“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” (C.S. Lewis)
If you keep the proverbial “stiff upper lip” for too long, you may impair your ability to learn to smile again. It’s okay not to be okay. It’s good to cry. Pain is not meant to be contained for too long in the body, mind or spirit. Suffering seeks relief and release.
You and only you can know if you need to talk to someone about your loss. As a mental health counselor, I certainly wish the stigma to asking for help would be lifted. It is like an embargo on human emotions. When your physical body hurts and doesn’t get better, you go to a physician. The same is true for the physiological trauma responses associated with grief.
Mourners don’t need sanctions. You need sanctuary. Counselors provide confidential assistance. Grief groups are also helpful and many churches and Hospices have them for free or little charge. Go if you need it. Here are seven major reasons you might.
- IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBER LOSS: The closer you are to the person, the more profound the loss. The death of a child, spouse or sibling is known to cause debilitating suffering. Seeking professional help can give you a healing perspective that other members of your family or friends may not be able to provide.
- IF YOU HAVE BEEN A CAREGIVER: Caregivers often get compassion fatigue. There is this odd paradox of grief and relief that occurs when you have watched someone else suffer that has been under your care. Vicarious trauma symptoms can be alleviated with a counselor who can integrate the grief/relief response.
- COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP LOSS: What do you do when the loved one you lost is also your alcoholic or abusive parent or spouse? What if you were abandoned? These mixed emotions are a tangled web. Many times, complex relationships have involved you keeping a family secret. A confidential environment is a healthy place to process this kind of intense pain. You may really be mourning what you didn’t A counselor can help unravel this type of grief.
- SURVIVOR GUILT: From combat veterans to victims of crimes or disastrous events, the loss of others may leave you wondering why you were spared. Some people feel false guilt can’t enjoy their lives. This can cause serious mental health issues.
- LEGAL ISSUES: When attorneys are involved after a loss due to trusts, financial matters or other family disputes, you may benefit from grief counseling to help you interact with legal counsel more productively.
- AGING: When you get older it seems like you are going to a funeral at least once a month. Younger members of your family may be dismissive of your fears. It may be time to talk to someone that is understanding.
- YOUR OWN MORTALITY: This pretty much sums up everyone in one way or another. Through the death of another, even someone we don’t know well, you may be taking inventory of your life. If it isn’t being lived to your highest and best hopes, talking to a counselor or life coach can help you live your life to its greatest potential.