Why Does Grief Come in Waves?

by Jan 2, 20230 comments

Picture yourself on a beach. The sun feels warm. The sand is cool against your bare feet. You watch as the ocean waves build and crash on the sand in front of you. It’s calming, peaceful, and tranquil.

Now, imagine yourself staring out of a window, looking at the same beach during a storm. It’s colder now. You’re cuddled up on your couch, wrapped up in a blanket. This time, you watch the waves rapidly build and violently crash, moving the sand further away. It’s scary, nerve-wracking, and almost disturbing.

Grief is kind of like this. Let’s learn more about grief and why it comes in waves.

Healing Isn’t Linear

Everyone deals with some type of grief throughout their lifetime. Even though that’s the case, it’s an emotion that is rarely discussed or understood.

There isn’t a right way or a wrong way to handle or process grief. Everyone has to process their own emotions. You don’t just wake up one day and instantly feel better. Things just don’t go back to normal with the snap of the fingers. It could take days, weeks, months, or even years to process a loss. The emotions can build like waves and hit you out of nowhere.

Change Is Hard

Loss usually comes like a wave, catching you off guard, and sweeping you off of your feet. Change isn’t something that is an easy thing to adapt to, no matter what the loss may be. Whether it may be the loss of a job, home, or loved one, grief is hard to grasp. Any type of loss can be difficult to navigate.

On top of the change that occurs, you also have to deal with internal changes like signs and symptoms as a result of the grief you’re experiencing. You may be dealing with fatigue, muscle aches and pains, racing thoughts, excessive worry, and even phobias. These changes don’t make dealing with your grief any easier. In fact, they can make the grieving process even harder than it already is.

Triggers Are Everywhere

Just when you feel you’ve grieved fully and are settling into your new normal, a trigger could bring you right back to grieving again.

Triggers are everywhere. Someone could bring up your loss in a conversation or ask you how you’re doing, which could differ from day to day. A date like their birthday, an anniversary, or a holiday could send you reminders that you thought you pushed to the back of your memory. You may even see someone on the street wearing an item of clothing they used to wear.

Acceptance Takes Time

You can’t choose a date on a calendar and predict when you’ll be okay again. The grieving process takes time. One minute you had someone or something, and the next minute they or it is gone. Accepting this new reality is no small feat. You may not want to accept the loss, or you may even be actively trying to pretend it didn’t happen. You may even forget that the loss happened and try to text, call, or reach out to them in some way.

Next Steps

If you feel like you’re drowning or that your emotions are taking over, it may be time to seek additional support. You should never feel like you’re stranded in the middle of an ocean.

You’re not alone. Help is available to you when you’re ready to accept it. We’ll help you get some air and catch your breath again by learning more about your grief and teaching you ways to just keep swimming again. Reach out to us today to set up a appointment.

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