- Grief doesn’t just hit us when we experience a death.
- There are actually five kinds of grief that don’t involve death at all.
- They are estrangement, financial or worldly losses, illness or injury, relinquishment, and institutional losses.
- Bereavement specialist Terri Daniel explained what they all mean and how they can impact us mentally.
- Changes in sleep or diet, a feeling of powerlessness, and even physical symptoms can all be signs you are suffering with grief.
Cold, stormy weather during winter can easily negatively impact anyone’s mood. So much so, the dark and grey months can actually make us feel like we are grieving, even if we haven’t lost anyone.
Bereavement specialist Terri Daniel, author of “Grief and God: When Religion Does More Harm Than Healing,” told Insider there are actually five types of grief that don’t involve death at all, and they can come into sharper focus when we’re already feeling seasonal glumness.
“When you haven’t experienced an obvious loss such as a divorce or a death, you may not even be aware that you’re grieving,” Daniel said. “These losses can be secondary to a primary loss, or they can stand on their own.”
- There’s estrangement, where you feel a loss through a shift in the status of a friendship, romance, or family relationship.
- Financial or worldly losses, like financial security, your home going into foreclosure, or being made redundant, can all impact your stability.
- A life-changing illness or injury could lead to a loss of physical wellbeing. For example, losing the ability to walk or drive.
- Relinquishment, which is a chosen loss, like giving up smoking or breaking up with someone.
- Finally, there’s institutional losses, where a social system such as a church or your company fails to live up to its promises to protect or look after you.
“If you’re facing a serious medical procedure in the new year, or if you’re concerned about layoffs at work, problems in your marriage or the state of national politics, all of these things can trigger a grief response,” said Daniel.
“You may be feeling sad, angry or powerless, or you’ve lost interest in activities that once made you happy. Maybe you’re experiencing changes in sleep or dietary habits, having bad dreams or even physical symptoms. All of these can indicate a hidden grief.”
Some people isolate themselves when they feel this way, or try to numb the pain with drugs and alcohol.
If you suspect this is what you’re doing, Daniel said you should talk to someone you trust about loss and how you’re coping with it.
“If you think grief is at the core of your discomfort, a counselor who is specifically trained in bereavement can be helpful,” she said. “Be aware that not all counselors have this training. You can call your local hospice for a grief counselor referral.”