What Loss Have You Experienced?
During our lives, it is inevitable that we will experience a significant loss or even any number of them. The reason for the loss could be:
- the death of a person or pet;
- a change in your identity (e.g. through a divorce or medical diagnosis) and/or
- a change to your environment (e.g. through redundancy or retirement).
When you cannot emotionally process the loss (or losses), your body remains in a constant state of stress. In an attempt to regain balance, your body will produce symptoms. They all have a bio-logical reason and are there to get your attention.
Symptoms of depression
Your body is communicating with you. Are you listening?
Imagine your body is like your best friend. It's been telling you it's unhappy about something that happened in the past and you keep ignoring them. It's tried to get your attention, but you've been so busy with your job, other friends and the family, that you haven't noticed how unhappy your friend has become. Time goes on and then you do start to notice that your friend doesn't want to do what you've always done. It's an effort to do the simplest things and when you look at them, they look drained and exhausted. Would you take notice now and ask what's made them so unhappy?
In the same way, if you push down your emotions, or try to ignore your feelings, then your body will struggle to maintain balance. Subsequently, you may feel any number of the following:
overwhelm by even the simplest tasks
a sense of hopelessness that your life will never change
extreme feeling of isolation and loneliness
that there is no point to your life or questioning what your purpose is
that everyone in your life would be better off if you weren't alive.
The point is, your body is incredibly intelligent. It had the intelligence to create you from the perfect division of a cell, so it knows what it's doing. Yet often, we are drawn into the belief that something outside of our control has caused it. This is not the case. Even Hippocrates said: "natural forces within us are the true healers of disease." Your body is in dis-ease, meaning that it's not happy. When you acknowledge and address what's making it unhappy, then you enable it to go through the natural process of healing.
If you are feeling any suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the relevant support network in your country and/or consult your GP or Medical Practitioner immediately.
Caring about your mental wellbeing
Quite often people are so keen to ‘get over’ a death, divorce or a diagnosis, to ‘put it behind’ them, they don’t allow themselves to emotionally recover. In doing so, they later find they experience the symptoms of depression, anxiety, or even Post Traumatic Stress.
To prevent this from happening, it's important for people to understand the body's bio-logical response to trauma, so they are equipped with techniques to minimise the long term impact of significant loss.
Passed away; not forgotten
When a loved one passes away, we are often left questioning our own life and how our future is going to be without the deceased. Feelings of regret for not doing or saying what we wanted to, can add to the sense of loss, as we will never have an opportunity to do it now. It can also make you feel lost, as you prepare to make adjustment to your life and not having that person there anymore.
Separate with grace and dignity
If you are going through a divorce or separation, your identity will change as you are no longer the wife/husband, or partner. You'll also experience a loss of your territory, which in this case is represented by the home or even the community where you live. When people end up selling the family home, they can feel resentful that they may have to downsize or move to a less salubrious area.
With adversity comes strength
With a major life altering diagnosis, you will be adjusting to your new identity with the condition that you are now living with. You'll likely be feeling a huge sense of loss for the person and the life that you had before.
Mental/emotional/physical/sexual abuse will all lead to a feeling a loss for elements of your identity and your territory, where the territory is either your home or your body.
Grief is a natural process
If you have experienced any of the losses mentioned above, then it's perfectly natural for you to experience some or all of these symptoms:
extreme sadness or tearful
loss of appetite
not being able to concentrate
lack of motivation
increased use of stimulants, such as alcohol, drugs, smoking, food.
How you handle the grieving process is unique to you, and it's really important to honour how you feel. Try not to be influenced by other people's opinions or advice. Often well meaning friends or family will say things like: "what have you got to be depressed about?" or "just snap out of it!" Suffering with the symptoms of depression isn't about having a bad day, being in a mood, or being ungrateful for your life. The root cause is a deep sense of loss, and it needs to be processed by you, not how other people handled their losses.
Many people are not aware that they will go through different states during the grieving process. To help you to navigate all the emotional states, I created the Guide called: "6 'States of Being' Necessary To Heal From Grief." You can download your copy by clicking the link below.
Guiding you on the path of self-healing
Although you probably don't feel like it at the moment, there will be light at the end of the tunnel. The first step to getting there is acknowledging that you are in control of your condition. When you are in control, you can make changes. And when you start to think and behave differently, things will change, both in how you feel and what you experience.
It's important that you get the right support to process the emotions that are being held in your body. Only by processing this will your body be able to regain its natural balance and start to function properly again.
It’s my hope to positively influence the perception of depression and help to end the damaging stigma of speaking up and asking for help. After all, if a major loss has triggered depression, we should show more compassion towards those suffering, not judgment.
If you want to learn more about my approach and how it can support you, please contact me.