The loss of a loved one is sometimes plus a part in diminishing mental health and self-care. It is an emotion so strong it stops all others in its tracks. It takes over your entire body; your total emotional well-being is under threat.
I know it sounds dramatic, but it’s often true. Losing a loved one, whether it’s a spouse, parent, best friend, or pet stays with you forever. As I sit here writing this, on the 1st of November, my beloved family cat, meows, after 16 years with us (80 cat years) has passed away due to health complications.
People often think that losing a pet doesn’t compare to losing a human, but it does and may for some, hurt more or entirely different. However, it got me thinking about what the correct way to deal with this kind of loss was and how to keep my mental health just as strong as before.
In studying psychology for as long as I have we are taught how to check someone off a list of symptoms to make sense of what they are dealing with, but if I’m honest, there is no set checklist for dealing with loss.
Everyone is different, feels differently and most importantly thinks differently. No two people express the same emotions, so how can we expect everyone to deal with grief and loss in the same way? One person might need a day to accept, feel, and deal with their emotions; someone else may need a week or a month.
As I sit here writing this, hoping to help at least one person dealing with loss, the only thing I want to share is this; feel your emotions, if you need to cry, cry. Don’t repress them, or deny them, feel them.
Feel them so you can grieve properly so that you can reminisce about the person or pet you have lost, so you can eventually feel better and move on from feeling so terrible it stops you from doing your day to day life. If you don’t this is how your mental health becomes weak and building that strong foundation over the years would have been for nothing.
Feel your emotions, so you can eventually experience other emotions such as empathy and happiness, and don’t carry around such negative feelings of sorrow and anger. Take as long as you need to grieve and don’t feel guilty about it or let anyone tell you you’ve had enough time because no two people grieve the same, only you know how it feels inside and only you have the strength to overcome it.
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P.S.S. Heres a video that may help:
P.S.S.S. If you need someone to talk to or immediate help see: http://www.mentalhealthcompass.com.au/helplines