If you’re searching for one word to describe what you’re feeling, then it’s probably grief.

When you find yourself feeling sad and angry, relieved and confused all switching up faster than you can make sense of them… that’s grief. Maybe you’re even seeing glimpses of happiness in the mix which adds guilt to an already overwhelming load.

Grief is the collision of emotions that happens whenever an established pattern changes or ends. Yes, a collision of emotions.  Like you’re caught up in your own private tornado, stuck on some crazy rollercoaster or feel like an emotional train wreck.  Everyone feels this mess at one time or another.   It’s normal.

Grief is messy.

Like any mess, time alone won’t clean it up.  Only time and correct actions are going to help you feel like yourself again. But first, you have to recognize that grief is what you’re dealing with.  Contrary to what most of us were taught: Grief is about more than just death.

Grief is the normal and natural reaction to a loss of any kind.

Including the loss of your youth, your health… or your spouse’s health. Even the loss of a friendship… or the death of a dream. Grief happens when life changes, not just when someone dies.  You have to acknowledge that you have grief before you can and heal it.

In that way, having a broken heart is not much different than having a broken leg. Because if you won’t admit that you’ve been hurt, then you’re not going to seek help or accept help or take the steps necessary to heal. Similarly, if everything you’ve been doing to try to feel better isn’t working, it’s possible that you haven’t been doing what’s needed to heal grief.

We all grieve.  It’s not a weakness or craziness.

We live in a world that says there’s nothing that can be done about grief and that myth has to change.  Would you accept that diagnosis if you broke your leg? “Sorry, there’s nothing we can do to repair your leg, you’ll just have to learn to live with the pain.”  Or: “Time heals.”  Yes, in time, you’d learn to walk with a limp and become accustomed to the pain of a broken leg but we don’t do that with bodies and we don’t need to do it with broken hearts either.

Get the help you need to heal. You’ll feel saner, stronger and ready to get on with enjoying your life.

To find a Grief Recovery Specialist near you, check out The Grief Recovery Institute.

Written by Catherine Mitchell, Certified Grief Recovery Specialist serving the Durham Region.

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