What is bereavement?

Bereavement is the name given to describe the sense of loss we feel when a loved one passes away. When you are grieving, it is normal to feel a range of emotions such as sadness, anger, anxiety and guilt, but sometimes bereavement can be particularly overwhelming or bring up feelings that are difficult to manage. If you are experiencing ‘complicated bereavement’, this can cause you to become withdrawn, angry, or even experience symptoms of depression.

Some common symptoms of typical bereavement include:

  • Intense sorrow and pain at the thought of your loved one
  • Focus on little else but your loved one’s death
  • Extreme focus on reminders of the loved one or avoidance of reminders
  • Difficulties accepting the death
  • Numbness and/or detachment
  • Feeling that life has no purpose
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Lack of trust in others
  • Inability to enjoy life or think back on positive experiences with your loved one

If these symptoms don’t improve over time it might be helpful to seek therapy. Some of the signs that your bereavement might be more complicated and requiring treatment would be:

  • Having trouble carrying out normal routines or activities
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Depression
  • Thoughts of guilt or self blame
  • Persistent belief that you did something wrong or could have prevented the death
  • Loss of sense of purpose in life
  • Feeling that life isn’t worth living without your loved one
  • Wish that you had died along with your loved one

If you experience these symptoms, therapy can be helpful in understanding your loss and how it has impacted you and your life.

Which therapies might help?

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