I am going through a weird grief where as I didn't react to being disowned when it happened, but I'm feeling the pain of it now and this is a form of grief which I'm dealing with. There is "delayed grief" if you push things aside, which I did for so long. I also think the pushing aside is why I was suddenly not only willing but determined to tell my sibling what has been bothering me for so long, triggering her reaction, which was inevitable. It's like all this was bottled up for so many years that it's all coming out now. So I looked this up and I think it could help some of you too. So here it is. Common experiences of grief While loss affects people in different ways, many people experience the following symptoms when they’re grieving. Just remember that almost anything that you experience in the early stages of grief is normal – including feeling like you’re going crazy, feeling like you’re in a bad dream, or questioning your assumptions. Shock and disbelief – Right after a loss, it can be hard to accept what happened. You may feel numb, have trouble believing that the loss really happened, or even deny the truth. If someone you love has died, you may keep expecting them to show up, even though you know they’re gone. Sadness – Profound sadness is probably the most universally experienced symptom of grief. You may have feelings of emptiness, despair, yearning, or deep loneliness. You may also cry a lot or feel emotionally unstable. Guilt – You may regret or feel guilty about things you did or didn’t say or do. You may also feel guilty about certain feelings (e.g. feeling relieved when the person died after a long, difficult illness, or feeling relieved because you had ambivalent feelings about the person). After a death, you may even feel guilty for not doing something to prevent the death, even if there was nothing more you could have done. Anger – Even if the loss was nobody’s fault, you may feel angry and resentful. If you lost a loved one, you may be angry at yourself, God, the doctors, or even the person who died for abandoning you. You may feel the need to blame someone for the injustice that was done to you. Fear – A significant loss can trigger a host of worries and fears. You may feel anxious, helpless, or insecure. You may even have panic attacks. The death of a loved one can trigger fears about your own mortality, of facing life without that person, or the responsibilities you now face alone. Physical symptoms – We often think of grief as a strictly emotional process, but grief often involves physical problems, including fatigue, nausea, lowered immunity, weight loss or weight gain, aches and pains, and insomnia. Healing from grief and loss tip 1: Get support The single most important factor in healing from loss is having the support of other people. Even if you aren’t comfortable talking about your feelings under normal circumstances, it’s important to express them when you’re grieving. Sharing your loss makes the burden of grief easier to carry. Wherever the support comes from, accept it and do not grieve entirely alone. While you may be alone for some of your grief process, grieving with others is important for most people to heal. Finding support after a loss Turn to friends and family members – Now is the time to lean on the people who care about you, even if you take pride in being strong and self-sufficient. Draw loved ones close, rather than avoiding them, and accept the assistance that’s offered. Oftentimes, people want to help but don’t know how, so tell them what you need – whether it’s a shoulder to cry on or help with funeral or break-up arrangements. Draw comfort from your faith – If you follow a religious tradition, or have a spiritual practice, embrace the comfort it can provide. Spiritual activities that are meaningful to you – such as praying, meditating, or going to sacred places – can offer solace. If you’re questioning your faith in the wake of the loss, talk to a clergy member or others in your spiritual community. Join a support group – Grief can feel very lonely, even when you have loved ones around. Sharing your sorrow with others who have experienced similar losses can help. To find a bereavement support group in your area, contact local hospitals, hospices, funeral homes, and counseling centers. Talk to a therapist or grief counselor – If your grief feels like too much to bear, call a mental health professional with experience in grief counseling. An experienced therapist can help you work through intense emotions and overcome obstacles to your grieving. Healing from grief and loss tip 2: Take care of yourself When you’re grieving, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. The stress of a major loss can quickly deplete your energy and emotional reserves. Looking after your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this difficult time. Face your feelings. You can try to suppress your grief, but you can’t avoid it forever. In order to heal, you have to acknowledge the pain. Trying to avoid feelings of sadness and loss only prolongs the grieving process. Unresolved grief can also lead to complications such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems. Express your feelings in a tangible or creative way. For example, write about your loss in a journal. If you’ve lost a loved one, write a letter saying the things you never got to say; make a scrapbook or photo album celebrating the person’s life; or get involved in a cause or organization that was important to him or her. Look after your physical health. The mind and body are connected. When you feel good physically, you’ll also feel better emotionally. Combat stress and fatigue by getting enough sleep, eating right, and exercising. Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel, and don’t tell yourself how to feel either. Your grief is your own, and no one else can tell you when it’s time to “move on” or “get over it.” Let yourself feel whatever you feel without embarrassment or judgment. It’s okay to be angry, to yell at the heavens, to cry or not to cry. It’s also okay to laugh, to find moments of joy, and to let go when you’re ready. Plan ahead for grief “triggers”. Anniversaries, holidays, and milestones can reawaken memories and feelings. Be prepared for an emotional wallop, and know that it’s completely normal. If you’re sharing a holiday or lifecycle event with other relatives or friends, talk to them ahead of time about their expectations and agree on strategies to honor the person you loved. When grief doesn’t go away It’s normal to feel sad, numb, or angry following a loss. But as time passes, these emotions usually become less intense as you accept the loss and start to move forward. If you aren’t feeling better over time, or your grief is getting worse, it may be a sign that your grief has developed into a more serious problem, such as complicated grief or major depression. Complicated grief The sadness of losing someone you love never goes away completely, but it usually loses it's spot at center stage. If the pain of the loss is so constant and severe that it keeps you from resuming your life, you may be suffering from a condition known as complicated grief. Complicated grief is being stuck in an intense state of mourning. You may have trouble accepting the death long after it has occurred or be so preoccupied with the person who died that it disrupts your daily routine and undermines your other relationships. Symptoms of complicated grief include extended: Intense longing and yearning for the lost one Intrusive thoughts or images of your loved one Denial of the loss or sense of disbelief Imagining that your loved one is alive Searching for the person in familiar places Avoiding things that remind you of your loved one Extreme anger or bitterness over the loss Feeling that life is empty or meaningless The difference between grief and depression Distinguishing between grief and depression isn’t always easy, since they share many symptoms. However, there are ways to tell the difference. Remember, grief is a roller coaster. It involves a wide variety of emotions and a mix of good and bad days. Even when you’re in the middle of the grieving process, you will have moments of pleasure or happiness. People who are depressed can sometimes be distracted from the pain for short periods, or may feel numb, but generally depression is more constant than grieving. Other symptoms that suggest depression, not just grief: Intense, pervasive sense of guilt. Thoughts of suicide or a preoccupation with dying. Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness. debilitating self-criticism Slow speech and body movements Inability to function at work, home, and/or school. Seeing or hearing things that no one else does. To learn more about the signs and symptoms of depression, see How Blue Are You?