Caregivers care for family members who cannot care for themselves due to illness, disability, or aging. They provide emotional, physical, and financial support to their loved ones, including spouses, adult children, siblings, or other relatives. While the role of a caregiver can be fulfilling, it can also be challenging and stressful. A part of the job of most caregivers is grief. The mental health of caregivers and how they deal with grief is a subject that has been neglected for a long time. Grief is a normal response to loss, including the demise of a loved one or a severe and long-term illness, but long-term sadness can seriously negatively impact mental health.
Caregivers can experience two types of grief:
1.Anticipatory grief during their loved one's illness, and
2.Grief after their loved one passes away..
Stages of Grief
Over the years, psychologists have identified stages of grief that individuals usually experience. There are generally 5 stages of Grief that a person goes through in grief, and understanding these stages can support caregivers on how to deal with grief. The 5 stages of grief are:
1. Denial: During this phase, the person experiences a sense of astonishment and disbelief about the occurrence of the loss. They may attempt to reject or ignore the actuality of what has happened.
2. Anger: During this phase, the person may experience hostility and bitterness towards the individual or circumstances responsible for the loss. These feelings can be directed towards oneself or others.
3. Bargaining: During this stage, the person experiences a longing to strike deals or agreements to undo or alleviate the effects of the loss. They may pledge or attempt to negotiate with higher authority or other individuals.
4. Depression: During this phase, the person may feel intense sorrow, despair, and hopelessness. This can result in the person isolating themselves from others and losing interest in activities they once enjoyed.
5. Acceptance: During this phase, the person acknowledges and accepts the truth of the loss and seeks to find a way to continue living their life. This does not necessarily imply that the individual has completely recovered from the loss but that they have learned to accept it and find significance in their encounters.
Dealing with Grief
It's essential to know how to manage grief. The person going through trauma should know how to deal with grief to be in a better mental health position.
1. Recognize your Feelings: One of the first steps in coping with grief is to recognise and accept your emotions. Many individuals believe they must be rigid and unwavering, yet doing so might harm their mental health. Suppressing emotions can result in physical symptoms like headaches or stomach issues and feelings of anxiety, despair, and stress. Crying, being furious, or feeling various other emotions is acceptable. An essential step to managing grief is allowing yourself to experience your feelings.
2. Seek Support: A form of support is essential when dealing with a stressful situation. Help could come from anywhere: family, a friend, or a counselor. Talking to someone gives a feeling of comfort to an individual.
3. Positive Thinking: While grieving can be a painful and tiring experience, it's crucial to remember the happy times and memories you had with the person you were caring for. You can grieve your loss and find solace in the middle of your sadness by reflecting on the good times.
We must prioritize the mental health of caregivers. Grief is a natural and intricate feeling, and it's normal to encounter a variety of emotions as you cope with your loss. Over time, with the help of others and by taking care of yourself, you can overcome the difficulties of grief and discover a path to move on.
If you're dealing with grief and seeking outside help, get connected with Solh Wellness. At Solh Wellness, we have personalized mental health solutions according to the individual's needs. On our special segment of Solh Talks this week, we have Asha Devi (mother of Nirbhaya). A gut wrenching talk about the insights of her life after losing her daughter and how she deals with grief.