Losing loved ones is often a very traumatic and painful experience. Not only do we miss them, our sadness can be compounded by anger and resentment, at the departed, at the higher power that took them away, at ourselves for our mistakes. We may feel guilt ridden and ashamed for the ways in which we feel we let our loved ones down. Our complex emotions, when not expressed in healthy ways, can create grief responses that can make the mourning process all that much more difficult to recover from.
Like many kinds of trauma, a death can prompt us to want to escape the pain. It can be unbearable to lose someone who plays a major part in our lives, whom we are closely connected to, whom we love deeply. Addicts feel a strong urge to numb that pain and self-medicate with drugs or other forms of escape and distraction- food, work, sex, anything that might soothe the pain, even for a little while. As we come to learn, though, the pain returns, and we can only run from it so long before it catches up with us. Becoming dependent upon unhealthy substances or behaviors can compound and exacerbate the pain of the initial loss. Instead of allowing ourselves the time and space to process our emotions in healthy ways, we may find that the grief accumulates within us and creates all kinds of emotional blocks and difficulties.
One such difficulty for people who have survived a traumatic loss can be a newly heightened sense of anxiety, anger and reactivity. They might find themselves easily agitated or aggravated. They might feel uneasy, restless or scared, more often. They might become easily enraged and transfer that rage to the people around them, without provocation. They might find certain things highly triggering. A build-up of unexpressed sadness can cause people to seem lost, or “off,” and to exhibit erratic behavior that is not normal for them. You might even find yourself uncomfortable with, or afraid of, their behavior. Grief can be extremely destabilizing, and especially so when we don’t process it in ways that allow us to fully feel and express it.
After losing a loved one, it is so important for us to find ways to cope with the pain. Grief is something that stays within us, we might never “get over” it, but we owe it to ourselves and the loved ones we lost to find healthy coping strategies, for the sake of our peace and wellness.
Let Enlightened Solutions help you process your pain. You don’t have to do it alone. Call (833) 801-LIVE.
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