Five Signs You May Benefit from Professional Grief Counseling
Grief counseling can help you process your emotions and begin healing, and these are five signs it may be right for you.
Loss is something we must all face in our lives, and it brings significant challenges. Grief impacts us emotionally, psychologically, and even physically. We are never the same after losing someone we love.
Although loss is a universal experience though, it can feel incredibly lonely when you’re going through it. For many people, seeking professional help in grief counseling is a way to feel less alone. It can also help you process your grief and learn to cope with your loss so that you can continue to move forward in life.
If you think you might need grief counseling, that’s a good sign that it could be helpful for you. Below we will discuss five more signs that professional help could be a meaningful part of your healing journey.
Sign #1: You Have Experienced a Loss that Feels Overwhelming
Anyone who has lost someone they love can benefit from working with a grief counselor or a grief support group. However, this is particularly true if you feel overwhelmed by the pain, anger, sadness, guilt, or other common emotions associated with a loved one’s passing. Oftentimes, people experience the rawest emotions during the early stages of grief, yet there is no time limit when it is appropriate to seek help. Indeed, you can choose to seek out grief counseling benefits at any stage of your bereavement.
Sign #2: You Feel Like You Can’t Move Past Your Loss
Grief affects every person differently. Some people might start to settle into their “new normal” relatively quickly. Others may feel stuck in the pits of grief for a very long time. Unfortunately, there is no time limit on the grieving process. If you feel like you will be stuck forever and that you can never move forward, however, it may be time to seek help. When you feel like you have nothing left to live for or that your life ended when your special person died, grief counseling can help you get unstuck and show you how to take small steps forward.
Sign #3: You’ve Buried Your Grief
Some people have difficulty moving on, and some people move on too well. In other words, they bury their grief and avoid processing any of the emotions stemming from it. However, if you try to put your loss behind you too quickly, it is likely to resurface when you least expect it. A key sign that you may be avoiding your grief is if you find yourself telling people you’re “fine” every day. Other warning signs of grief avoidance are:
- When you stop going to the places or participating in the experiences that remind you of your loved one
- When you find it too painful to look at pictures from the past
- When you turn off the radio anytime, a song comes on that reminds you of your special person
- Failing to process your emotions healthily is a good sign that you could benefit from a professional grief counselor.
Sign #4: Your Grief Interferes With Your Work
It’s completely normal to feel like you’re walking around in a fog after you’ve lost someone who held a special place in your heart. It takes time to get back onto the rhythm of things, and that includes your work. However, if it has been several months since your loved one’s death and you still feel unable to get back to a normal level of functioning in your job, you may benefit from a grief counselor or support group. This is especially true if your work has suffered to the point of getting written up for poor performance or getting a demotion. Counseling will give you the coping skills and techniques you need to get back on track in the workplace.
Sign #5: You’re Suffering from Depression
Grief and depression are two different things. However, grief can turn into depression for many people. Here are a few distinctions to help you sort out whether you’re feeling grief or suffering from depression:
- When you’re grieving, you focus on your loss. In depression, you begin to focus on yourself.
- Grief can cause feelings of guilt, but they are usually fleeting. In depression, you may have persistent feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or low self-esteem by contract.
- Grief still allows you the ability to feel things like pleasure, hope, and interest once in a while. Depression leaves no room for these.
- While you’re grieving, you will often find some solace in spending time with loved ones. Unfortunately, in depression, this is not the case. In fact, the energy it takes you to be around other people can feel debilitating.
- Grief can make you feel like a fountain of emotions that ebb and flow day to day. If you are experiencing depression, you are more likely to feel numb.
- Sometimes, grievers can begin to wish for their own deaths to be with their loved ones again. By contrast, considering your own death simply because you do not want to live anymore is a strong sign of depression.
If you ever begin to feel any signs of depression, give yourself grace – and seek help. However, do not tell yourself you’re experiencing “normal grief” and avoid dealing with the condition that is apt to worsen without professional treatment.
Don’t Hesitate: Grief Counseling Offers Many Benefits.
If you fit into any of the categories discussed above, you will likely benefit from professional grief counseling. Whether it takes the form of one-on-one sessions, a support group, or an online grief community, it will give you space to talk about and process your loss, tools to cope with your emotions, and strategies for taking small steps forward into your “new normal.”