For those who are learning to cope with a mental illness and feeling stressed out, loving relationships play a key role in their path to their recovery. If a loved one passes away during that process, it can feel like a devastating setback. However, there are things you can do to support your grieving process and maintain your strides towards recovery.
Strategies for Dealing with the Death of Someone Close to You
While everyone’s journey through grief is unique, in general it tends to be like floating down a stream that passes five distinct milestones. First is denial, where we refuse to accept what has happened. Then comes anger that is often expressed as “Why me?” Next is bargaining, where we are consumed with the idea that we’d do anything to have the person back. Then we move into depression, where we experience intense despair. Finally, we reach acceptance.
It’s important to progress through these stages, especially since intense grief can have an almost paralyzing effect. You have to fight the urge to do nothing by continuing your momentum toward healing. Here are some positive steps you can take that honor the memory of your loved one and help you get well at the same time:
- Get or continue counseling. If you are not yet working with a counselor to address your mental illness, now is an ideal time to get connected. If you have been in counseling, you should continue with it even if your grief makes it harder to leave the house to attend sessions. Your loved one would surely want you to stay on the path to recovery.
- Reach out to others. Trauma like the loss of a loved one can make us feel like retreating and cutting ties with family and friends. However, it’s important that you do the exact opposite. While it may be difficult to face people when you are in mourning, sharing your grief can be very cathartic and healing. Even just sitting quietly with someone as you both process what has happened can be comforting.
- When you reach a point where you are a little less stressed out and have the energy to engage with others, consider volunteering. The death of a loved one can leave us feeling powerless. Helping others reminds you that you have the power to make a positive difference in the world.
- Actively look for ways to be happy. Take some time to do things you enjoy, even if at first it feels like you are just “going through the motions.”
You Can Make it Through This
Drawing on your natural strengths and with the right support, you can survive this tragedy and continue your path toward better mental health and greater happiness. And we can help. Contact us online at communityreachcenter.org or by phone at 303-853-3500 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We have centers in the northside Denver metro area including the cities of Thornton, Westminster, Northglenn, Commerce City and Brighton.