Counselor in Houston, and author of Mending the Broken Heart: After Your Child Dies Beryl Kaminsky, shares with the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) how young adults can help heal themselves on a grief journey. She works with those dealing with loss and grief, and especially death and dying. Being in your late teens to early 30s and dealing with grief is juxtaposition. This is usually when you’re focusing on yourself, having fun, and starting a family. However, losing a loved one during this time turns everything upside down.
This can cause great uncertainty, but grief can also be a great teacher. It’s common to question what you want out of life. Most of your peers haven’t had any big losses, so it’s normal to feel alone and isolated. Friends might want to help, but don’t know what to do or say—which means they often do and say nothing. Withdrawing is a common response, as is using porn, drugs, alcohol, and delving into other vices. You might feel like you don’t want to make another close friend because it’s too painful to lose someone.
Grief or Depression?
If you feel beyond grief, you may need professional help. To get through the loss, it’s critical to find support. Hopefully you can lean on family, but if not start looking at your community, extended family, friends, or mental health professional. If people tell you to “get over it” or try to say they know how you feel (but don’t), stay strong. Keep looking for healthy support.
Knowing when you need extra support, and having the courage to let it in, can be a challenge. It’s common to suffer insomnia after a loss. As a younger person, it’s easy to try to “just get by,” but it’s not sustainable.