Building Bridges


Dealing with Loss
PART I

Running from the pain and confusion

Dealing with loss has its own rhythm, different for each person. Sometimes you need to confront your feelings, and at other times you need to shield yourself temporarily from the pain and confusion that are part of normal grieving. How? By engaging in such normal activities as these:
Denying distress
Keeping busy
Socializing
Taking on new projects
Watching television
Attending concerts
Going to the movies
Eating
Exercising
Nurturing yourself
Gardening
Working hard
Exhausting yourself
Getting away

Some respite from the distress triggered by loss is essential for most people if they are to be able to sleep at night and function during the day. However, if you find that you are engaging in these activities to an extreme, that may be a sign that rather than simply seeking short-term relief, you are attempting to escape altogether from the pain and confusion that come from doing the work of grieving. The result is that the pain, confusion, and other manifestations of grief are likely to keep disrupting your life, without any real or lasting relief. Sometimes people abuse alcohol or other drugs, experience flare-ups of old or new illnesses, or express strong feelings in ways that cause new problems for others or themselves. 

Coming to terms with your loss, instead of fleeing from the distress it triggers, provides you with the opportunity to learn how to grieve future losses more effectively. Instead of finding yourself stuck, you find that you are able to create the next chapter of your life in a way that allows you to live your life fully. Instead of finding future losses triggering reactions from the past, and finding yourself continuing to accumulate burdens of ungrieved painful losses, you find yourself continuing to grow as a human being.

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