This week’s big news has been about the passing of Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. An internationally beloved figure, the loss has touched many people. People the world over have now learned about and reacted to her passing, and times like these can trigger grief reactions especially when the media coverage is so constant.
Everyone suffers from some degree of grief: the deaths of loved ones, friends, admired individuals. It’s always difficult and causes emotional pain.
Grief is widely accepted to have five stages (although some researchers suggest possibly seven). These are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Any stage of this can cause its own host of problems in people going through the normal process of grief.
Sometimes, however, the experience of grief can turn into something more damaging to our mental health. When this happens sufferers tend to get stuck in the “depression” stage as they ruminate and feel down about the death itself or the circumstances prior. Was there a falling out, a fight, or lack of communication? For these people the loss has often gone unmourned in some way.
Usually if there were mixed/ambivalent feelings towards the deceased, the more dysfunctional the grieving process becomes. Sometimes the feelings aren’t able to develop in a healthy way and negative reactions can be triggered weeks, months, even years down the line.
These certain triggers cause what we call grief reactions. It can be anything from famous deaths, anniversaries, and even sights/sounds/smells associated with the deceased. When unresolved grief is stirred in people by a grief reaction it can last for a while and begin affecting their lives.
Grief is unpredictable and may present differently for various people. They can become angry, anxious, suffer from crying spells, experience a change in appetite, or lose sleep/sleep too much.
If you may be triggered by external events, these are 3 healthy ways to cope:
Be prepared. If it’s something you can plan for like an anniversary or event, perhaps talk to a professional or do some research about grief and why it feels the way it does for a given individual. Be ready for these feelings to come, and know how to process them.
Understand. Why does the grief hurt so bad so much later on? Sometimes that’s to be expected, but when it stops normal life functioning it’s vital to understand the reason for its severity. Again, speaking to a counselor can help with this.
Distraction. Keeping your mind occupied helps people stay on a positive path. Instead of ruminating alone people can start new traditions, connect socially, or talk about their problems with a professional.
Bregman Medical Group has decades of experience treating severe grief, anxiety, depression, and a variety of other mental health issues. We offer convenient online psychiatry and therapy right to your device! Simple schedule online at www.bregmanmd.com or call us at 305-740-3340.