How to Cope When You Feel Completely Overwhelmed By Grief

Grief affects us in ways no other tragedy does. The experience of grief is so raw and real, and it’s such an intense reminder of the varied emotions we humans experience in this life.

It can, in every way, feel entirely exhaustive. And if you feel overwhelmed by grief, you are not alone. You are having a normal response to a significant loss.

In a strange sequence of events, even though your perception of time may be that it’s standing still, the outside world continues moving. With that, you may need to take care of other family members or go back to work despite feeling overwhelmed.

Here’s how you can honor your feelings while still taking care of your needs:

Be Patient With Yourself

People often want to put a timeline on the grieving process, but grief doesn’t work on such a cut-and-dry linear path. There’s truly no right or wrong way to feel, and it’s normal to experience grief in fluctuating waves of intensity.

During the early stages, grief can feel insurmountable. You may experience anything from extreme rage to profound anxiety. You might also feel numb completely.

With all of this in mind, keep reminding yourself that these feelings are completely normal. Patience means allowing yourself to accept your reactions for what they are. When we place expectations for how we should feel, we risk perpetuating more guilt, fear, or additional pain.

Focus on Gentle Action

Some people try to power through their grief by keeping themselves so busy that they don’t have time to think or feel. Others might feel so consumed by their feelings that they can’t get out of bed or complete their basic routines.

If life feels overwhelming, try to find more of a middle ground during this difficult time. Gentle action can mean making a very simple to-do list and completing those tasks as a way to move through your day, even if you feel physically unable to do anything.

These tasks aren’t intended to distract or prevent you from feeling your feelings. They simply act as tiny reminders that you deserve to take care of yourself and participate in life.

Trust Your Emotional Pain and Give Yourself Extra Love

Pain scares many people, but it can be helpful to trust that your mind and body know what’s best for you.

It’s especially normal to feel guilty after the death of a loved one. You may find yourself feeling remorseful about the things you did or didn’t do. Your guilt may lead you to believe you’re responsible for the loss itself.

Try to stay connected with yourself as you navigate grief. Self-care doesn’t necessarily change your emotions, but it can help you stay grounded and present with yourself.

Seek Support

Many people feel so alone in their grief. They may even feel isolated from other family members when it comes to their emotions. This is especially true in cases of complicated grief, bereavement overload, or when the specific grief triggers mixed feelings, such as guilt or relief.

Research shows that support groups can help people understand and cope with their grief. In these types of groups, you can connect with other people who share common feelings of anger, sadness, shame, or depression.

Don’t Try to Force Acceptance

Many people think of acceptance as the end stage of grief. And while acceptance is one of the goals within the grieving process, that doesn’t mean you need to rush yourself into getting there.

Grief healing needs to be fluid and organic. You can’t just tell yourself that your pain doesn’t exist. And if you experience denial or sadness, as so many people do, you should trust that these are entirely typical responses to experiencing a significant loss. Most people do feel stuck after losing a loved one or when experiencing complicated grief.

Be Mindful of Self-Sabotage

It’s normal to feel angry, scared, or hopeless after a loss. Many people cope in ways they aren’t always proud of. All coping is an attempt to mitigate emotional pain, and we all deal with emotional pain with the tools that seem most effective.

That said, certain responses can create more problems and prolong a sense of suffering. Substance abuse, suicidal feelings, intentional self-harm, and persistent thoughts of hurting someone or seeking revenge may provide immediate relief. But they can be incredibly worrisome and lead you down a dangerous path.

If you’re concerned about your well-being (or the safety of someone else), seek professional guidance. You are not a bad person for how you are reacting, but it’s important to have support and learn healthier ways to cope with your grief.

Consider Grief Therapy

Although it’s a universal experience, we live in a society where grief remains a relatively taboo topic. Loss hurts, and if you feel stuck in your grieving process, grief therapy can help you navigate your complex emotions.

I am here to support you during this vulnerable time. No matter how your grief feels right now, you don’t have to walk through it alone. Please contact me today if you’d like to get started.

4601 Spicewood Springs Road Building 3, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78759
(512) 988-3363

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