The shattering news may have come in a call, an email, a knock on your door, or in a sad reckoning as you sat by the bedside.
Whatever the method of delivery, learning about the death of a loved one turns the world upside down in normal times. In the abnormal age of Coronavirus, it has become even more disorienting. All of us have been cut off from the usual ways to publicly and collectively acknowledge losses through funerals and memorial gatherings. We also may not be able to honor faith traditions surrounding death — traditions that may be comforting and familiar. Sadly, it may also not have been possible to say goodbye or to have seen your loved one recently due to social distancing.
Most of us have well-meaning people in our lives, who try to console the best way they know how. There are no easy ways to make someone feel better after their loved one dies because it’s not something you ever can feel better about. Nice words can’t quell the tide of grief. It can be hard to know what to say when people say they are sorry for your loss
Raw and pulsing, piercing and shattering, dull and numbing. Whatever your grief looks like, it can help to have a place to share the endless ache. A person who can listen to you cry and laugh and mourn and celebrate. Friends and family may want to be that person for you, but there is usually a limit or a complication. They may be grieving, too, or their feelings about the deceased person may be different than yours. Or you may find yourself pretending you feel better than you do.
You’re overwhelmed by sadness and not sure where grief ends and depression begins.
Grief, while it is excruciating, is a normal reaction to the loss of someone we love. It can be hard to eat, difficult to sleep, impossible to concentrate, and it may be hard to feel hopeful about anything. These symptoms can look an awful lot like depression.
There can be overlap between grief and depression, too, which complicates things. The loss of a loved one can trigger major depressive disorder or even cause physical ailments to flare up due to the stress. That’s why it’s important to get the support and help of someone objective, who can listen, help assess how you are doing, and recommend ways for you to process your grief, while also respecting that your life is forever changed.
Counseling for grief can be comforting and supportive, allowing you the time and space you need to think about the loved one you lost. You are welcome to bring in photographs or other important items and to tell the story of your relationship with the person you lost. You will not be asked to “move on” beyond your loss but to create a new kind of relationship with the person who has died.
What is grief counseling?
Grief is not a psychological illness, though it feels as bad as one. It can be helped by time to talk to a counselor who is knowledgeable about grief’s stages. The stages of grief, while they describe what most people typically experience in the aftermath of a loss, don’t describe an amount of time grief lasts or an order in which the stages “should” happen. While some elements of loss may be similar, all of us grieve in our own time and our own way. It’s important that you find a therapist who respects individual and cultural differences surrounding how to cope with loss.
Is grief counseling for all kinds of losses?
At Nova Terra Therapy, we support people through a variety of different kinds of losses, knowing that loss represents caring and investment in another person, cherished creature, an experience, or even a phase of life. Grief happens as a result of all types of losses, including the death of pets. Anyone who has lost a beloved dog, cat, or other pet due to old age, illness, or calamity, can understand just how devastating it can be when a pet dies. Likewise, there are transitions that stir up feelings of loss, even as they usher in a new phase of life. Having your child go off to college, retiring, or leaving a marriage are all transitions that may cause grief.
Support on your timetable
You may feel like some support right now would be helpful but you may notice over time that you don’t need or want as much support. Some grieving clients come for just a few sessions; others come for a longer period of time because that’s what feels best to them. Because everyone’s grief is different, there is no set number of sessions or an obligation to continue beyond what you need. It’s also okay if you feel fine for a while but want to touch base again around an important anniversary, a milestone event, or when your grief is triggered.
Your therapist is dedicated to meeting your needs, honoring your grief process, and helping you find a way forward.
Begin Counseling in the Washington DC Area:
If you would like some support while you are grieving, then our therapists can help would love to help. We provide grief counseling to people in the Virginia suburbs of the Washington DC area.
To begin counseling in Burke, VA, please follow these steps:
- Contact our counseling clinic to set up a free 15-minute phone consultation.
- Meet with one of our compassionate counselors.
- Begin your path to healing.
Other services offered by Nova Terra Therapy:
In addition to providing grief counseling, our Burke, VA mental health clinic offers a variety of comprehensive counseling services to adults in the Washington DC area. Ultimately, we hope you will make time to care for you and your mental health in therapy. Our therapists specialize in providing individual therapy, anxiety treatment, depression treatment, relationship counseling, counseling for women’s issues, trauma treatment and PTSD treatment, and EMDR. We offer online counseling to people living in the state of Virginia. Also, we encourage you to visit our blog for more mental health tips and information. Please contact our counseling clinic to learn more about the many ways we can support you or your loved one with counseling.