The single most upsetting event in an individual’s life can be the death of a loved one. Whether the death is expected or sudden, grief cannot be avoided. Grieving is a necessity of loss and should never be looked upon as self-indulgence. Grieving is hard work, and it can be a very slow and tedious journey.

Grieving is a psychological process. It can be frightening to individuals, and many may secretly fear they have a mental illness. The wide range of emotions one goes through in grief can be overwhelming. While it is true that grieving individuals are candidates for mental and physical issues, the grieving process is natural and when faced these illnesses can be avoided.

Below is a list of common emotions and symptoms which accompany grief:

  • shock
  • numbness
  • bewilderment
  • vivid dreams
  • feelings of despair
  • extreme sadness
  • inability to feel pleasure
  • tense
  • restless anxiety
  • avoidance of memories
  • clinging to memories
  • anger
  • self-blame
  • inability to focus
  • forgetfulness

Everyone grieves in their own manner. The key is to move through grief and not to avoid, or become stuck, in the process. If an individual has an especially hard time coping with their grief, he or she may need the assistance of a medical professional to help them through the process.

Below is a list of emotions and symptoms which may require professional assistance:

  • hostility
  • rage
  • inability to interact
  • separation anxiety
  • avoidance of grief
  • depression
  • panic attacks
  • thoughts of suicide
  • thoughts of homicide
  • self-destructive behaviors

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Depending upon the type of loss, grief can be very mild or extremely intense. There is also no timetable for grief. However, if some progress has not been made within six months to one year, the chances are great that the individual may be stuck in their grief or in denial. It is important that grieving individuals have a support system which can monitor and watch over them during this trying time.