Managing the Anxiety of Losing Someone: Practical Tips and Support

Updated January 13, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Losing a loved one or someone close to you might be a challenging experience. It's heartbreaking and may bring on intense anxiety that may feel overwhelming. There is no right or wrong way to process the loss of a person you care about; however, there may be some practical tips and sources of support that may be helpful when navigating such an emotional hurdle.

Understanding The Stages Of Grief And Finding Healthy Ways To Cope

It's common to experience a range of emotions when grieving the loss of someone you care about. These emotions may include shock, denial, anger, guilt, and sadness. Some people may experience all these emotions, while others may only experience a few. It's ideal to note that there is no right or wrong way to grieve, and everyone's experience will be unique. Some people may find it helpful to understand the stages of grief as a way to make sense of their emotions and recognize that they are not alone in their experience.

The Stages Of Grief, As Described By Psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, Include:

It may be a way of coping with the shock of the loss.

Anger: It's common to feel angry when you're grieving. This is likely a natural response to loss. You might feel angry with the person who died, yourself, or the world.

Bargaining: You might think about what you could have done differently or what you would give to have your loved one back. This is a way of trying to regain control and make sense of what's happened.

Depression: It's common to feel overwhelmed by sadness when grieving. You might feel empty, hopeless, and disconnected from others. This is a normal response to loss.

Acceptance: In this stage, you begin to accept the reality of your loss. You may still feel sad and miss the person, but you may start to move forward with your life.

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Tips For Coping With The Intensity Of Emotions

Grieving the loss of someone you care about might be incredibly difficult, and it's normal to feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your emotions.

Here Are Some Tips For Coping:

Allow yourself to feel your emotions: It's ideal to allow yourself to feel the full range of emotions that come with grief. Holding back your emotions might be exhausting and even prolong the grieving process.

Take breaks: It's okay to take breaks from your grief and give yourself time to rest and recharge. Try to engage in activities that bring you joy, such as hobbies or spending time with loved ones, which may help you find some respite from your grief.

Find healthy ways to cope: There may be many healthy ways to cope with the intensity of your emotions. Some people find it helpful to write in a journal, engage in creative activities, or exercise.

Take time to process and grieve: It is perhaps a good deal to allow yourself time to process and mourn the loss of your loved one. This may mean taking time off work, reducing your commitments, or finding ways to care for yourself. It's okay to take things slow and give yourself the time you need to heal. Grief tends to be a personal process, and you may have a better outcome if you allow yourself the time to work through your emotions. Seeking support from friends, loved ones, or mental health professionals might also be helpful in the grieving process. It's okay to have good and bad days; grieving tends to be a rollercoaster of emotions, and it may be normal to have ups and downs. Try to be patient with yourself; grief is a process that may take time, and it's normal to feel like you're not making progress. Try to remember It's okay to laugh and find happiness, even after experiencing a significant loss. It doesn't mean you've forgotten about the person you've lost, but rather that you may be finding a way to move forward with your life.

The Benefits Of Online Therapy For Managing Grief And Loss

When grieving the loss of someone you care about, it may be challenging to find the energy or motivation to leave your home. Online therapy allows you to receive support from the comfort of your home, which may be especially helpful when you struggle to find the energy to engage in activities outside your home. Another benefit of online therapy is the availability of therapists with specialized training in grief and loss. By seeking online therapy, you might find a therapist with experience and training in helping people cope with grief and loss. Grieving the loss of a loved one might be a complex and challenging process, and it may be helpful to work with a therapist who understands the unique challenges you're facing.

Sometimes, the fear of abandonment is realized, and your loved one passes away, leaves, or is taken away. Although learning to deal with the fear itself is important, you may at some point have to cope with your worst fear being realized. How you grieve will likely depend on the circumstances surrounding your loss and other factors, but many of the symptoms of grief will be the same. When you’ve lost a loved one, there are some healthy ways to cope.

  1. Let Yourself Grieve. If you lose a loved one, regardless of circumstances, it is healthy to allow yourself to grieve. It may be tempting to try to leap into a new relationship or find a quick replacement for your loss, but this is likely to do more damage than good. Grieving is usually not a linear process; you’re not likely to grieve for a few days, weeks, or months, then move on. Instead, grief can ebb and flow, and appear without warning months or even years down the road — and that is okay. Give yourself the space and grace to grieve.
  2. Take Some Time. If you’ve lost a loved one to death, abandonment, or any other source, give yourself time to slow down and rest. While you may not be able to take time off work, school, or your responsibilities for as long as you’d like, carve out time to care for yourself, turn to your support system, and do anything else that is most effective and healthy for you. Losing someone can be emotionally exhausting, sure, but it can also take a lot out of you mentally and physically, so you might need to take additional time to rest.
  3. Allow Yourself To Feel. You’re most likely going to feel a lot of emotion. You could feel despair and pain one minute, and overwhelming nervousness or anger the next. That’s okay; shifts in mood are frequently part of the grieving and loss processes. You might also encounter intense feelings of guilt when you experience moments of joy or happiness amid your pain, but this is also a rather typical experience, and it is okay to feel happiness. Allow yourself to experience a wide spectrum of emotions without pressure. You can heal, with time, effort, and space, even though the process may be long, arduous, and uncomfortable.

Love And Loss

So, how to deal with losing someone you love, or the fear of losing love? Understanding what caused the fear or contributed to it often helps. Childhood trauma, previous losses, and abuse can all explain these fears. Abandonment could’ve taken place in a romantic relationship, too. Professional help is often an incredible tool for people with a fear of loss, as therapy can more effectively and carefully help identify childhood trauma, emotional damages and needs, and the roots of your fear.

Grieving the loss of a loved one? We may help

Effectiveness Of Online Therapy

Online therapy may be an effective treatment option for individuals experiencing grief and loss due to the loss of a loved one to suicide. A study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that an internet-based cognitive-behavioral therapy program effectively reduced symptoms of prolonged grief disorder (PGD). The study found large between-group effect sizes for improving PGD symptoms, with results remaining stable over time. These findings suggest that online therapy may be an appropriate alternative to face-to-face grief interventions for individuals suffering from PGD symptoms after bereavement.

"Grief is a process that takes time; try to be patient with yourself, and remember it's okay to laugh and find happiness, even after experiencing a significant loss."

Takeaway

Losing someone close to you may be one of the most complex experiences a person might go through. While there's no right or wrong way to process your grief, some practical tips and sources of support may be helpful when navigating such an emotional hurdle. Online therapy has been shown to be an effective way to process grief and receive support from trained professionals. If you're struggling to cope with the loss of a loved one, consider reaching out for help from an online therapist.

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