Have you ever felt like your heart was broken but did not know why?  This could be due to unresolved grief.

When a loved one dies, we grieve, but then over time, we heal. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. Sometimes we have to deal with unresolved issues due to the grief we went through. It just doesn’t make sense now, does it? Everyone dies at some point, so why can’t we move on? I know I’m personally having a problem with this as well. It’s definitely something we want to soothe and heal properly.

But first, what is unresolved grief?

As time passes, the intensity of your grief should naturally lessen. You may be able to function more easily and return to your normal eating and sleeping patterns. Over more time, many people return to their normal daily routines even, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have unresolved grief hiding in the background.

Unfortunately, unresolved grief can show up unexpectedly in a very negative way. It has been known to affect current and future relationships in those who may not have completed the necessary passages of grief.

After a significant emotional loss such as death or end of a romantic relationship, people alter their life choices to protect their hearts from being hurt again. Have you ever done that?

I have, and I want you to know that it is okay. And I encourage working toward a resourceful solution, as it is the key to managing it effectively. It’s important to become familiar with some signs of unresolved grief in this post.

Warning signs that you are experiencing unresolved grief.

1. Appetite changes

When someone close to us passes away, we hardly notice our appetite changes. As time goes by, we may start to overeat, or not eat much at all.

I have seen people lose 20-30 lbs in just a month or two. This has happened to me as well. It’s difficult to explain exactly why we do this, but I can surmise that we are trying to use food as a balm for our pain, or maybe sometimes just a distraction. During the stages of grief, we might see this as part of denial.

2. Difficulty concentrating

Loved ones that were especially close to us will leave a hole where they used to be. Now, this hole, over time, will slowly fill with loving memories and warm feelings. At least, this is what’s supposed to happen.

Honestly, this can take years to happen if someone was a mother, child or mate. We will notice that it has become difficult to concentrate on anything without thinking of our loved one. We may start to fail classes, forget appointments, and even have trouble at work. It can take over every corner of our minds.

3. Sleep problems

When we lose loved ones, we may experience sleep problems. It could be that we sleep too much or we suffer from insomnia. It’s similar to our eating disorders when going through unresolved grief. We may also experience nightmares, or dreams where we are with our loved ones, just to awake and they are not there. Our realization when waking can hurt horribly once again.

4. Nauseating sadness

If we haven’t’ been able to get over the loss of a loved one, there could be stages of nauseating sadness. This sadness generally comes from anxiety. If the deceased was someone who was always there for you, and someone you could talk to, your anxiety levels will peak at times causing nausea, a sick stomach paired with sadness. It’s the worst feeling.

5. Inability to talk

Some people just cannot talk about the death of their friend or loved one. It’s too painful for them, or they are still in the stages of denial. Did you know that denial can last long past the time you thought you were okay? Many people will keep to themselves and refuse to even mention their loved one’s name. This is incredibly sad.

6. Not thinking

Like some people who stop talking about their loved ones, others will push their loved ones completely out of their minds. It seems easier for them to pretend that the deceased never existed. It’s not because they are being cruel, but simply trying to keep from completely breaking down.

Look, death can be horrendous for some people, while others can handle it well. For those who don’t wish to think of their loved ones, the deceased must have meant a lot to them.

7. Avoiding things

When someone you love dies, you attempt to heal. Some people do well with this and go back to their routine in life. Others will avoid doing anything because they feel stuck in the moment of death. This means avoiding places, people, things, and even losing jobs over their inability to return to work. Avoidance is another form of denial.

8. Not accepting any negative

Then you have some people who only want to talk about all the positive things in life, including all the good accomplishments of their deceased loved one. But there is never a moment for tears, or never a time to get angry for them. It’s as if they refuse to let any negative emotions emerge.

I’m going to tell you this, not accepting the negative with the positive can cause severe damage to your health. Eventually, you will hit the bottom, and all that positive thinking will crash. Grieving will be worse, than if you’d grieved earlier.

9. Fall back into routine

Yes, you should eventually return to routine. But here’s the other side of the coin: You should also allow yourself a bit of downtime to feel the pain. Yes, I said it. You have to feel the pain in order to heal from the pain. So, returning immediately to your ordinary life wouldn’t be the best thing to do. If you’re doing this, it’s definitely unresolved issues with grief.

10. Stop getting close to people

Unresolved grief can also make you turn cold toward others. The one you lost was so close to you that you refuse to hurt like that again. So, what do you do? You close yourself off from everybody else. There is healing to be done with the death of your loved one, and you’ve obviously not completed this cycle.

Yes, you can get through this in a healthy way.

Is your life forever changed after grief or a loss? Yes, it can be. Managing your grief is a good thing, but you don’t have to live the rest of your life in pain due to unresolved grief.

Imagine thinking about someone who died, or an ex, without feeling broken-hearted. Imagine living and loving to the fullest. What would that be like for you?

It can be done! I have done it and so can you! Seek out ways to manage your unresolved grief and watch the way you move forward to improve your joy, fulfillment, and life.

References:

  1. https://medlineplus.gov
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org
Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

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