Nashville, Tennessee – It is difficult to summarize the events of the last few years as anything more than challenging and painful. So how do we move forward in this New Year if we don’t feel “done” with the last one? Here we will take a look at grief, coping with loss, and moving on.
Grief is defined as a natural response to the loss of someone or something important to you. There are several steps to the grieving process, and each step focuses on a different emotion. Losing someone or something important to you can be really hard to come to terms with, and navigating these different emotions can be challenging to manage on your own.
“Add in a global pandemic and it can be especially difficult,” says Sherry Randles, Centerstone’s Director of Crisis Services. “They have even taken away some of the important rituals of grief, like memorial services and even the simple act of being physically present for a hug.”
In our fast-paced society, there is a temptation to quickly “get over it” and get on with your life. But it is vitally important to remember to be patient with yourself. If you want to process your grief properly, give yourself time and grace, especially after a year full of difficulties and interruptions.
The first step in processing grief is acknowledging the pain you feel and allowing yourself to feel it; try to sit with those emotions no matter how uncomfortable it may seem. While it may be preferable to try to forget what happened, pushing your emotions away could lead to other barriers that could prevent you from moving on from that pain.
“Avoidance is a defense mechanism we use sometimes to protect ourselves from pain, but it eventually rears its ugly head and can ‘blow up’ when you least expect it,” says Megan Williams, Director of Suicide Prevention at Centerstone.
When working through grief, it is imperative that the individual acknowledge the emotions and feelings, and not ignore them. The best way to do this is to talk to someone about them. You can talk to a trusted friend, family member, mentor, or mental health professional. Always be honest and try to verbalize your feelings so that both of you can understand where you are in the grieving process.
There is no right or wrong way to cry, and remember that your feelings are valid. When you experience grief, it can be a painful process to go through, but the importance of going through those emotions with others and actively processing them is how you begin to move forward.
If you need help processing grief, remember that Centerstone can help. Connect with us today by calling 1-877-HOPE123 (877-467-3123).
Megan Williams is the Director of Suicide Prevention Services at Centerstone and has been here since 2010.
Sherry Randles is the Director of Crisis Services at Centerstone and has been here for the past 17 years.