by Jessica Miller
Many individuals worldwide are eligible to express with a tremendous amount of emotion their experience of witnessing either a friend, loved one, or even a stranger pass away right in front of them. This can be a very traumatic ordeal; however, being someone who has an understanding with this topic, I believe it is crucial to explain the overall coping methods involved. I find often, many are not informed properly with how to grieve in these circumstances resulting in a long journey of suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
My mom witnessed the passing of her father right in her arms. I remember in vivid detail the story she told me of what she saw and how it truly impacted her life. Constantly in fear of dying, my mom and I made a vast amount of trips to the emergency room concluding with results that she was fine. If you are on the other side of this situation, you will never truly understand what a person goes through both mentally and physically. The constant panic, worry, and possibility that death may be closer than you realize, when in all actuality, it is just mind over matter. The extensive amount of doctors, nurses, psychologists, and psychiatrists that I have encountered over my three year experience with helping my mom overcome her anxiety, I never really received a proper answer on strategic methods to help my mom cope properly. This is a detrimental problem and something that needs to be discussed about in extensive detail.
I have been responsible for comprehending a colossal amount of information in order to be not only informed, but to also be the best daughter I could to my mom during her time of need. It is not only challenging having to constantly witness my mom going through these difficult incidents, but it is also frustrating not being able to help. The amount of questions I have had to ask, the amount of answers I have had to remember, and the amount of patience I needed to enforce, can truly change you as a person quickly. You are eligible to finally come to terms with having to format your own plan that can be both effective and strategic for yourself and this is exactly what I accomplished.
Here are some effective coping/grieving methods to practice that will result in successful and some needed relief:
- Understanding Exactly What You’re Grieving & Understanding the Differentiation of Depression and Grief: This is truly important and the first vital step one must initiate before transitioning into the next steps. Unfortunately, my mom did not understand what exactly her grief was around. By enforcing this early on, it can save you a lot of hardship; however, this can sometimes be easier said than done. You must come to terms with the exact definitions and contrasts between depression and grief. These two psychological factors may seem to connect instantly; nevertheless, they are actually quite different. In order for this to be established, immediately speak to a grief counselor or psychologist. You must do this before moving on to any other steps. I wish my mom and I had conducted this plan three years ago, this is why I am advising this advice early on. Most importantly, do not see a psychiatrist, they will not be eligible to help in the capacity of a psychologist or grief counselor.
- Forming a Relationship with the Five Stages of Grief: During your time seeking support, you will begin to discuss the “Five Stages of Grief”. These include:
- Denial: Not coming to terms with the fact that this is occurring.
- Anger: Beginning to question the “why”, “how”, “what” from this situation and initiating blame.
- Bargaining: Trying to get out of this grieving process early on by stating the hypothesis of “if” and “then”.
- Depression: Giving up on the process makes you feel a great amount of remorse.
- Acceptance: Finally coming to terms in the end of the grieving process that you will be okay and that you are happy with where you are at.
- You will begin to experience symptoms that include: nausea, headaches, shock, loss of appetite, tiredness, anger, and others that can change depending on the individual. I am informing you, these symptoms will come in stages through waves, but they will eventually pass.
- Grief may never go away, acceptance may take time, you may change as a person, but continue finding new things you are passionate about and love: It is difficult accepting the fact that change may occur and you may begin to see that in yourself; however, do not let this stop you. Being able to find new things you are passionate about and correlate to others from prior experience is really quite amazing. Here are some examples of things you can begin to pursue that will help you maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle while relieving the tension and anxiety you may experience:
- Blog or Write in a Journal: From my own personal experience, this has been a huge help in allowing me to express through written communication about my experience, my challenges, and overall my story. It is a great outlet and truly allows you to connect with more individuals on a broader spectrum.
- Exercise & Become Attuned with your Body: This is so prominent when trying to relieve any tension or anxiety that is built up. By taking better care of yourself, you start to look out for yourself through a new outlet. What you intake, portion control, how long you exercise, the intensity of your exercises, comprehending new health information are all wonderful examples of how this can be accomplished.
- Volunteer & Joining Other Organizations: Becoming involved through volunteer work or through organizations you are passionate about allows you to contribute your experience for others to learn from. Giving some of your time to others in need allows you to feel good about yourself and understand that you are vital and there is a reason that you had to go through this specific experience. I questioned for a while the reasoning behind why all of these traumatic experiences happened to me at a certain point in my life. I finally received my answer and I have been grateful ever since.
It is definitely challenging undergoing a traumatic incident or event; however, knowing you are not alone and finding different techniques that help you will ease the process. It can be a long journey, take it from me, three years of the same procedure is not easy. I am expressing to you that it will eventually and gradually ease, but do note as well that it will never go away one hundred percent. Allowing the opportunities to connect with others and stay informed to a certain extent are all beneficial too. We all will get through these challenging times in our lives and will grow from them as individuals. However, never give up!