What exactly are Grief Symptoms?
“What are the Grief Symptoms ?” I get asked this question a lot. The very quick answer I have is that Grief is a Cocktail of Emotions.
As the author of Good Grief, I’m often asked to give an ‘expert’ opinion as to the definition of Grief, and not only that, to give a ‘simple’ definition.
I struggle with simplifying the concept of Grief because it isn’t a simple concept, it is complex. A mixture of emotions that swirl around your mind creating this potent cocktail that can have a powerful effect upon the way you navigate through your world.
When we lose something or someone that we love, we as human beings can find ourselves going through a period of grief.
If I was pushed to define what causes us as human beings or mammals to grieve, I would say: Having to say goodbye to something or someone you hold dear can potentially lead to a feeling of grief.
We as human beings and mammals have the capacity to love and be loved, connect and find a sense of belonging and identity within relationships and communities.
Any Significant Change or Loss in our Lives can Trigger Grief
This sense of belonging is a subconscious safety net. When anything challenges the safety net and we lose something that we held dear inside our net, this sends various alerts to the emotional mind and the cocktail of emotions is poured into the system, and this is essentially what I am calling grief.
Grief isn’t something that you go through when someone dies, it is something that we all have the capacity to feel whenever we go through any significant loss or change.
As well as Death and Bereavement, there are many other situations or experiences that you may not necessarily think of can trigger feelings of grief.
Grief Test: to find out if you have grief symptoms
- When I think about my loss or change I feel emotional and anxious. YES/NO
- I feel like a stranger in my own life and don’t fit in anymore. YES/NO
- I feel unusually angry and resentful for no reason. YES/NO
- I feel really lonely in a crowded room. YES/NO
- Sometimes I feel empty, like my feelings have been scrubbed away. YES/NO
- I feel envious when I see other people around me who are happy. YES/NO
- I feel guilty when I forget about my loss, and then need to hang on to the memory. YES/NO
- I find myself asking ‘What if…’ questions more than normal. YES/NO
- I replay past events in my mind over and over again. YES/NO
- I’m constantly thinking about the past and worried about my future. YES/NO
If you have answered YES to 5 or more, you may have symptoms of Grief.
This video explains why I wrote my book Good Grief:
Potential Circumstances that can Trigger Grief
- Leaving School and Friendship Groups
- Leaving Home
- Your Pet Dying
- Getting Divorced
- Kids Leaving Home
- Moving House
- Ending of a Relationship
- Becoming a Parent
- Getting Older
Is Grief a Sickness?
The good news is that Grief is not a sickness, it is NORMAL! It is an appropriate response to change. It’s your brain’s way of keeping you safe and protected. – It is OK not to be OK.
We need to grieve to get through it. This quote by Earl Grollman “The only cure for Grief, is to Grieve.” is spot on.
When I gave myself the permission to be OK with my grief, I moved myself into a place of ACCEPTANCE. This is a very empowering place to be in.
When you accept what has happened, the change or the loss, I’m not saying it’s easier, but somehow life becomes less of a struggle.
Things don’t change on the outside, but it’s like you can make a positive shift within the inside of your mind.
The No/Yes Principle
There is a chapter in my book ‘Good Grief‘ called The No/Yes Principle, where I explain how you can start to move out of the emotional mind and get control over your intellectual mind. There are a couple of questions that you could ask yourself:
- Is my current feeling useful?
- Do I want to change how I am feeling?
If you answer “No” followed by “Yes”, then you know that you are ready to move into Acceptance.
Good Grief by Dipti Tait
Reading Good Grief can help you. I wrote it to cope with my own loss of both my parents to cancer. It’s my story of how I moved in and around my own grief states and found a way through to the other side of acceptance by discovering and using Solution Focused Hypnotherapy.
Read what other people have said about Good Grief: