Although grief is a natural reaction to losing someone you love, it can take its toll on a person’s mental health. Many people experience a range of symptoms during this process that can often leave them feeling bewildered and unable to cope.
Feeling depressed is completely normal for anyone who has suffered a bereavement. Over time, these feelings should not feel as intense, but in some cases people may feel that they are not improving. According to the mental health charity Mind, if the feelings are starting to interfere with your life it could be a sign that you are depressed in the medical sense of the word, so seek help from your GP.
If you have lost someone close, like a partner or a child, in some cases it can lead to suicidal thoughts. Some bereaved people may feel that they miss their loved one so much that they want to join them. This can intensify when they hear others saying the person has ‘gone to a better place’. It can make the person left behind feel there is nothing for them to live for anymore. Over time, any suicidal thoughts should diminish as the bereaved person begins to adjust to their loss.
Many people who have been bereaved may also start to feel anxious and fearful. They may worry that the same thing could happen to them, or to those close around them. They may have panic attacks if they revisit the place where the person passed away. Yet according to Age UK, it is natural to feel fearful and anxious after losing someone, as your life has inevitably been turned upside down. You are bound to feel that you have no control over your life or events, which can make feelings of anxiety worse. Over time these feelings should lessen, but if you find that you are having increasingly irrational thoughts or that your anxiety is affecting your daily life, talk your fears through with a trained professional. Since mental health and bereavement are linked, it is an area that is covered by mental health nursing jobs and other professions such as counselling or psychotherapy.
The stress of bereavement may also make mental health problems worse or cause them to occur in the first place, but there is lots of support for people out there who may feel that they are not able to cope following loss.