I’m going to begin with a very basic piece of advice for dealing with grief: it’s going to take a very long time to deal with what you’re going through, so it’s okay to allow yourself to take some time to properly grieve the loss of someone in your life. There is nothing wrong with having bad days and feeling angry and upset with the loss of a close family member, friend, coworker, or loved one. And it’s not something that you can quickly get over and going back to how things were before – chances are that things have changed, and that you’ll need some time to readjust to those changes as well as dealing with the grieving process properly. And there’s no set time limit or time table where you’re supposed to get to a certain point of the grieving process by a certain period of time. It’s going to be different with everyone, and the best thing that you can do for yourself and for others going through the same process is to just be patient with everything that’s going on. It’s not going to be an easy thing to do, but patience and understanding are two qualities that help the best with dealing with grief and the grieving process.
Personally, I recently lost my older sister due to a car accident four months ago. Even now it still feels like it just happened, and like almost no time has passed since then. It might have had something to do with how stressful and traumatic the experience was for my family and I, but I think our collective sense of time was thrown off, and it’s slowly getting back to normal. Things won’t be the same as they were before my sister passed away, and that’s okay, but it’s still difficult to adjust to and deal with, and it will only take time to get used to. And it will only take time to come to terms with losing her and adjusting to a new kind of life – a different kind of life – without her and where life as I knew it has changed, and the future seems more unstable than it was before my sister passed away.
What I’ve noticed with the whole process of grief is something that can’t be closed out like a tab on the internet, and it’s more like having to deal with a couple of broken bones – it’s something that can’t be rushed, you can’t force yourself to get over the grief faster, and you can’t push the grief away and not deal with it, or else it will only get worse and manifest itself in different ways that could only be worse. It’s a slow process where you have to take it step by step and day by day, and it’s not easy to bounce back from the loss of a close friend or loved one. That’s why it’s so important to take time to grieve and actually feel everything that you need to feel. It’s going to be unpleasant and feel like it hurts way too much some days, but in the long run, it’ll be better to feel everything as fully as you can so that you can begin to heal. Take the time that you need to acknowledge what your feeling, how you’re feeling it, and take the time that you need to cope with those feelings.
Another very important part of the whole grieving process is the act of self-care. I know it might sound stupid and like something that you would see on Pinterest with those cute little arts and crafts activities, but self-care can be – and actually is – so much more than that. Self-care is when you make sure that you’re eating and taking a shower when you need to, trying to get enough sleep and exercising as much as you can, and/or going to see a therapist or journaling as much as possible – all stuff that makes the grieving process easier without it feeling overwhelming. It’s going to be hard, and some days you might not want to do any of that stuff, but sometimes doing the bare minimum helps you feel more productive and can eventually help you get back on your feet if you’re feeling down. And if you even need to start taking antidepressants or other kinds of medications, that can count as self-care, too. (Sidenote, however – please talk with your doctor and get their advice on whether or not you should start something like that. Unless you were already taking certain kinds of medications before, starting after something traumatic and dealing with grief can sometimes lead to addiction and dependency on drugs – either prescription or other – and even possibly an alcohol addiction. Just be smart about it, and make sure that you talk to your doctors about it beforehand and really think it over before starting any new medications.)
More importantly, self-care helps you stay healthy while you’re dealing with grief and the sense of loss that’s going on. Things such as showering and eating on a regular basis, getting the right amount of sleep, exercising when you can, and doing something therapeutic (either therapy, a personal journal, or even both) can help you to feel slightly better about the world around you. Trust me, when you’re not doing any of those things, you end up feeling worse than you were before, and it can snowball into a depression that was even worse than before. Sometimes even changing clothes or making your bed in the morning can give you the extra sense of accomplishment and productivity that you needed to get started on your day – even if what you’re doing that day only consists of taking a short 15-30 minute walk outside before binge-watching your favorite shows or movies for the rest of the day. It’s the small things like brushing your teeth every once in a while or taking the time out to get something to eat when you haven’t eaten all day, or finally getting a decent amount of sleep – stuff like that will slowly build up and help you to slowly feel like you’re finally getting back to normal and that things might eventually be okay after a while.
My final piece of advice on dealing with grief, depression, and a sense of loss is that it’s important to also reach out to people and ask for help or advice when you need it. You’re not being needy, controlling, or a burden to people. Your friends and family will want to help you out in any way that they can, and they are going to be more than willing to give you as much help as you need, especially with everything that’s going on in your life. And it helps to have other people lift the weight of what feels like the world, which will help you recover and be able to better deal with all of your emotions and with life in general.
Just remember that the whole grieving process will take time to deal with and cope with, and that self-care helps alleviate some of the stress and the burdens of the whole process, as well as being able to lean on others in your family and social circle that are willing to help you with anything that you need. You are not alone in what you’re feeling and experiencing, and you have resources available to you to help you deal with everything that’s going on in your life. And grief has no roadmap, so don’t be afraid if someone else is dealing with their own grief in a different way – everyone has their own coping methods, and you aren’t ever going to be forced to live up to other people’s standards and expectations with how you’re coping with what’s happen and with life as a result of everything.