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Grief and Loss

What is Grief?

Grief is the process you go through when you lose someone you know, whether they pass away or you relationship breaks down. Everyone reacts to loss in their own way, there is not right way to grieve. If you have lost someone you might be feeling a lot of different emotions. You might go into shock when you are first told that someone has passed away, especially if it was unexpected. Shock might make you feel numb, empty, sick or dizzy and can last for a few days or a few weeks. Everyone reacts differently to the loss of a loved one, you might feel some things, or react in a way, that seems strange. A strange reaction, like uncontrollable laughter, is just another way you are dealing with shock and you shouldn’t feel guilty about the way you react. You might not feel anything at first, but you will eventually start to feel emotions again. Check out Reachout’s common reactions to death for more information on the way people react to shock and grieve.

Watch this video from Headspace to learn more about Grief.

How does grief affect you?

Once the initial shock has worn off you will move into the grieving process, you will gradually be able to move forward with your life, but it may take a long time. The grieving process is different for everyone, and it could have some pretty big impacts on your life. People experiencing grief often:

  • Feel sad or lonely
  • Feel angry or guilty
  • Feel despair or disbelief
  • Feel confused
  • Feel physically sick- nausea, headaches and feeling tired
  • Have trouble remembering things
  • Have trouble concentrating
  • Have trouble sleeping or have dreams or nightmares
  • Lose their appetite

You might not feel like being social or doing much when you are grieving but You will gradually feel better and want to do more. It can be really hard but try to look after yourself. Give yourself the time to grieve and develop some strategies to help you cope. Talk to someone you trust about how you feel. If you don’t know who to talk to you can try your school counsellor or call Kids Helpline to speak to one of their counsellors. (You can even have an online chat if you think talking on the phone will be too hard.)

Give yourself the time and space to grieve, find a quiet place where you can be alone. Cry if you feel like crying, it’s important to let your emotions out. Write a diary or try painting or drawing, these can be really great ways to express what you’re feeling. Try and find ways to relax, watch a movie, go for a walk or read a book.

Check out Reachout’s guide to working through grief and Kids Helpline’s guide to dealing with loneliness for more strategies to help you cope.

If you are really struggling, ask for help. Tell someone that you are not coping and you need help, like a parent, teacher or school counsellor. If you’re not sure who to ask for help call Kids Helpline and speak to one of their counsellors. They will help you get through the grieving process and think of some strategies to help you cope.