Bereavement describes the sense of loss of an important person close to us. Bereavement also describes the process we go through to adjust to this significant loss.

Grief is a normal and healthy response to losing someone important to us. If you have recently experienced a loss of an important person close to you might experience some or most of the following feelings:

  • Overwhelming sorrow, pain and sadness
  • Numbness and shock
  • A sense that life has no meaning or purpose
  • Angry and/or irritation
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Tearfulness most of the time
  • Feeling tired and/or exhausted
  • Loss of pleasure in daily life
  • Mistrust of others
  • Not accepting the loss

When to seek help

If these feelings persist and do not improve over time, it could be a sign that you are struggling with complicated bereavement. Therapy / counselling can help with complicated bereavement. If you suffer from complicated bereavement you are likely to experience some or most of the following symptoms for at least six months after the loss:

  • An intense belief that you are responsible for the death or loss or that could have prevented the death or the loss
  • Bitterness or anger related to the death or loss
  • Confusion about one’s role in life, or a diminished sense of one’s identity
  • Difficulty in engaging with social or other activities and a reluctance to pursue interests
  • Difficulty in experiencing positive memories about the deceased or the loss
  • Difficulty trusting other individuals since the death or loss
  • Excessive avoidance of reminders of the loss (e.g., avoidance of individuals, places or situations associated with the deceased)
  • Experiencing disbelief or emotional numbness
  • Feeling alone or detached from other individuals
  • Feeling that life is meaningless or empty after the death or loss, or the belief that one cannot function
  • Inability to experience a positive mood
  • Marked difficulty accepting the death or loss
  • Persistent preoccupation with the death or loss

Dr Maria Pournara, Chartered Psychologist, offers bereavement counselling and can help you process different emotions assisting you to go through the bereavement process.