Are You Struggling to Process a Loss?

person's eye looking in distance

Have you recently lost someone close to you and feel unable to find a sense of meaning and purpose in your life? Or, perhaps you experienced the loss of a loved one years ago, but you still feel the heaviness of grief or struggle with difficult emotions that you don’t fully understand. It may be that a recent loss has awoken a pain you’ve been carrying for a long time, and now your grief feels compounded and unbearable. You may think about the person you’ve lost all the time, wondering why this had to happen and questioning if you could have done anything differently. Perhaps you feel angry, guilty and deeply sad, as well as confused by and stuck in the ongoing stages of grief. Do you feel overwhelmed by the thought of facing the future without your loved one? Do you wish you could find a way to heal and move forward while honoring the memory of the person you’ve lost?

Losing a loved one is never easy. If you were a personal caregiver over the course of a long illness, you may now feel empty and confused, unsure how to fill your days or complete even the simplest tasks. Or perhaps you are a professional caregiver, and grief after death has you doubting your profession and longing to talk to someone who understands the emotional challenges of your job. You may feel as though you’ve not only lost your client, but also an entire “adopted” family. It might be that you are a senior who has witnessed many people pass over the years, and you’re now feeling alone and afraid as you grapple with your own aging and mortality. Regardless of your particular situation, it might be difficult to get through the day. Perhaps you’ve begun isolating yourself from others and avoiding activities you used to enjoy, especially those that remind you of your loved one. It may be that you can rarely summon the energy to take care of yourself or engage with life. Even when you do, you may feel as though you are betraying your loved one. Maybe you just feel utterly lost and alone.

You Are Not Alone

Loss can seem incredibly isolating, especially if you feel that you aren’t coping with loss the “correct” way. In truth, there is no right or wrong way to grieve, and it’s completely normal to experience a wide range of conflicting emotions after the loss of a loved one. While loss is a shared human experience, each individual goes through the stages of grief in a unique, personal way. It’s not easy to adjust to life without the person you cared about, especially if he or she was with you every day. You have gone through an enormous life change that is universally challenging and fraught with unexpected feelings, memories and fears about the future.

It’s also completely normal to find old feelings of grief resurging, especially if a recent loss reminds you of a grief you felt before. If you never had the chance to heal, or if you attempted to push down all of the difficult feelings to take care of others or continue moving forward, it makes sense that this pain is still there.

No matter what you’ve gone through, it’s okay to take care of yourself. Grief therapy can offer you the opportunity to feel heard and understood. It is possible to develop new ways to care for yourself and honor your loved one’s memory throughout your life.

With Grief Counseling, You Can Create Meaning in Your Life Again

Therapy is dedicated time for you to express and process any and every difficult emotion without fear of judgment. As an experienced, compassionate grief counselor, I will sit with you and validate your experience, helping you better understand the stages of grief and work through complicated feelings as they arise. There is no wrong way to grieve, and as we work together, I will help you both accept your emotions without self-criticism and find healthy, gentle ways to alleviate your pain.

It’s very common to feel guilty about engaging in self-care as you cope with loss, especially if you fear that happiness and pleasure are betrayals of your loved one. You might feel as though you “should” grieve forever. In safe, supportive sessions, I will help you investigate why you feel guilty and help you find ways to move forward without feeling as though you are leaving your loved one behind. We can discuss meaningful things you can do to both honor your loved one’s memory and take small steps back into life. And, we can identify and explore long-term goals and create a plan that allows you to pursue them while still acknowledging how your life has changed. If you are struggling to take care of yourself during this challenging time, I can help you develop nurturing self-care strategies and start to believe that it’s okay to prioritize your needs.

During grief counseling, we can also talk about navigating triggers that overwhelm you with pain. I can also offer you resources to assist you with any practical concerns you might be facing, such as funeral arrangements. And, as appropriate, we can investigate the covert ways grief may be affecting your day-to-day life (sometimes years after a loss), including your work performance and your relationships. For example, if you are feeling irritable and angry with others but don’t quite know why, we can identify the root cause of emotions and help you find relief. But, for the most part, I will sit with you and create space for anything you need during this difficult time.

Although your world has undergone a profound change, you are still here, and it is possible to lead a fulfilling, happy life. There is nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy life again. Whatever you’re feeling now is perfectly normal, and there is a way to work through it and find peace. I am here to help. 

You may still have questions or concerns about grief therapy…

Will you tell me to take medication?

Many people worry about taking medication because they feel that grief is, by definition, temporary. As a therapist, I do not prescribe medication, and I will not push it on anyone who does not want it. However, if you feel that medication could help you through the grieving process, I will support your choice and connect you with a psychiatrist. And, I will not judge you for either choice.

I’m supposed to feel sad right now. Why do I need grief counseling?

It’s true that sadness is a normal reaction to a loss. However, because sadness is expected, it can be difficult to distinguish between expected sadness and prolonged grief. And, there is a limit to the amount of pain anyone can handle on his or her own. It’s okay to feel anxious, depressed, angry and more, but if those feelings are continuing to disrupt your daily life, then it may be time to seek professional support. There is never anything wrong with seeking help whenever you’re suffering.

Everyone goes through loss. Why am I the only one who can’t handle this?

You may feel as though you have to go through this loss alone, especially if it seems like those around you are coping or mourning “better” than you are. In truth, however, everyone grieves differently, and it’s possible that those who seem stable and together are also seeking help. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out for extra guidance and support, and it can be profoundly relieving to talk about your experience with an objective, understanding grief therapist. The pain you are experiencing is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it demonstrates that you are human. All of us need help at times.

I invite you to call me at (917) 765-4743 for a free phone consultation. We can discuss your concerns, and I can answer any questions you have about grief counseling and my practice in New York, NY.