In the wake of the tragic plane crash that took place yesterday, claiming the lives of 47 people, a wave of despair and grief swept across the entire country. Amongst the outpouring of support, people have also been vocal about the agony and torment that they have had to experience. Such is the nature of loss. No matter what background, social class or age you belong to, profound loss and grief can strike you when you least expect it. The cause of such grief can range anywhere from death, major accidents, substance abuse, cardiac arrest to suicide. Only a few people engage in individual counseling or professional support groups to deal with this issue. Others do not even consider these options. Some individuals seek help within days of their loss while others can even wait up to decades before contemplating about finding assistance.
Arman Ahmed has done his MS in Clinical Psychology from Government College University, Lahore. He is also an alumni of Forman Christian College and Aitchison College Lahore. His research work includes experimental studies on concepts of emotion regulation, empathy and threatened egotism. His interests also extend to topics in the sphere of social psychology such as locus of control and superstitions.
Editor: Arman Ahmed
Whatever the case might be, it is apparent that everyone does not respond to loss or grief in a particular fashion. There are usually 8 common questions that people pose about grief and loss.
1. “I do not believe that I will ever get over the death of my loved one. What do you suggest I do?”
You do not need to overcome the death of a loved one. What is needed is for you to rethink the way in which you perceive this tragedy. Death is permanent, and rather than yearning for things to get back to the way they were, you should focus simply on trying to move past your loss. Life continues to go on after the loss of a significant one in your life, but you have to make an effort to gracefully accept the reality and deal with it in an adaptive manner. Being debilitated by the grief would serve no purpose except prolonging the suffering.
2. “It has been years since the death of my loved one. Why don’t I feel any better?”
Emotional healing works in a completely different way from physical healing. There is not an estimated time or rate of healing for grief. Such healing usually takes place in small chunks. Grief typically has many layers that one needs to work through. Our most recent grief may be connected to a pass event, and you may not even realize that you are currently dealing with more than a single issue. The way to evaluate your progress is to ask yourself some basic questions. Following the grief inducing incident have there been periods of time, where you have been able to focus on things other than your loss? Are there any times where you laugh and feel better about yourself? One thing that can help you is to stop being overly critical about yourself. Learn to be compassionate with yourself and take things easier.
3. “I have never revealed this to anyone, not even my therapist, but I feel I cannot go living on without my partner. I feel suicidal. How can I go on?
A lot of people live with such feelings even years after their love one has passed away. Seeking professional help and being completely honest about your feelings is the best way out of this situation. Assuming that your therapist knows how you feel is a critical mistake. You have to open up, be honest about your pain and anguish. Tell your therapists about your suicidal thoughts and ideations as elaborately as you can so that help can be provided promptly.