What is bereavement?
Bereavement is the experience of losing a loved one. It is characterised by grief which is the process and range of emotions we go through when we lose someone – or something – important to us (sadness, anger, anxiety, guilt).
Although bereavement is a normal process that everyone goes through, for some people, it can be an overwhelming experience that brings up unmanageable feelings. This is sometimes referred to as “complicated grief”. In complicated grief, the painful emotions of loss don’t improve with time and can lead someone to become withdrawn, angry and in some cases, depressed.
What are the symptoms of bereavement?
- Intense sorrow and pain at the thought of your loved one
- Focus on little else but your loved one’s death
- Extreme focus on the things that remind you of your loved one or complete avoidance
- Difficulties accepting the death
- Numbness and/or detachment
- Feeling that life has no purpose
- Irritability or agitation
- Lack of trust in others
- Inability to enjoy life or think back on the positive experiences with your loved one
Complicated grief symptoms
If your symptoms don’t improve over time, therapy can help. Some of the signs that your grief might have turned into complicated grief and that you should seek support are if:
- You’re having trouble carrying out normal routines or activities
- You’ve withdrawn from social activities
- Feeling depressed
- Thoughts of guilt or self blame
- Believing that you did something wrong or could have prevented the death
- You’ve lost all sense of purpose in life
- Feeling that life isn’t worth living without your loved one
- Wishing that you had died along with your loved one
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s important that you make an appointment with your GP or contact us.
Frequently asked questions
When should I seek help for bereavement?
Which treatments are most effective for bereavement?
You are most likely to benefit from an integrative therapeutic approach which will help you explore your relationship with the person you lost. Depending on the complexity of this relationship, Schema Therapy can be helpful.