No-one can fail to be moved and shocked by the tragic events of last week.The images of the innocent victims on flight MH17 have galvanised a nation and we collectively mourn their loss.
Grief is the natural response to a loss- something that has been taken away. Loss takes many forms,the most obvious being death. However, people lose hopes and dreams,they lose jobs,they lose health,they lose friends, people move and lose their security and the list goes on.
There is no one way to grieve.This is an intensely personal process with no time limit.The acclaimed psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler- Ross introduced the concept of the five stages of grief. Not everyone goes through these stages,and these stages are not sequential – everyone has an individual experience.
The Stages Kubler -Ross identified are:
1.Denial : “This can’t be happening…”
2.Anger: “How can this happen..Why is this happening….”
3.Bargaining: “If I …then it won’t happen…..”
4.Depression: “It is just so sad…”
5.Acceptance: “I have accepted that this is happening…”
As I said before, grieving is a personal experience and it can unleash a roller – coaster of emotions. It is very important to take care of yourself when grieving. Here are some suggestions:
Share your thoughts and feelings – Express your grief- Find a supportive friend or seek counselling.Suppressed grief can cause problems such as depression,anxiety and substance abuse.Talk about your memories.
Rituals help – perhaps one can find comfort in their religious observance or a ritualistic observance such as lighting memory candles.
Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel-The process will take as long as it takes.Your feelings are your own.If you want to cry do so…if you want to laugh do so also, with worrying about the judgement of others.
Look after your physical health- exercise,eating properly,can help with fatigue,sleeplessness and weight loss – all common symptoms of grief.
Grief can become depression and grief can evolve in what is known as complicated grief.If you are concerned this might be the case with yourself or a friend seek professional help.
For further information go to The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement: www.grief.org.au