Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Emotions during the Grieving Process

I have been asked to host this guest post by Richard Moyle from the Mesothelioma Cancer Center at Asbestos.com.

Asbestos.com is committed to providing the latest, up-to-date information to visitors in the hopes of spreading awareness about the dangers of asbestos cancer.

Someone who has lost a loved one, whether it is through a tragic accident or a disease like malignant mesothelioma, will go through a range of emotions following the death.

Some psychologists have put these emotions in order, organizing different "grief cycles" that progress through various stages, predicting how the bereaved might feel at a certain point in the process.

However, the fact remains that everyone grieves differently. Some people will go through these emotions quickly while others may take long periods of time in some or all of them. There is no "correct" way to mourn and the bereaved should keep in mind that all the feelings one experiences are normal though sometimes very uncomfortable or even upsetting.

Some of the intense emotions most often experienced during the grieving process might include:

Disbelief – The person left behind often has trouble grasping the fact that their loved one is gone. A person who is experiencing disbelief will often say things like, "This isn’t happening to me."

Confusion – Often distinguished by difficulty concentrating, a dazed appearance, and sometimes depersonalization, confusion is often a result of being thrust into a new scenario that doesn’t include the one who has passed on.

Shock – This emotion generally occurs immediately after the death. Shock can last just a few hours or several days. It can cause bewilderment and confusion and may even lead to temporary memory loss.

Sadness – This is a typical and likely response to the death of a loved one and it could continue for months or even years. Intense sorrow, however, should be watched as it can lead to severe depression.

Humiliation – Though they are certainly not to blame, some bereaved individuals are embarrassed about their situation and feel humiliated when with others.

Guilt – There is a frequent feeling among those left behind that maybe they could have done more for the person who passed on. Generally, these emotions are not justified and should be dealt with by a counselor should they continue to manifest themselves as they could lead to depression.

Grieving is natural, normal, and certainly crucial, and feeling these and other emotions will help the process move along. However, any one of these emotions can get out of hand and hinder daily life. When an emotion reaches that point, it may be necessary to ask for guidance, either from family members and friends or from a professional.


SeaSpray said...

Sadness and guilt are what I feel about Mom. Our relationship was complicated... but we loved each other.

But I read something last night that I had written last June.

I wrote how I was seeing her decline and afraid that one day she wouldn't answer her phone or knock at the door.

I was stented again with the largest ureteral stent thus far for 8 weeks... and I was miserable feeling and a little down about it.

I had all the time in the world but didn't always pock up her call right when she called. I did call later..occasionally the next day. If it was emergent..I would've picked up... but I just was drained I guess.

Of course way beyond all that..I now think..Hoe could I NOT pick up the phone for my *elderly* mother? Mind you..I loved her very much? And how could I not do that when I was simultaneously feeling concerned about her?

I will have to live with that.

I guess denial can be strong. One part of my brain saw/felt things and got scared and so other part denied like I'd have forever with mom. I even had feelings of foreboding. And then regarding the dementia..I honest to God did not see it or realize until just before she went into hospital/nursing home. When she didn't know how to unlock her deadbolt after 20 yrs... then I realized..and still made excuses.

I didn't realize that when an elderly person calls you at 3 in the morning thinking it's waking morning hours..that is a sign of dementia. She did that once last summer and I thought she was just tired.

I guess I should go easy on myself in that I did have my own physical issues that were draining me and hindsight is 20-20. Sometimes when we are in things...we can't see the forest for the trees and that is just the way it is.

I have concluded that grief is devastating..a horrible thing to go through... but compound that with guilt..I think grief and guilt is a toxic combination.

I also think it is much easier to forgive others than one's self.

Sandy,PhD said...

I've never seen humiliation listed but it certainly needs to be there. I bet many people feel guilty about feeling humiliated. Anger is another feeling that's prevalent.

Imran Ali said...

I want to discuss some thing. After the hearing the bad news the shock, grief, sadness etc all are the normal things. But sometimes a person is totally changed and the sadness is seen permanently on the person. Why this happens. For example the person no longer want to enjoy with the friends, the charm in outing, eating etc is finished or very less.
The person wants to remain alone. What is the cause. Is it due to the deepest love or some type of shock. How to treat the condition if it persists for longer time like 6 months or more, after the incident?

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