Writing about mental health is a passion for me and I have never seen it as a job, more a privilege, that I am in a position to impart knowledge and experience to others in hope some things may resonate with them and make a real difference.
Recently, I received a message from a close friend telling me he had lost his teenage son suddenly.
I felt that immediate shock, incredible sadness and numbness.
I immediately found myself moving away from my role as a counsellor, instead trying to immerse myself in being a friend and also being me.
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Working with bereavement as a therapist is very different to handling it personally.
You will often hear people say that words are of little comfort in times like these, and the truth is this is often the case.
One of the most challenging parts of the whole process is moving through the initial shock.
Accompanying the sorrow is often a disbelief at what has happened, where you are desperately trying to find an explanation and seek answers.
The shock is firmly planted in the denial stage and often symbolises the beginning of the bereavement process.
We all handle grief differently and there really isn’t one specific way to do so.
What works for one individual may not work for another – the emphasis needs to be in finding what works for you.
Sadly, it is a process, a journey, and therefore by this very notion, not an instant. I have been asked as a therapist how long the grieving process should last.
The day I provide a definitive answer to that question will be the day I hold my last session as quite simply therapist or not, nobody has that answer.
What I can say is to allow yourself time to move through the process. Be kind to yourself and understand it’s ok to feel what you are feeling. It’s ok to cry, to shout, to feel angry, and to feel cheated.
It’s also ok to laugh and to smile because ultimately it is these moments that will help you to move through the grief. It’s ok to lean on people.
Everything you feel is ok, because ultimately it is you who is experiencing your situation and nobody else.
Give yourself time and accept there will be a grieving period. Find what works for you.
This article is dedicated to James Rogers, all of the love and warmth he shared, and the lives he touched.
To Dale, Di and Casey, my thoughts, prayers and love are with you all at this unimaginably painful time.
For more help and advice visit www.jasonhansoncounselling.com