Have you ever asked yourself what it means to grieve?
What is grief?
Why do we have it?
Can we feel grief without realizing it?
Can we only feel grief when someone we love dies?
How do I know if I’m experiencing grief?
Is grief the same as bereavement?
All of these questions are valid questions.
A lot of people who experience grief might not even realize that they are experiencing it as it happens.
It can sneak up on you.
You can start off feeling a bit sad, feeling off center, or even anxious and not know why.
Grief is a complicated experience.
Grief is not a single emotion.
Grief is a bunch of emotions all at once.
So, how do we define grief?
A grief definition is sought after by many, but there isn’t one universal answer out there that can accurately describe what grief is.
Merriam Webster defines grief as, “deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement.”
MedicineNet defines grief as, “The normal process of reacting to a loss. The loss may be physical (such as a death), social (such as divorce), or occupational (such as a job). Emotional reactions of grief can include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness, and despair. Physical reactions of grief can include sleeping problems, changes in appetite, physical problems, or illness.”
Okay, but what does that mean to you?
Well, it’s different for everyone, and quite frankly these two definitions don’t really answer what it means to grieve.
So, let’s try two additional definitions…
Check out this article by The Grief Recovery Method where they state, “Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior.”
Getting closer, huh?
There is another great post describing grief on love lives on where they describe four different grief definitions.
How to Choose?
So, how do you know which definition is right for you?
Well, it’s totally up to you.
Grief is a complicated mess even when you don’t suffer from it long term.
Your grief experience is your own. No one else will have the same experience as you.
It’s your journey.
It’s your story.
You can define your own grief.
Name it. Own it. Overcome it.
What did I do?
It took me 12 years to even realize I was suffering from grief.
When I realized that my constant anxiety and depression surrounded the death of my mom and never coping with my loss, everything changed.
For me my grief was a loss, but through my realization I was able to identify all the other grief types that I’ve encountered.
My personal definition of grief constantly evolves with my experiences.
So will yours.
If you’re not sure that you’re suffering from grief, take my grief quiz!
If you have questions after you take it, PLEASE email me and I’m more than happy to chat!