Grief: Grieving Around the Holidays

Grief: Grieving Around the Holidays

By Emily Ferrer

As the weather gets colder, the colorful leaves fall off the trees, and the holiday decorations start to light up the night, the feeling of the best time of the year starts to kick in. As merry and cozy as these holidays seem to be, they do not always have the same effect on everyone. Grieving around the holidays can feel extremely lonely, sad, and overwhelming. The first holiday season is always the hardest for individuals and families who have just lost someone close to them, such as a grandparent, parent, sibling, child, or other close relative that they would usually see during the holidays. The empty chair at the dining table during Thanksgiving, or the wonder of who is going to make the Christmas cookies this year can be extremely heartbreaking. Even after you feel as if you have started to feel better through your grieving process, the holidays can dig up more emotion than you have felt since losing your loved one. You may start to feel more down, tired, unmotivated, sluggish, and lonely. You may also start to get flashbacks of your loved one when they passed that may also make you feel as if you are grieving from the beginning all over again. As hard as the holiday season may be for grieving individuals and families, here are some tips to help make your holiday season a bit brighter this year[1]:

  • Surround yourself with people you love and care about. Being with a big group of people during the holidays after losing a loved one can help you feel less lonely and can also be a great opportunity to share stories about your loved one with your family.
  • Do not “cancel” the holiday. As tempting as it may be to forget about the holidays after losing your loved one it is important to keep it going and grieve along the way. Experiencing the holiday season after the death of a loved one is part of the grieving process from which you should not run away.
  • Create new traditions. Finding new traditions can also be a create way to cope during the holiday season. This can include changing the location of where holiday dinner is hosted, picking new family members to carve the turkey or make the Christmas cookies, or even coming up with a new holiday game to play to fill the emptiness that everyone may feel.
  • Practice self-care. Try not to indulge in alcohol or drugs during the holiday season to cope with your grief; instead, try journaling, spending time with friends, or physical activity to boost your mood. It is also important to let yourself feel any emotions that arise and to not fight the conflicting feelings of anger, sadness, joy, and happiness.
  • Seek professional help. It is important to be aware of your feelings during such a difficult time and recognize that if the holiday season is too much for you to handle to seek professional help to assist you during this challenging period.

If you or someone you know is struggling with grief this holiday season and wants help, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com


Sources:

[1] https://www.vitas.com/family-and-caregiver-support/grief-and-bereavement/holidays-and-grief/coping-with-grief-during-the-holidays

Grief: When to Seek Grief Counseling

Grief: When to Seek Grief Counseling

By: Julissa Acebo


The five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) are normal. When grief becomes unbearable, therapy can help ease the pain and help you progress.


10 signs that indicate you should seek grief counseling:

  1. You’re having suicidal thoughts and/or persistent feelings of depression.
  2. You’re experiencing ongoing symptoms of distress, such as crying, insomnia, loss of appetite, increased irritability, anger, and panic attacks.
  3. Struggling to complete everyday tasks, including basic self-care.
  4. You frequent familiar places, hoping to see your departed loved one there, or avoid locations and situations that may remind you of your loss.
  5. You’re abusing substances like alcohol or drugs, or engaging in addictive behaviors, like gambling.
  6. You’re withdrawn and avoiding social interaction.
  7. You have no support system.
  8. You’re feeling bereavement guilt, possibly blaming yourself for your loved one’s death or grappling with regret about your relationship with the deceased.
  9. You’ve “moved on” a little too well.
  10. Grief interferes with your work.

How grief counseling can help:

  • Allows you to express your emotions
  • Help you address any feelings of guilt you may harbor
  • Help you come to terms with your new reality
  • Help you deal with your trauma

If you or someone you know is experiencing Unbearable Grief please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

Sources:
https://www.psycom.net/stages-of-grief

https://www.gwic.com/Education-Center/Grief-Support/13-signs-you-should-seek-grief-counseling

Grief: Losing a Parent to Suicide

Grief: Losing a Parent to Suicide

By Emily Ferrer

Suicidal thoughts are one of the most dreadful experiences one can go through and it is even more dreadful when the act of suicide is carried out by someone you love. The impact of suicidal thoughts on an individual is grueling, painful, and terrifying. However, many people tend to forget about the terrifying and painful part that the individual’s family and friends go through as well. The attention around suicide is always so focused on the suicidal individual that many people forget about the impact it can have on their loved ones. In fact, have you ever thought about losing a parent to suicide? It may seem horrifying and extraordinary; but it is more common than you think. Individuals who are at most risk to die by suicide are adults over the age of 45. More specifically, women are most at risk between the ages of 45-54 and men are most at risk ages 85 and older[1]. Many people may find this shocking, as the media portrays suicide rates to be the most high in adolescents and teens, but this is just not the case. Older individuals usually have undiagnosed or untreated depression and anxiety, a lack of frequent social interactions, suffer from underlying illnesses that may increase their attempt to be more successful, and/or suffer from chronic illnesses that may increase their depression and anxiety[2].

As saddening as these statistics are, it is even worse to see that between 7,000 and 12,000 children lose a parent to suicide every year[3]. It is devastating for children to experience such a traumatic event in their lives, especially someone they loved, admired, and relied on unconditionally. Losing a parent to suicide is not like normal grief that you experience after losing someone to a physical illness or accident. Losing a parent to suicide is grieving on steroids. “Grief comes in waves and grief from suicide comes in tsunami waves”, is great quote that explains how dreadful suicide grief can feel. Children of parents who died by suicide can experience an enormous range of emotions that can cause them to feel very confused. These emotions include[4]:

  • Shock                              – Panic                                       – Despair
  • Confusion                       – Intense anger                          – Disgust
  • Denial                             – Intense sadness                      – Feelings of abandonment or rejection

It is important to know that losing a parent to suicide is extremely unfortunate and traumatic. The emotions tied to suicide grief are understandable and completely normal. Staying close to family and friends during such a difficult time is crucial and can enormously help with healing. It is also critical to feel the emotions you experience and to not turn them away as it is a part of the healing process. Seeking professional help if you are feeling overwhelmed with these emotions or experiencing them for a long time is also is a good way to heal in the healthiest way possible.

If you or someone you know is grieving a lost one due to suicide, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com


Sources:

[1] https://www.samhsa.gov/suicide/at-risk#:~:text=Adults%20Over%20the%20Age%20of%2045&text=Eighty%20percent%20of%20all%20deaths,and%20access%20to%20lethal%20means.

[2] https://www.prb.org/resources/in-u-s-who-is-at-greatest-risk-for-suicides/

[3] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/children_who_lose_a_parent_to_suicide_more_likely_to_die_the_same_way#:~:text=In%20the%20United%20States%2C%20each,to%20suicide%2C%20the%20researchers%20estimate.

[4] https://psychcentral.com/lib/an-open-letter-to-children-who-lose-a-parent-to-suicide#mental-health-effects

Suicide: What is Suicide Grief?

Suicide: What is Suicide Grief

By Lynette Rivas

At some point in almost everyone’s life, they will experience losing a loved one, which can then be followed by grief. But what about losing your loved one to suicide? This type of grief is known as suicide grief, where an individual feels both despair and guilt after losing a loved one to suicide.

It is important to note that not everyone experiences grief in the same way or for the same amount of time. The intensity and the complexity of grief are determined by the relationship with the person that died, how the death occurred, any existing coping strategies, and if support is available. 

Suicide grief can be a period of intense emotions for some people. These include emotions such as shock, guilt, anger, confusion, and/or despair. These emotions can even be accompanied by nightmares, flashbacks, social withdrawal, difficulty concentrating, and/or loss of interest. Anyone that is experiencing grief should keep in mind that it is important to:

  • Keep in touch – reaching out to loved ones, friends, and spiritual leaders
  • Grieve in your own manner – everyone does not grieve in the same way
  • Do not rush yourself – grieving can be as short as a few days to as long as a couple of months

If the grief is too much to bear and becomes too intense, then it is time to turn to a mental health provider for help. Unresolved grief can become difficult over time to the point where the individual is no longer able to go back to their normal life. If the individual thinks that they might be unusually depressed, it is important that they seek professional mental health help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with grief please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/end-of-life/in-depth/suicide/art-20044900

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/suicide-prevention/after-a-suicide-loss/suicide-and-grief#:~:text=Grief%20in%20response%20to%20suicide,the%20stigma%20associated%20with%20suicide.

Image Source:

https://time.com/6117708/grief-isolation/