Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
"It isn't for the moment you are struck that you need courage, but for the long uphill battle to faith, sanity, and security," said Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Each of us must work through our grief in our own way. We deal with losses as individuals, and ways of so dealing vary widely. We must each deal with grief at our own pace, appreciating that there will be ups and downs, and that healing takes time. You will know when you are getting better.
Allow yourself to experience the pain of grief.
Having someone to share grief with may well be helpful if you are the type of person who likes to talk. You may feel comfortable in confiding feelings to a friend, family member, member of the clergy, or health professional.
A support group may help, even though you may feel worse after the first sessions. Do not stop attending.
Read uplifting books or articles.
Keep a diary or journal.
Do not hesitate to talk about the person who died, and encourage others to talk of the person who died.
You may wish to talk out loud to the person who died.
Avoid seeking relief through alcohol, smoking, medications, or drugs.
If you are having trouble sleeping, get up and read or, if possible, take a nap during the day to catch up on your much-needed sleep.
Eat a balanced diet.
Try to get into a regular daily routine.
Begin or continue exercise.
Employ what works for you in returning to normal routines.
Anticipate problems and take preventive steps (for example, during holidays).
Get help in the following instances:
You have continued difficulty sleeping.
You have substantial weight gain or loss.
You experience prolonged emotional distress (> six months).
You are overcome by suicidal thoughts (for example, encountering them daily, and they are central to your thinking).
Time is your worst enemy and best friend. Although you cannot overpower grief, you can ride its waves until you reach the shore.
Recovery is under way when you have healed well enough to reach out to others who are grieving to give them support, share your experiences, discuss your coping techniques, and give them hope.