Loss is a normal part of human existence. You may lose love, money, status, health or the life of a loved one. But when you’re recovering from a traumatic experience, loss and grief may complicate your healing process. Fortunately there are some things you can do to deal with grief in a way that doesn’t completely hamper your trauma recovery. Let’s take a look:
Time and Support
The old cliché ‘time heals all wounds’ may feel like little more than words when you’re suffering from a loss, but when it comes to healing from trauma and handling grief, it is at least partially true. When you first suffer your loss, you may initially experience shock and disbelief. This will slow you down, make it nearly impossible to operate even at a basic level and will take time to wear off. Don’t push yourself during this period. Instead, take it slow and easy, and get the assistance of your support network. Maybe you can get friends or loved ones to run errands for you or cook your meals. Any little thing that lightens your load will go a long way in helping you heal.
When any of us lose something important, suffering is impossible to avoid. This suffering can include intense feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, and anxiety. It can also mean that you are not as quick in your thinking or that you’re unable to make the simplest decisions. This is a serious problem when recovering from trauma, especially if you’ve entertained suicidal thoughts in the past. You must be aware that this period of suffering may trigger you, cause depression or make you feel that life has no meaning. This is why it’s important that you get the help of a trauma counselor who can safely guide you through grief’s emotional mindfield.
As you go through the painfully long process of suffering, it’s important that you take care of your emotional, mental, and physical needs. Grief and trauma are a powerful mix that can wear you down completely. That’s why you should arm yourself with an arsenal of self-care tools. Here are a few ideas:
- Supportive friends and family – Try to see loved ones at least once a week so that you don’t become isolated.
- A daily exercise routine – While going through the grieving process you may feel tempted to stay at home and watch TV or browse the internet all day, but getting out for a brief walk can do wonders for your mood.
- A healthy meal plan – They don’t call high fat, high sugar snacks comfort food for nothing. While grieving you may want to eat these treats more often than you should. Don’t do it. To resist the urge, plan your daily meals in advance, and if you don’t have time or energy, get someone else to do it for you.
- A sounding board – Get someone that you can share your pain with, this can be a trauma counselor or anyone else you trust.
Remember, self-care is the foundation of your grief and trauma recovery.
As you continue your journey to health, remember that you’ll eventually experience some type of loss during your recovery. The best defense against loss derailing your trauma recovery is being prepared to weather the grieving process.