Grieving doesn’t make you imperfect. It makes you human.
It’s one of our most universal human experiences. And one of our least understood.
As a society, we don’t tend to talk openly about grief.
Confusion, shame, and needless suffering in silence.
To help clarify our understanding of the grief process, and celebrate our new support group for those experiencing grief (see below for info), we’re kicking off a new blog series on the topic.
Today we’re debunking 5 grief myths:
1. Grief improves consistently with time.
This is perhaps the most prevalent grief myth of all. You’ve heard it said, surely: “Time heals all wounds.” But, in reality, grief doesn’t adhere to a specific timeline. For some of us, the process of working through our response to a particular loss might happen more quickly than we expect; for others, it can be a lifelong adjustment. What matters most is what we do with the time it takes. Ask yourself: How can I use this time to connect myself with the space, support, and anything else I might need?
2. Talking about grief intensifies it.
Sometimes the pain we experience is already so great that it can feel unbearable. So, it makes sense that we’d want to avoid anything that might worsen the pain even further. Unfortunately, the belief that avoiding grief will lessen the pain is one of those grief myths that actually prevents us from receiving the care we deserve. With the right support, reflecting on and talking about what you’re experiencing can be a helpful and healing part of the process.
3. Getting angry doesn’t help anything.
One of the most harmful grief myths you might have encountered has to do with labeling certain emotional responses as “bad,” “unproductive,” or even “pointless”. Anger, for example, often gets a bad rap in the context of grief. Truth is, allowing yourself the freedom to really feel your own genuine emotions without judging them is a gift you can give yourself throughout the grief process.
4. Grief always begins with a loss of life.
When you encounter the word “grief”, chances are you associate it with the loss of a human life. (That tends to be what most of us think of.) But, grief can occur in the context of many different circumstances– not solely the death of someone close to you. By expanding your definition of grief to include the loss of roles, relationships, possessions, and so on, you can deepen your understanding of how natural a part of life it is. And you might also be more likely to identify the presence of grief in your own life when you experience it.
5. Grief always results from a negative event.
Of all the grief myths out there, this is perhaps the most perplexing. You can’t have grief without something bad happening, right? Not necessarily. From relationship milestones to work promotions to birthdays, retirements, and even vacations, life is filled with “positive” events that can also bring stress. Some of our happiest moments are inextricably linked to a loss of some kind, which can elicit a natural grief response.
Looking for Support Coping with Grief?
We’re pleased to announce a new group, hosted by Alejandra Aschittino-Rodriguez, LADC, Post-Master’s Fellow.
Spring can be especially challenging when you are grieving. As the weather warms and the earth begins to blossom, feelings of sadness and depression can deepen as those around you seem happier and excited to enjoy the warmer weather. Our pain can intensify as the change of season brings on memories of the people who are no longer with us or of times when we were happier.
This group at Sonder Behavioral Health and Wellness is a place to create a community to connect with, to work through grief with and to support one another along the way. The group will provide you with a safe space to better understand your unique grief and to develop coping strategies to address the psychological and social impacts grief can have in your life. The group is for anyone who has lost a loved one OR who has gone through a change in their life that has caused them to be unsure about who they are or their place in the world.
This group will run Mondays (5:30pm to 7:00pm) beginning March 9th and ending April 27th.
Space is limited. If you’re interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi! My name is Alejandra Aschittino-Rodriguez, and I will be running this group. I am a licensed counselor with a Master of Arts in Addiction and Mental Health Counseling from the University of Minnesota.
I have extensive education and experience in grief counseling, including working with adults, adolescents, couples, and families in a private practice setting, creating an intensive training program around grief associated with COVID-19, and participating in a research project examining the effects culture has on grief.
I am excited to walk with you in this journey.
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Did any of these grief myths surprise you? Looking for a safe place to process one-on-one?