Grief, one of the most confusing emotions that we experience. When we are in the thick of it, we feel that we are completely alone and that no one can possibly understand how we feel. Although there is some truth to that, the other truth is that 100% of people on the planet are grievers. Everyone will experience grief in their lifetime whether it be from the death of a loved one, a relationship ending, a chronic illness, moving, losing a job, or even just changing jobs. All of these things can create the emotion of grief and most of us don't even know what is happening while we are in it.
In 2010 I was let go from a job without cause. It was devastating to me. I had never been fired before and they didn't tell me why I was being let go, just that I wasn't a good fit. What really happened is that someone else who was better friends with management wanted my job, so they let me go and gave it to her. Yes, this was wrongful termination, yes this company faced several wrongful termination lawsuits that year but I did not have it in me to make a claim. Why? You might ask, I was in the throws of grief and I had no idea that I was and it sent me into a deep depression.
I was grieving, I was depressed and everyone around me just thought I was being lazy. The reality was that my world was shattered and I didn't even know it. Grief can make us behave in strange ways and have strange reactions. I say strange not meaning weird, I mean it as out of the ordinary. It can cause us to lose focus, motivation, drive, it can cause sleep disturbances, eating disturbances, it can cause you to walk from room to room of your house not remembering why you are there, and it can cause anxiety and depression.
There is a lot of people out there whos depression and anxiety are a result of unresolved grief, from personal experience I can say that this grief experience totally changed who I was. Plus, because it was not recognized as grief no one asked me if I was ok, people just kept asking me when I was going to look for another job.
In the end, I ended up coming out of it, but it took me almost a year to start feeling better. Then, 11 years later my Dad died and this grief experience took me right over the edge. I cried so much that I got a horrible rash on my face, I only worked because I had to and I didn't even know who I was anymore. I began to experience suicidal thoughts and life felt really pointless. Luckily, I had some good friends who recognized that I was not doing well and told me that I should go to therapy. When I met this therapist for the first time she asked the age old question " What brings you here?" I replied, "My Dad died and I have never experienced grief before and I do not know what to do with it. She replied " Oh, you have experienced so much grief before, its not that you don't know what it is, it is that this is the grief experience that broke the camels back."
I was confused by this, I even said " NO, I'm serious, life has been pretty good up until now, I don't know what grief is or what to do with it"
Then she started walking me back through my life. She asked me if I had ever moved, if I had had a pet or relative die, if I had watched my parents lose people, if I had changed schools, business losses, job losses, relationships that had ended, then she asked me how the pandemic had affected me and my husband and my business. I instantly broke into uncontrollable tears... life had not been good or easy up until my Dad died, I just didn't realize that I was suffering and just stuffing my feelings and pushing through.
I continued with therapy and still see a therapist today, I suffer with chronic low level depression but I manage it through daily practices such as meditation, yoga, journaling and personal growth work, I even took an anti-depressant for a short while when things were really bad. I tell you this to normalize mental health and to normalize seeking help with it!
About 5 months into my therapy journey a friend reached out to me and told me about a program called Grief Recovery. I was skeptical, but after a conversation with my husband I decided to take the training to heal parts of my own grief. Little did I know that it wouldn't just heal my own grief; it would ignite a fire within me to share this invaluable resource with others. Leading those sessions isn't easy, but witnessing transformations unfold is profoundly fulfilling.
The reason that I think this program is so important is because no one talks about grief. If you take the program, you not only get to heal your own grief, but you learn how to support others in their walk with grief and you learn real tangible tools to support friends and family in active grief.
If you would like more information read the Grief Recovery Handbook or check out their website at https://www.griefrecoverymethod.com. I still run sessions at the studio and may have one starting soon, check out or website or give us a call.
The biggest message I would like to highlight here is that you are not alone, please reach out for support when you need it. You are worthy of support and help and there is no shame in getting it.
I have also created a 2 page downloadable handout that has some tools that can help with some relief. Click below to get access right away.
Sending you so much love on your walk through this challenging human experience. Please remember that you are not alone.
The Canada Wide Suicide Hotline is 988, it is available 24/7.
Here is a website with a list of resources province by province.
If you are in need of mental health support here are the resources if you are in Alberta.
Need immediate help? 24/7
If this is an emergency, call 911, or:
Go to the nearest emergency room.
Need someone to talk to? 24/7
Call 1-866-332-2322. Translation services are available.
Mental Health Helpline
Call 1-877-303-2642. Translation services are available.
Call 811 to speak with a Registered Nurse about your health concerns.
Here is also a link to other great resources in Alberta if you are going through a challenging time :https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/amh/page16759.aspx