Have you lost a loved one recently? Do you feel numb, do you find yourself hypersensitive, crying for no reason? Have you lost all motivation? You might simply be grieving.
Grief is quite a complex emotion and in our society where everything has to happen fast, I believe we are not giving the right messages around grief. I have seen a few clients in the past few days who came to see me, not understanding what was wrong with them. They mentioned having a nice life, a good job, friends, “everything to be happy” to quote one of them, yet they felt sad and flat. It turned out they had lost one or both of their parents in the past few months.
How come we believe there’s something wrong with us when we grieve, especially parental figures?! what does that say about our society if we’re made to believe we’re supposed to grieve in a few days or a few weeks? GP are quite prone to give antidepressant if your grief has lasted longer than a couple of month. Are we so disconnected from our deep nature?
In traditional culture in southern Europe, they’re known for having a 2 years mourning period! So does that mean that in our fast track consumerism society, we need to learn to grieve in fast forward motion?
When it’s the loss of parents or parental figures, I believe it’s unreasonable to expect to grieve in the blink of an eye, and it’s time we actually reconnect with our core self and allow ourselves time to process that pain. In my experience, I’ve seen a lot of people needing up to 2 or 3 years to fully be back on track after losing a parent. And that’s ok! Of course you don’t want to dwell forever on it, but after all for most people losing a parent is one of the biggest pain ever felt in an entire lifetime.
Why do you need to allow yourself to grief?
Especially if you were very close to the lost one, you’re bound to feel a lot of strong emotions. Whether it’s sadness, anger or guilt, those emotions are completely normal and part of the grieving process.
If you repress those emotions and don’t allow yourself to process them, they won’t disappear by magic. They will be stored in your mind and body and might manifest themselves in different ways. Repressed anger or guilt for example tend to find ways to come up through physical discomfort or illnesses, or through behavioural patterns.
I have seen many people with back pain for example, that when explored realised they were holding on to a lot of anger ; Or people who never addressed guilt feelings from earlier on in life, and found themselves feeling guilty when trying to put themselves first or saying No. Sounds familiar?
Unfortunately repressed anger and resentment are very often present in serious illnesses such as cancer or fibromyalgia. As I said, anger isn’t a feeling that goes by itself unless you deal with it.
As for sadness, which is unavoidable in grief, if not fully acknowledged and expressed, it can turn easily into depression or self-destructive behaviours. So better allowing yourself to grieve now rather than paying a higher price later…