Loss is something every one of us experiences in our lifetime. Even though we all experience it, we may not know how to effectively cope with or grow from it. Several of the counselors at Life Skills Resource Group in Orlando are skilled in helping people learn how to do just that.
People often think about loss only in terms of the death of a significant person in their lives. The reality is that loss can also be experienced in a wide variety of other contexts, such as a missed opportunity, an “empty nest,” a job lay-off, health problems, decreased independence, a broken relationship, victimization by crime, or destruction of one’s home through fire/flood. These situations involve the loss of life-as-we-knew-it, of predictability, safety, trusted beliefs, or confidence in ourselves. People can feel a sense of loss even from positive events if they include some kind of change.
The topic is especially on my mind right now because I just had a death in my family and I am preparing for an empty nest very soon. For me, when I experience a loss, I must first actually recognize that something is gone. Even if the loss is clear-cut and obvious (as in a death), acknowledging it usually happens as a process, not an event. I can say the words, “This (job, person, role, hope, belief) is gone”, but the full realization of that takes awhile. There are many repeated moments of shock as I once again remember the reality of the loss. I also usually notice a strong wish that I could make the loss not true. While I am slowly coming to realize that I am powerless to do that, I experience emotions of sadness, frustration, anger, insecurity, etc.A sense of disorientation often sets in.
Sometimes this can all be very hard to endure. When I am grieving, I may spend periods of time just sitting and staring into space. During times of loss, it is imperative that I find ways to comfort myself, or ask others to comfort me. I must reach out for emotional support, practical help, or guidance. I must also remember that the process can take varying amounts of time, depending on the meaning of the loss.
There is hope in loss. I have learned that there is an end to the grief. I have noticed that as I allow the shock, the denial, the powerlessness, the emotions all to emerge, things shift inside me. There is an internal process that moves me through the impact of loss and its internal repercussions, and restores me to solid footing, positive emotions and beliefs, and effective, balanced functioning. Even though something important may be gone, there may also be gifts in the new reality. Part of healing is being open to seeing and receiving those gifts.
There is no magic formula for making our way through loss. Learning to notice our inner responses and identify our experience helps us begin to make sense of it, which is an important part of coping. Adjusting to loss requires developing a new sense of normalcy and being willing to accept this as the new normal, to grieve the absence of what was, and allow what now is.
For a variety of reasons, our healing processes can sometimes get hung up. At those times, it can be very helpful to seek professional help. If you have experienced a loss and feel like you may be stuck, or if you would just like to have someone to support you as you go through your normal process, please consider contacting one of the counselor at Life Skills Resource Group of Orlando. Click here to check out the Orlando counseling professionals on our team, and feel free to reach out to any of us for a FREE phone consultation.