever works for you – exercise releases endorphins and combats depression.
  • Keep a journal of all your thoughts and feelings.  Releasing these from your head can be very therapeutic.
  • Talk to your family and friends – share what is going on for you. It’s important not to isolate yourself.
  • Make some time for yourself each day.  Do whatever you need to – read, meditate, watch a film – whatever works for you.
  • Take some pressure of yourself – you don’t have to attend everything or say yes to everyone. Slow down.
  • Spend time with people that make you feel calm and happy. Focus on those that understand and those that can be there for you.
  • Remember that this won’t last forever, and things will get easier. Trusting in an end point can make things more bearable.
  • Try to avoid using alcohol or drugs as a way of self-medicating.  It can make you feel so much worse. Even a temporary high will have a huge low that follows.
  • Aim to eat a healthy and balanced diet. Again, try to avoid using food in a destructive way – by either over or under eating.
  • Speak to your GP – it doesn’t mean you have to go on medication, but sometimes this can be needed and can really help.
  • Seek counselling if possible – counselling can really help when your coping with loss. If we can help we will – 07590 663938 or info@yourcounsellingservice.co.uk We have an excellent team of therapists and assessments can normally be booked for the next day.